2:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.

Seeking beyond Our Silos:
What Museums Can Learn from Theatre in the Time of COVID

Alli Hartley-Kong, Freelance Playwright; Digital Content Strategist, 1909 Digital
Dr. C. Austin (Chris) Hill, Director, Theatre Off-Kilter
Saraniya Tharmarajah, Public Health Researcher / Theatre Artist with COVID Monologues 


About the Session

While all visitor-facing cultural organizations had to pivot their operations in 2020, live theatre perhaps faced some of the biggest challenges. With many theatres still shuttered and no return to safe, live, indoor performance imminent, theatres across the world broke boundaries in adapting digital performance methods, building digital communities, and using the arts to communicate vital public health information. Instead of retreating to silos, cultural institutions need each other during challenging times. Museum leaders discuss community engagement, co-creation, and creative ways to engage in difficult topics - but what can we as an industry learn from our peers in the theatre industry who are doing this vital work in the virtual world? With presenters who work across both fields, this session explores practical, applicable ways museums can learn from theatre practitioners' experiences approaching these challenges with different lenses of creativity.


Questions to Consider

  • What types of community-building and co-creation exist in virtual theatre, and how might these be applicable to other audience-serving sectors? 
  • What do you see as the future of digital programs and virtual formats? Will we ever go back to the way it was or will programming exist in a hybrid model here on out? 
  • What collaborations did your organization undertake this year due to the necessity of the pandemic, and how can organizations partner to share content going forward?


About the Speakers


Alli Hartley-Kong
she / her

Alli Hartley-Kong is a museum educator, digital strategist, and playwright. She currently works for 1909 Digital helping museums and other non-profits execute effective digital strategies, and previously worked for the Morris County Park Commission at the Smithsonian Institution. Alli's short and full-length plays have been performed nationally and internationally, and she recently wrote a commissioned research-based theatre piece. She is interested in the intersection of research-based theatre and museum work.



Dr. C. Austin (Chris) Hill
he / him

Dr. C. Austin Hill (Chris) is a cultural studies historian and Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre at Lycoming College, and the Artistic Director of Theatre Off-Kilter. Chris was previously a professor at Youngstown State University, and was previously the Director of the Theatre Program at Tennessee Wesleyan University. Chris holds a PhD in Theatre History, Dramatic Literature, and Criticism from The Ohio State University, specializing in Irish theatre. His first book, entitled Cultural History of Film in the United States, was published in 2018. Chris is also an active theatre artist and has directed professionally and at the university level throughout the USA. 



Saraniya Tharmarajah
she / her

Saraniya Tharmarajah is a public health researcher and theatre artist. She is interested in the intersection of theatre and public health and using theatre as a mechanism to catalyze social change. She is particularly interested in research-based theatre, a multidisciplinary approach to disseminating public health research findings. Saraniya holds degrees from Johns Hopkins and Oxford and was a Fulbright Scholar in India.





Back to Program

Twitter Flickr LinkedIn CEI News