Mary Gates Endowment For Students

Sophia Carey

Mary Gates Research Scholar, Winter 2021

Research Project: Utopian Potential in Public Theater: Exploring Transformation with Seattle Rep’s Public Works

Project Description: In my research project, I use critical performance ethnography methods to examine how community-based performances transform the way theater is made at the structural level and use language to produce a sense of utopian possibility. I investigate the potential for these heightened moments to catalyze material transformation for the audience, performers, and other institutions, such as other theaters and artists’ unions. I plan to conduct field research as a participant observer in the Seattle Repertory Theatre’s Public Works program and thereby investigate how performance can create new material and ideological worlds.

What have you learned throughout your research project? 

Through my research, I have learned that metatheater is a performative device that, when used in community-based performances and program structures, can catalyze social and structural transformation and make visible those transformations as they are occurring.

What piece of advice do you have for future applicants? 

The category of “research” is not limited to STEM-related projects. I encourage applicants to learn about how their questions can be addressed using research methods from the arts and humanities, approaching their research proposals from an interdisciplinary perspective.