2:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.
Seeking beyond Our Silos:
What Museums Can Learn from Theatre in the Time of
Alli Hartley-Kong, Freelance Playwright;
Digital Content Strategist, 1909 Digital
Dr. C. Austin (Chris) Hill, Director, Theatre
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
Questions to Consider
- What types of community-building and co-creation exist in
virtual theatre, and how might these be applicable to other
- 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
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
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.
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.