Carol C. Davis, associate professor of theater, has received a Fulbright Scholar grant to conduct research in Nepal during the 2011-12 academic year. Davis will undertake research for her book project on Nepali theater.
“It seemed to me that there really hasn’t been a comprehensive book on Nepali theater outside of Nepal,” Davis says. “Many of Nepal’s rituals and ceremonies are highly theatrical, but there wasn’t a book on the history and goals of theater.” Davis will be based at the Gurukul School of Theatre in Kathmandu, Nepal, from late August until early 2012. She will travel to remote locations to explore the history and influence of street theater.
The Fulbright project marks a new chapter in Davis’ 15-year relationship with Nepali theater. In 1996, she co-founded the Nepal Health Project with her late husband, Peter, to teach rural inhabitants how to improve their personal health and safety through street theater. More than 500,000 people have attended performances of the Nepali Health Project since its inception.
“In 1994, I went to Nepal to study very theatrical ceremonies by Buddhist monks who live close to Mount Everest,” Davis says. “The monks used skits to bless the congregation, create community and teach their history. I was also struck by the lack of personal hygiene in the area, so we put the two things together and started the project.”
As a result of the health project, Davis was selected as a winner in the Half the Sky contest sponsored by The New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof in 2009.