Department of Theatre

Dr. Elizabeth Wellman (she/her/hers) is a historian and theatre-maker whose work centers intersectional voices and experiences on stage, in studio, and in traditional classroom environments. Her areas of specialization include burlesque performance history, popular culture and television studies, African American and Black theatre history, and intersectionally inclusive pedagogy. Her work has been presented at ATHE, ASTR, and MATC. Wellman’s current research interrogates workers’ rights and safety through the history of American chorus girls, an historically unprotected group whose financial and physical precarity demonstrates larger systemic issues on the American stage. Her dissertation,Taught It to the Trade: Rose La Rose and the Re-Ownership of American Burlesque, 1935-1972, troubles narratives of cultural and artistic illegitimacy in mid-century burlesque performance. Wellman’s master’s thesis focused on theatre made by and for survivors of sexual violence. 

Prior to coming to UNCW, Wellman taught at the Ohio State University University for five years after completing her PhD in Theatre History, Literature, and Criticism in 2015. There, she served as the Director of the InterACT Theatre Project, a devised applied theatre program that frames conversations around inclusion, access, and equity in a kind of “theatrical laboratory” for faculty, staff, students, and the larger community, producing between two and five newly written pieces every academic year. Other directing credits include The Wolves (2018), Mary’s Wedding (2011), and an early staging of Emily Dendinger’s new play, Little House in the Big City (2016). During her time at OSU, Wellman mentored emerging playwrights and directors in new work development and workshop staging. In 2014, she received the Graduate Associate Teaching Award at Ohio State. In 2018, she was selected as part of the first faculty cohort in Digital Flagship, an Ohio State initiative in partnership with Apple that trains faculty to teach iPad and other digitally-enhanced courses. 

 In the larger community, Wellman was awarded the Debby Masters Advocate of the Year for her hospital work with the Sexual Assault Response Team of Central Ohio, an Ohio Health organization serving survivors at ten emergency rooms across the greater Columbus metro area (2013). Additionally, Wellman collaborated as a script consultant and advisor with Maroon Arts Group, a Black arts collective and non-profit community organization, on a 12-week writers residency in 2016, leading to the development of a new devised work, Inside the Riot, which premiered in 2018. In 2019, she partnered in a short devising residency with the Ohio Prison Arts Connection and Healing Broken Circles, working with incarcerated artists at the Marion Correctional Institution. In 2020, Dr. Wellman was hired as an instructional consultant by Columbus College of Art & Design to facilitate faculty-led training in distance education strategies during the Covid-19 pandemic.