American playwright Jacqueline E. Lawton visited Elon University March 3-4 for a weekend of workshops leading up to a public staged reading of her brand new script, The Inferior Sex, a funny and poignant look at 1970s feminism.

Student actors perform THE INFERIOR SEX 4 March, 2018. Photo by Tony Spielberg.

In a whirlwind 24-hour period, students in the Acting and Music Theatre BFA programs read and rehearsed The Inferior Sex in two short rehearsals before bringing the script to life in front of an audience of students, faculty, and community members. The Inferior Sex is the behind-the-scenes look at a woman’s magazine that gets political and breaks new ground in an ever-changing world. Assistant Professor of Theatre History Susanne Shawyer acted as dramaturg and Assistant Professor of Acting Kim Shively served as director for the staged reading. Lawton re-worked the script during the rehearsal process, and noted audience responses to The Inferior Sex. As a playwright, Lawton often uses script readings to learn about the strengths of her writing, generate ideas, and make edits as she works on her second draft of the play. Continue reading THE INFERIOR SEX Staged Reading


INDECENT Discussion Group

Performing Arts students read from Paula Vogel’s INDECENT 12 February 2018. Photo by Tony Spielberg.

Elon Drama and Theatre Studies and other Performing Arts students met to discuss Paula Vogel’s Indecent, recently seen on Broadway last year. The script tells the story of how Sholem Asch’s play God of Vengeance became a hit in the Europe and American Yiddish theatre, only to be shut down on indecency charges for a 1923 English-language production at the Apollo Theatre, New York. In telling the story of Asch’s play, Vogel’s poignant, funny, and poetic script also tells the story of European Jews in the early twentieth century, including their struggles with representation, displacement, immigration, assimilation, and persecution.  Continue reading INDECENT Discussion Group

Class Project: interactive website by the MOMENT dramaturgy team

Director Kim Shively rehearses a scene from MOMENT. Photo by Tony Spielberg.

The dramaturgy team for Elon’s production of Moment, a contemporary Irish drama by Deirdre Kinahan, created this interactive audience guide as part of their dramaturgical work on the play. In addition to presenting research to the cast, trying out Irish recipes mentioned in the script, attending rehearsals to offer feedback as “first audience,” and creating a lobby display, the dramaturgy team of Mollie Richter, Maeve Riley, Gwen Rygg, and Georgia Smith also developed this website for audiences to enjoy.

Their website looks at the playwright’s influences, explores life in Dublin, and analyzes Kinahan’s script. The students interviewed the director and some of the cast and crew, created a fun “How Irish Are You?” quiz, and compiled musical playlists for the different characters in Moment. Check it out here:

Period Styles Acting Workshop

IMG_2383 full resolution
Kim Shively leads Drama and Theatre Studies students in a period styles acting workshop.
Drama and Theatre Studies students practice their Restoration and early Georgian period style in a workshop with Acting faculty Kim Shively. Students learned how to activate their head-shoulders triangle for graceful posture, communicate romantic messages with a fan, and properly sit down in a corset or frockcoat. The students also read some of William Congreve’s The Way of the World, and considered how the script demonstrates the Restoration era’s emphasis on wit and middle class social codes.

Continue reading Period Styles Acting Workshop

VIETGONE Discussion Group

Students and faculty laugh at a joke as they discuss their thoughts on VIETGONE by Qui Nguyen, 27 November 2017, in the Isabella Cannon Room. Photo by Tony Spielberg.

Elon Drama & Theatre Studies and Performing Arts students and faculty met to discuss Qui Nguyen’s 2016 play Vietgone as part of our Contemporary Play Reading and Discussion group. The script combines laugh-out-loud humor with poignant discussion of the trauma of war, popular culture references with hip-hop breaks, musical montages, and a complicated choreographed ninja fight scene. Students in the room voted it their favorite play of the semester!

Vietgone was the last of our three play discussion groups this semester, which focused on new American works by playwrights of color. Join us in Spring 2018 for three new works by American women.


Performing Arts students and faculty read and discuss Young Jean Lee’s script STRAIGHT WHITE MEN as part of the Contemporary Play Discussion Series, 23 October 2017. Photo by Tony Spielberg.

Faculty and students from across campus gathered to read and discuss Young Jean Lee’s new script Straight White Men on October 23, 2017, as part of our Contemporary Play Discussion Group. A very lively conversation followed! The event was sponsored by the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and  Learning and covered by the Elon News Network.

Elon students and faculty read and discuss Young Jean Lee’s script STRAIGHT WHITE MEN as part of the Contemporary Play Discussion Series in the Isabella Cannon Room, 23 October 2017. Photo by Tony Spielberg.

Continue reading STRAIGHT WHITE MEN Discussion Group

DISGRACED Discussion Group

Faculty and students gathered on Monday night for our first play discussion group of the year to read and engage with Ayad Akhtar’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Disgraced.

Students and faculty discuss DISGRACED in the Isabella Cannon Room. Photo by Tony Spielberg.

There are three play discussion evenings this semester. The next two are:

  • October 23rd at 7pm: Young Jean Lee’s Straight White Men, sponsored by the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning
  • November 27th at 7pm: Paula Vogel’s Indecent, sponsored by Read On Elon

Our Contemporary Play Discussion Series takes place in the Isabella Cannon Room. Scripts and snacks are provided. Come hear and discuss exciting new voices from the contemporary American theatre, expand your perspective, and have your mind blown!  Continue reading DISGRACED Discussion Group