Meet The Directors
Dr. Kelsey Jacobson
Kelsey completed her PhD in 2018 at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies, where her research considered audience perception and location of realness onstage in contemporary Canadian performance. She previously completed her MA (Distinction) in Theatre and Performance at Queen Mary, University of London where she studied audience reception of Renaissance metatheatre through a comparative spatial analysis. She has been awarded numerous fellowships, scholarships, and prizes, including a Massey College Junior Fellowship from 2015-2017. Kelsey has presented her work at CATR, ATHE, ASTR, IFTR, IDIERI, and MATC, and published in Theatre Research in Canada, Performance Matters, Research in Drama Education, Allstages magazine and Canadian Theatre Review. She also wrote an article on digital theatre spectatorship for The Conversation. Kelsey is now an Assistant Professor at Queen’s University in the Dan School of Drama and Music. Kelsey is working on her first monograph about audience perception of realness.
Dr. Signy Lynch
Signy Lynch is a theatre scholar, critical dramaturg, educator and Governor General’s Gold Medal winner. Her areas of research specialization include contemporary theatre in Canada, audience research, and theatre criticism. Her work in audience research has involved exploring new methodological approaches that seek to better understand difference in audience response, particularly the experiences of minoritized spectators. Her recently-completed PhD in Theatre and Performance Studies at York University (2021) was supported by institutional, provincial, and national funding bodies. Her published work includes current and forthcoming articles for Theatre Research in Canada, Contemporary Theatre Review, Canadian Theatre Review, and the Routledge edited collection Impacting Audiences: Methods for Studying Change. She is co-editor of Canadian Theatre Review volume 186, “Theatre After the Explosion” (Spring 2021), and is co-chair of the board of directors of Toronto’s Cahoots Theatre. She has taught courses at York University, Toronto Metropolitan University, and the University of Toronto. She is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Toronto Mississauga.
Dr. Jenny Salisbury
Jenny Salisbury completed her PhD at the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto in 2020. Her teaching and research focus is Community-Engaged Theatre, Documentary and Applied Theatre, with an emphasis on Canadian play creation and audiences. She is also a founding member and associate director of The Centre for Spectatorship and Audience Research. Jenny’s professional work involves directing and dramaturgy, project-based arts management, play development, producing and community engagement, especially for Common Boots Theatre (formerly Theatre Columbus). She is a sessional teacher and the program coordinator for Ask & Imagine, a leadership and education program at Huron University College, Western University. Growing up all over Canada as part of a military family, Jenny is now a Toronto-based theatre artist and educator, with strong ties to Ottawa, St. John’s, Vancouver, Halifax, and London, England. Jenny holds an MA in Text and Performance from RADA and King’s College, London, and is a graduate of the joint acting program at Sheridan College and the University of Toronto.
Dr. Scott R. Mealey
Dr. Scott Mealey recently defended his dissertation at The Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies (University of Toronto). Titled Recollections of an Audience, this mixed method research interrogates the role of style and patterns of personal experience in effecting change in theatre spectators. His current and upcoming publications, including “(Ac)counting for Change” (2021), “Performative Measures” (2020), and “Making and Appreciating Theatre” (2020, with Kathleen Gallagher), consider the transformative ramifications of individual sense-
making in a theatrical context. Given his unusual position as a performance-based scholar adopting quantitative and qualitative techniques, he has been invited to serve as an analyst and trainer on a variety of research teams, exploring topics such as the profile of Canadian theatre criticism (Dr. Michelle MacArthur), civic and audience engagement in the Oberammergau Passion play (Dr. Elliot Leffler), the speech traits of serial killers (Dr. Sasha Reid) and, this fall, as co-investigator on a SSHRC sponsored examination of livestreamed immersive theatre. He is a co-founder of the Centre for Spectatorship and Audience Research and with them recently
guest edited a special spectatorship-focused issue of Performance Matters.
Dr. Kelsey Blair
Kelsey Blair (B.A., University of British Columbia; M.A. University of Toronto; M.A. University of British Columbia; PhD Simon Fraser University) is a theatre, performance, and physical culture scholar, young adult fiction author, and community-engaged artist and activist. She recently completed her PhD in English with an emphasis in Performance Studies from Simon Fraser University and is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of English at McGill and adjunct professor at Concordia University. She is also a young adult fiction author who has published four sport fiction novels for girls, a Director for the Centre for Spectatorship and Audience Research, the curator of the Activist Classroom, a community-engaged theatre & performance artist and activist, and a director on multiple not-for-profit Boards.
Co - Founders
Dr. Kelsey Jacobson
Dr. Jenny Salisbury
Dr. Scott Mealey