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Theater history professor publishes book, records CD

September 24, 2000

Dr. Thomas Pallen, professor of theatre history at Austin Peay State University, has been researching, writing and singing his way across Italy during recent professional development leaves.

Pallen used his first leave to begin work on a book, "Vasari on Theatre," which was published in May 1999. Giorgio Vasari, himself an artist, was the first person to write biographies of artists.

"Art historians rely on Vasari, but theater historians don't know as much about him," Pallen says.

Pallen used a second leave to conduct research on Commedia dell'Arte, a well-known form of Italian Renaissance theatre. The Commedia dell'Arte was the earliest theatre to be made and sold as a product and not just as a form of entertainment.

Pallen also translated an Italian scholarly article, soon to be published in the "New England Theatre Journal."

As a result of his research in Italy, Pallen was invited to give a paper at an international theater conference in July at the University of Florence. The conference was the last in a series dedicated to the general theme of images of theatre.

In addition to conducting research, Pallen sang on a recording by a group called "Corale Zefferini," the "Little Breezes Chorus." In November 1999 he participated in the recording of "Laudario di Cortona," a collection of religious songs written by laymen in the 13th century. That three-CD collection was published in April.

"I feel honored to be part of this recording," Pallen says. He also expressed gratitude for the opportunities made available to him through professional leave. "Without faculty development leaves, I would not have gotten these opportunities."