Bored with Strangers: A Site-Specific Museum Theatre Piece


  • Christine Gwillim The University of Texas at Austin
  • Samantha Provenzano The Woodruff Arts Center, The Alliance Theatre
  • Lauren Smith


Bored with Strangers, a site-specific, travelling museum theatre piece, premiered at the University of Texas at Austin in 2017 as a collaboration between the Department of Theatre and Dance and the Blanton Museum of Art. Billed as a “walking tour” between the Winship Drama Building and the Blanton Museum, the piece drew inspiration from visual artist Nina Katchadourian’s work for performance vignettes that took place across the half-mile separating the theatre and museum. The piece positioned the audience as both theatre patrons and museum-goers and connected site-specific theatre, an audio tour, and a contemporary art exhibition to everyday university experiences. It offered an opportunity to examine familiar university spaces through new eyes. The performance enlivened banal places and connected disparate academic institutions in a quest to connect theatre and art for audience members, passersby, performers, and museum staff.

This photo essay allows readers to experience the tour through words, images, and note descriptions of audience experiences at each of the tour’s “stops.” As artists and researchers, the authors share their insights from the process, including the necessity of involving audience members throughout the creation process, and the way using a multi-director team allowed the project’s leadership to move between roles of creator and spectator fluidly.

Author Biographies

Christine Gwillim, The University of Texas at Austin

Christine Gwillim is a PhD candidate in performance as public practice at the University of Texas at Austin. Her doctoral research focuses on territorial practice at contemporary performance festivals.

Samantha Provenzano, The Woodruff Arts Center, The Alliance Theatre

Samantha Provenzano is a theatre maker who focuses on work for young audiences. Her research interests include feminist theories, museum theatre, and devised work. She holds an MFA in drama and theatre for youth and communities from the University of Texas at Austin. 

Lauren Smith

Lauren Smith is a middle school English teacher in Austin, Texas. Her research and practice focus on museum theatre, arts integration in public school contexts, and arts-based professional development for teachers. She holds an MFA in drama and theatre for youth and communities from the University of Texas at Austin.