Rebecca L. Fall F'17, F'15
Public Fellows 2017
Appointed as Strategic Communications Manager, The Public Theater
The Public Theater is the only theater in New York that produces Shakespeare and the classics, musicals, and contemporary and experimental pieces in equal measure. Founded in 1954, The Public continues to act as an advocate for the theater as an essential cultural force, and leading and framing dialogue on some of the most important issues of our day. The Public’s wide range of programming also includes a range of artist and audience development initiatives such as the Public Forum series, which brings together theater artists and professionals from a variety of disciplines for discussions that shed light on social issues explored in Public productions. The Strategic Communications Manager will serve as the project leader of The Public’s launch of Culture Segments, a widely used audience segmentation tool for arts and culture organizations. Culture Segments will provide The Public with crucial analyses on the primary motivations behind audience attendance. The Strategic Communications Manager’s role will be to manage the preparation and onboarding of this tool, and then to use the information it yields to shape the organization’s approach to communication. S/he will begin by designing data capture tools that work with the software prior to its implementation, and then will be responsible for overseeing the implementation and data analysis of Culture Segments, assessing the learnings it reveals on valued audience segments (primarily members and donors), and shaping a high impact communications strategy based on these learnings designed to engage all audience segments in deeper, ongoing relationships with The Public.
Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2015
Common Nonsense: The Production of Popular Literature in Renaissance England
This dissertation advances a new field of study by constructing an archive of “nonsensicalism,” a range of semantically obscure expressions popular across English Renaissance writing between 1580 and 1680. Assembling a broad array of materials—from understudied pamphlets and manuscripts devoted to gibberish verse to well-known literary material like Hamlet—“Common Nonsense” identifies the crucial ways semantics shaped social hierarchies, and sheds new light on how different communities engaged “cheap print” and other emergent forms of popular media. In the process, it challenges prevailing methods of interpretation that dismiss nonsense as culturally as well as semantically meaningless. At a time when some disparage humanistic study as useless or trivial, this project gives a historical account of the significant ways in which ostensibly “frivolous” forms of expression help to shape social attitudes and identities.