Beth Osnes, PhD, seeks to use theater as a tool for women and youth to author a new story towards positive social change.

She serves as associate professor of theater at the University of Colorado Boulder, and is an associate of the environmental studies faculty. Osnes has conducted field research as a Fulbright Scholar in Malaysia and published books and articles on women’s vocal empowerment, gender equity in sustainable development, mothering, activism, and the performing arts.

She toured her original musical Shine to select cities that are a part of the Rockefeller Foundation 100 Resilient Cities Initiative to engage youth voices in resilience planning. Shine has been performed by local youth from 2015 to 2017 in Boulder; New York City; London; New Orleans; Chicago; Tuba City, Arizona (within the Navajo Nation); Malope, South Africa; and Brookfield, Connecticut.

Her most recent book, Performance for Resilience: Engaging Youth on Energy and Climate through Music, Movement, and Theatre, shares an account of each location reached and the lessons learned. 

Osnes is cofounder and codirector of Inside the Greenhouse, an endowed initiative on the University of Colorado campus to inspire creative communication on climate. Osnes also cofounded SPEAK.WORLD, an approach toward vocal empowerment for young women for increased self-advocacy and civic participation that is being researched in Guatemala, Tanzania, Egypt, and the USA.

This is based on previous work using theater as a tool for women to empower their voices for participation in their own sustainable development with communities in the United States, Panama, Guatemala, India, Nicaragua, Ethiopia, Namibia, and the Navajo Nation, several of which serve as case studies for her book Theatre for Women’s Participation in Sustainable Development. She presented that work at the 2010 World Renewable Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi, the 2012 World Renewable Energy Forum in Denver, and the 2012 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio.