Dr. Robin Mello is the Area Head of the BA Theatre degree program at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. Her teaching and research focuses extensively on storytelling and its capacity to build community and strengthen relationships. She is the founder of the UWM K - 12 Theatre Education Program and her recent original theatre work includes Cinderella: The First 30,000 Years, A Cosmic Web, and, Orphan Train, a devised piece about the lived experience of the Orphan Train Movement, 1853-1929.
A transdisciplinary scholar and artist, Mello is currently working on Tale of Scale, a STEM project supported by the UWM Research Growth Initiative and the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium. Mello, along with her collaborating partner, Dr. Jean Creighton (Director of the Manfred Olson Planetarium), combine theatre and physics in a series of interdisciplinary courses, public performances, and research to communicate science to the public.
Robin's dynamic approach is also demonstrated by her work on The Penelope Project. Here she participated as actor, teacher, dramaturge, and program evaluator. Chapters detailing this experience can be found in The Penelope Project: An Arts-Based Odyssey to Change Elder Care (2016) or in publications.
Mello's work has been supported through grants and commissions by CAMPAC, Ezra J. Keats Foundation, Little Red Schoolhouse Project, The Teachers for a New Era, National Storytelling Network, National Women's Hall of Fame, New England Touring Arts Program, Maine Touring Artists Program, US State Department, UW Teaching Scholars, UWM Graduate RACAS Grant, Very Special Arts, and the Wisconsin Humanities Council. Robin is a Wisconsin Teaching Fellow and was awarded the UWM Distinguished Teaching Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Education in 2010.
Classes currently taught:
260 - Storytelling: Explore the diversity of stories, memories, myths, and legends that help us create our personal and cultural identity.
305 - Theatre Experience: Apply aesthetic, critical, and creative perspectives to professional theatre productions in the Milwaukee and Chicago area.
321 - Theatre History 1: Explore the history and dramaturgy of theatre from pre-history to 1800.
322 - Theatre History 2: Explore the history and dramaturgy of theatre from 1800 to the contemporary moment.
448 - How to be a Teaching Artist: Learn the skills of creating educative theatre in a variety of formal and informal settings.
475 - Rehearsal & Performance: Devise story-based theatre for public performance.
497 - Study Abroad in Theatre: (with co-teacher Ralph Janes) Interact with theatre in the UK and Canada.