Session | Incentives and Manifestations: The American Theater as Monument

11.28.22 | 12:30pm–2pm
November 28, 2022 | 12:30pm–2pm |
Peck Room (in Commons)


Seating is limited. Registrants will automatically be placed on the waitlist and will be notified via email to confirm their seat.

Register now

You provide the topic we provide the table (and the meal). Sessions are peer-led gatherings (12+ people) where conversations generate collaborations and move ideas to action. The recent preservation-driven removal of the Calder sculpture from the adjacent Hewitt Quadrangle has created an opportunity for discussion around the role of art in place making, history, and memory...

There are many monuments in American Theater Making:

The monument that is the structure of American Capitalism

The monument that is the American Theater Industrial Complex

The monument that is Shakespeare and his canon of plays.

The monument that is the play, Othello

The monument that is the character of Othello.

All of these monuments support one another and are foundational to the ways that we create and distribute theater today.   

The foundation of American Theater is anti-many things and resists changes in many areas, particularly when it comes to questions of identity such as race and gender.

Join members of the Untitled Othello Project and Midnight Oil Collective to discuss the monuments listed above with the goal of interrogating and potentially posing solutions to dismantling. It is our hope that the recognition of what these structures represent is the first step toward manifesting something new.

Sessionists include:

  • Frances Pollock (DMA '25), CEO/ Founder Midnight Oil Collective
  • Keith Hamilton Cobb, Untitled Othello Project
  • Jacob Padrón (MFA '08), Artistic Director, Long Wharf Theater
  • David Sterling Brown, Assistant Professor of English, Trinity College
  • Emily Bryan, Assistant Professor of English, Sacred Heart University
  • Charlie Gillespie, Catholic Studies, Sacred Heart University

Seating is limited. Registrants will automatically be placed on the waitlist and will be notified via email to confirm their seat.

Should you require accessible accommodations, please contact Christian Ponce ( by 5pm Friday, November 25.

Register now

Lead sessionists

Frances Pollock
Frances Pollock

Frances Pollock is the CEO of Midnight Oil Collective—a venture studio that incubates, accelerates, and invests in art and entertainment. A composer by trade, she has written primarily for the stage and currently has operas and musical theater performed all over the country. Frances’ opera Stinney was recently mounted at both Opera Grand Rapids and Greenville Light Opera, and her children’s work Earth to Kenzie is touring the east coast. Other work has been programmed at Chicago Lyric, Seattle Opera, Chautauqua, Opera Omaha, Aspen Music Festival, and PROTOTYPE.

Frances holds degrees from Furman University and Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins and is currently completing a doctorate at the Yale School of Music. When she is not writing theater, she is directing and producing it. Frances is a proud angel investor in early stage work and is always enthusiastic about finding ways to bring art and entertainment closer to the innovation space. 

Keith Hamilton Cobb
Keith Hamilton Cobb

Keith Hamilton Cobb is an actor and a playwright who has been drawn mostly to the stage in his working life, but is also recognized for several unique character portrayals he has created for television. He has appeared in classical

and contemporary roles on regional stages country-wide. He is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in acting.  His award- winning play, American Moor (published by Methuen Drama), which explores the

perspective of the African American male through the metaphor of Shakespeare’s Othello, ran off-Broadway at Cherry Lane Theatre in the fall of 2019. It is the winner of an Elliot Norton Award, an AUDELCO Award, two IRNE Awards, and is part of the permanent collection of the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Keith is the director of The Untitled Othello Project, currently in residence at Sacred Heart University, and in collaboration with Blessed Unrest Theatre, which operates as an extended “interrogation and rehearsal with artists and educators” of Shakespeare’s play, Othello, disrupting antiquated ideas of its purpose and value, and exploring the human struggles with race, religion and sexuality, and other salient issues that it activates whenever it is performed.