My long-time interest in political theatre, social justice, and feminism have led me on a circuitous journey from a dissertation on Italian actress, playwright, and activist Franca Rame, to the application of theatre in unlikely places, including health care and STEM education. I am particularly interested in understanding how the arts can be employed to improve the social and emotional well-being of individuals and communities.
With Dr. Gretchen A. Case, I am co-PI on a study that investigates the use of a rehearsal framework to improve the interpersonal communication skills of medical learners.
In addition, I am working with a multidisciplinary team on an NSF grant (N. Nadkarni, PI) that is exploring the use of theatre, narrative, and ecological restoration as tools to shift the way people see themselves in relation to science, technology, engineering, and math and, thus, improve the representation of minorities in STEM fields.
I am also working with colleagues in the College of Nursing (L. Clark, J. Eaton) to develop several short, filmed vignettes based on interviews conducted with the parents of children with Down syndrome. These videos will become part of a web-based tool that offers support to families of young children and infants diagnosed with disabilities.
- medical humanities
- health humanities
- arts in health
- arts for health
- arts and health
- applied theatre
- Theatre or Film Criticism
- Political theatre
- Performing Arts
- Health and Well-Being
- Gender Studies/Feminist Theory
- Dramatic or Theatre Arts
- Arts and Humanities
- Clark, L., Eaton, J., Cheek-O'Donnell, S., Johnson, E. "Rescuing Hope: Support for Parents of a Child with a Disability," website with videos and other resources. EHSL Digital Publishing and Collections.
- Dramaturgy for ARCADIA by Tom Stoppard at Babcock Theatre, University of Utah. Director Sarah Shippobotham. Curatorial/Production, completed 11/20/2016.
- Dramaturgy for OUTSIDE MULLINGAR by John Patrick Shanley at Pioneer Theatre Company. Director Julie Kramer. Curatorial/Production, completed 11/14/2015.
- Dramaturgy for GEORGE ORWELL'S ANIMAL FARM, adapt. by Ian Wooldridge at Babcock Theatre. Directed by Jamie Rocha Allan. Curatorial/Production, completed 10/11/2015.
- Dramaturgy for THE THREEPENNY OPERA at Babcock Theatre, University of Utah. Director Denny Berry. Performance, completed 11/20/2014.
- Dramaturgy for DEATHTRAP at Pioneer Theatre Company, Salt Lake City. Director May Adrales. Performance, completed 04/12/2014.
- Dramaturgy for A FEW GOOD MEN at Pioneer Theatre Company, Salt Lake City. Director Karen Azenberg Performance, completed 02/15/2014.
- New Play Dramaturgy for COTTON by Kathleen Cahill Commission, completed 12/15/2013.
- New Play Dramaturgy for TWO STORIES by Elaine Jarvick Commission, completed 06/01/2013.
- Dramaturgy for CLYBOURNE PARK by Bruce Norris at Pioneer Theatre Company, Salt Lake City. Director Timothy Douglas. Artistic Director Karen Azenberg Performance, completed 02/01/2013.
- Dramaturgy for IN THE HEIGHTS at Pioneer Theatre Company. Performance, completed 08/2012.
- New play dramaturgy for MONSTERHEART by Kathleen Cahill, read at Salt Lake Acting Company. Other, completed 04/30/2012.
- Dramaturgy for LAUGHING STOCK at Pioneer Theatre Company. Performance, completed 02/2012.
- Dramaturgy for workshop of COURSE 86B IN THE CATALOGUE by Kathleen Cahill at Salt Lake Acting Company. Director Tracy Callahan. Other, completed 11/2011.
- Actor in workshop for physicians on disclosing errors at Primary Children's Medical Center. Performance, completed 10/2011.
- Dramaturgy for NEXT TO NORMAL at Pioneer Theatre Company, Salt Lake City, UT. Directed by Karen Azenberg. Performance, completed 09/2011.
- Dramaturgy for Bram Stoker’s Dracula adapted by Charles Morey, Pioneer Theatre Company, Salt Lake City, 2010. Dir. Charles Morey. Performance, completed 10/01/2010.
- Dramaturgy for Fever by Fae Engstrom, Studio 115, Department of Theatre, University of Utah, spring 2011 performance. Performance, in progress 09/10/2010.
- Dramaturgy for 42nd Street, music by Harry Warren, lyrics by Al Dubin, book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble, Pioneer Theatre Company, Salt Lake City, 2010. Dir. Charles Morey Performance, completed 05/2010.
- Dramaturgy for Charm by Kathleen Cahill, Salt Lake Acting Company, Salt Lake City, 2010. Dir. Meg Gibson. Performance, completed 04/2010.
- Dramaturgy for 42nd Street at Pioneer Theatre Company. Performance, in progress 10/15/2009.
- Dramaturgy for Charm by Kathleen Cahill at Salt Lake Acting Company Performance, in progress 07/01/2009.
- Dramaturgy for Miss Saigon at Pioneer Theatre Company. Performance, completed 04/01/2009.
- Dramaturgy for THE HEIRESS by Ruth and Augustus Goetz, directed by Jack Going, Pioneer Theatre Company, Salt Lake City, UT Curatorial/Production, completed 2008.
- “Applied theatre in paediatrics: Can participatory performance mitigate educational, emotional and social consequences of missing out school during hospitalization?”, designated academic respondent, Health Through Arts: Connecting People & Communities Webinar series, Sidney de Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health, Canterbury Christchurch University, UK.
- G. Case, K. Pippitt, S. Cheek-O'Donnell. "Space for Collaboration," Association for Medical Humanities Conference, University of Limerick, Ireland. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 06/15/2021.
- Widening the Lens: Using Arts in ELSI Research, ELSI Hub CERA, Columbia University. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 04/09/2021.
- Lightning Talk: “Assessment of the Effectiveness of CRiTICS, a Theatre-Based Intervention to Improve Interpersonal Communication Skills among Medical Learners,” Arts in Health Symposium 2019, University of Utah. Presentation, Presented, 10/14/2019.
- A Continuum of Music in Healthcare: From Music Listening to Music Therapy, Generations 2019, Conference, Salt Palace, Salt Lake City, UT.
- E. Rothwell, G. Case, S. Cheek-O’Donnell, B. Wong, E.J. Johnson, T. Matheson, A. Wilson, N.R. Robinson, J. Rawlings, B. Horesjsi, J.R. Botkin, & C. Byington. “Empirical Assessment of a Theatrical Performance on Attitudes and Behavior Intentions Toward Research: The Informed Consent Play.” Translational Science, Association for Clinical and Translational Science, Washington, DC, April 19-21. Other, Presented, 04/19/2017.
- “Not Just a Captive Audience: Creating Community-Based Theater with Communities of Patients,” Workshop at American Society for Bioethics + Humanities 18th Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C. Other, Presented, 10/09/2016.
- “I Don’t Believe in the Power of Theatre Any More: A Manifesto,” Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas’ (LMDA) Annual Conference, New York City, June 25, 2015. Conference Paper, Presented, 06/25/2015.
- “Developing a Center for Theatre and Medicine at the University of Utah," at the annual meeting of the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas . Conference Paper, Presented, 06/26/2014.
- “Undergraduate Dramaturgy Training: What can I do with that?” . Conference Paper, Presented, 06/27/2013.
- “Playing Doctor: Improving Pediatric Practice through Dramaturgy,” Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas’ (LMDA) Annual Conference, Atlanta, June 28-July 1, 2012. Conference Paper, Presented, 06/28/2012.
- “Educating Academic Colleagues about Dramaturgy,” presentation, Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas’ (LMDA) Annual Conference, Denver, July 8-10, 2011. Conference Paper, Presented, 07/08/2011.
- “Feminist Dramaturgy,” roundtable moderator and panelist, LMDA Annual Conference, Banff, Canada, June 30, 2010. Other, Presented, 06/30/2010.
- “Authentic Learning Experiences in the Dramaturgy Classroom,” presentation, Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas’ (LMDA) Annual Conference, Banff, Canada, June 29, 2010. Presentation, Presented, 06/29/2010.
- Post-Show Discussions of Charm by Kathleen Cahill, panelist, Salt Lake Acting Company, April 18 and May 1, 2010. Other, Presented, 05/01/2010.
- “The Margaret Fuller Problem: Women in a Man’s World,” panelist, Salt Lake Acting Company, April 25, 2010. Other, Presented, 04/25/2010.
- “Digiturgy in the Dramaturgy Classroom,” Hot Topics, University Caucus of Literary Manager and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA) Conference, Washington, D.C., July 16, 2009. Conference Paper, Presented, 07/16/2009.
- “The Shape of Things,” Dramaturgy: The First Six Lessons, University Caucus of Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas Conference, San Diego, CA, June 26, 2008. Conference Paper, Presented, 06/26/2008.
- “Transforming the Theatre History Classroom into a Co-intentional Learning Environment,” Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed Conference, University of NE, Omaha, NE, 2008. Conference Paper, Presented, 05/29/2008.
Grants, Contracts & Research Gifts
- BTS-ALP. PI: CHEEK-O'DONNELL, SYDNEY. UTAH STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION, 07/01/2021 - 06/30/2022. Total project budget to date: $169,683.00
- Utah Center for Excellence in ELSI Research: UCEER. PI: Botkin, Jeff. National Institutes of Health, 05/16/2016 - 05/16/2018. Total project budget to date: $0.00
- CRITICS ASSESSMENT STUDY. PI: CHEEK-O'DONNELL,SYDNEY. Co-PI(s): Case, Gretchen. NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ART, 09/01/2019 - 01/31/2021. Total project budget to date: $52,000.00
- BTSALP TEACHER SUPPORT. PI: CHEEK-O'DONNELL,SYDNEY. UTAH STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION, 07/01/2018 - 06/30/2019. Total project budget to date: $195,000.00
- BTSALP. PI: CHEEK-O'DONNELL,SYDNEY. UT STATE OFFICE OF EDUCATION, 07/01/2017 - 06/30/2018. Total project budget to date: $180,000.00 Nugget: Infographic BTSALP 2017-18 Report.pdf
- STEM TAPESTRY - ODONNELL. PI: NADKARNI,NALINI M. Co-PI(s): CHEEK-O'DONNELL,SYDNEY. https://nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=16491... NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION, 10/01/2016 - 09/30/2019. Total project budget to date: $17,963.00
- BTSALP. PI: CHEEK-O'DONNELL,SYDNEY. UT STATE OFFICE OF EDUCATION, 07/01/2016 - 09/30/2017. Total project budget to date: $190,000.00
- UPIQ Learning Collaborative on Mental Health. PI: Sydney Cheek-O'Donnell. 11/2011 - 11/2011.
- Italian, functional.
Geographical Regions of Interest
- Northern America
- Eaton J & Cheek-O'Donnell S (2021). Using ethnodrama to support parents in sense-making after prenatal or neonatal diagnosis of a child's disabling condition. Journal of applied research in intellectual disabilities : JARID. Vol. 35, 261-270. Published, 12/01/2021.
- Cheek-O'Donnell, Sydney (2021). Theatre. (pp. 112). Emerald.
- Rothwell E, Cheek-O'Donnell S & Johnson E (2021). Exploring the use of a Comic for Education about Expanded Carrier Screening among a Diverse Group of Mothers. Journal of communication in healthcare. Vol. 14, 252-258. Published, 05/06/2021.
- Case, Gretchen, Crawford, Paul, Brown, Brian & Charise, Andrea (2019). Applied Theatre. (pp. 402-407). Routledge. Accepted, 01/01/2019.
- Rothwell, Erin, Jeffrey R. Botkin, MD, MPH, Sydney Cheek-O'Donnell, PhD, Bob Wong, PhD, Gretchen Case, PhD, Erin Johnson, PhD, Trent Matheson, MPP, Alena Wilson, Nicole R. Robinson, PhD, Jared Rawlings, PhD, Brooke Horejsi, MA*, Ana Maria Lopez, MD, & and Carrie L. Byington (2018). An Empirical Assessment of the short term impacts of a Reading of Deborah Zoe Laufer’s drama Informed Consent on Attitudes and Intentions to Participate in Genetic Research. AJOB: Empirical Bioethics. Accepted, 01/31/2018.
- Edited vol 24(1) of Review: The Journal of Dramaturgy, a journal with peer-reviewed content published by Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas. Edited Volume, Published, 11/16/2015. http://www.lmda.org/review- opens new window. Published, 11/16/2015.
- Edited vol 23(2) of Review: The Journal of Dramaturgy, a journal with peer-reviewed content published by Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas.
- Review: The Journal of Dramaturgy 23.1 (Summer 2013).
- Review: The Journal of Dramaturgy, 22.2 (Winter 2012). I am the lead Editor for the entire journal, which consists of both referreed content and content that I solicit from professionals and scholars in the fields of dramaturgy and literary managment. Published, 12/2012.
- Review: The Journal of Dramaturgy 22.1 (Fall 2011/Winter 2012) I served as the Co-Editor of the entire journal, which has referreed content and other content solicited by the editors from professionals and scholars working in the fields of dramaturgy and literary management. Published, 01/01/2012.
- “Servant of Two Masters – or 3 or 4 or More: Business Advice to Dramaturgs Working in Virgin Territory,” Review: The Journal of Dramaturgy, 21.2, Spring/Summer 2011.
- “Millennial Dramaturgy: A Conversation about the New Book Dramaturgy and Performance,” Cathy Turner and Synne K. Behrndt, Review 20: 1 (Spring 2010). Published, 06/01/2010.
- “Italian Mammas and Suffering Madonnas: The Strategic Deployment of Maternal Stereotypes in the Theatre of Franca Rame,” Essays and Scripts on How Mothers are Portrayed in Theatre, eds. Beth Osnes and Anna Andes (NY: Mellen Press), 2010. Published, 04/01/2010.
- Book Review of Dramaturgy and Performance, Cathy Turner and Synne K. Behrndt, Review 20: 1 (Fall 2009). Accepted, 11/01/2009.
- “Barbarians and Babes: A Feminist Critique of a Postcolonial Persians,” Political Performance, eds. Avraham Oz and Susan Haedicke, Themes in Theatre (Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Kenilworth, NJ: Rodopi), 2009. Published, 2009.
- Review of A History of Italian Theatre, eds. Joseph Farrell and Paolo Puppa, New Theatre Quarterly 24: 2 (May 2008): 208. Published, 05/01/2008.