Beth Osnes

Assistant Professor
Mother: Caring for 7 Billion
The Shadow Puppet Theatre of Malaysia
Beth’s video on Energy Justice
Beth’s Mother Tour: Creating a Global Community all Moving from Concern to Action

M.A. and Ph.D. University of Colorado, Theatre
B.A. Marquette University, Theology

Recipient of the 2012 Sustainability Award “Green Faculty” at the University of Colorado and the Chancellor’s Committee on Women Awards, University of Colorado, 2009

As co-founder of the former Mothers Acting Up (2002-2011), Beth toured a program in partnership with Philanthropiece Foundation entitled, The (M)other Tour, to locations around the world to create a global community of mothers moving from concern to action on behalf of their most passionate concerns. In conjunction with this program she is developing a methodology specific to gender equity in clean energy development using theatre as a tool to include the voices of the women living in poverty in the planning and implementation of development projects in Panama, Guatemala, India, Nicaragua and the Navajo Nation. She has presented on this work at the World Renewable Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi in 2010, the World Renewable Energy Forum in Denver in 2012, and the United Nations Earth Summit in Rio in 2012.  She has conducted field research as a Fulbright Scholar in Malaysia. She has published books and many articles on women’s vocal empowerment, gender equity in sustainable development, mothering, activism, and the Asian performing arts.  She is featured in the award-winning documentary, Mother: Caring for 7 Billion (

Research interests:

-Applied Performance, includes applied theatre (see, web-based performance to ignite positive social change (see, media for communicating positive messages about climate change (see www.inside the, her forthcoming book, Theatre for Women’s Participation in Sustainable Development is under contract with Routledge

-Asian Theatre – Fulbright Scholar in Malaysia, conducted field research on the traditional shadow puppet theatre, the Wayang Kulit, and recently published her book The Shadow Puppet Theatre of Malaysia-A Study of the Wayang Kulit with Performance Scripts and Puppet Designs (McFarland, 2011), conducted original field research on the performing arts throughout much of Southeast Asia and has published on this subject in The Asian Theatre Journal, South Asian Popular Culture, World Encyclopedia of Popular Culture (Greenwood Publishing Group), Turning the Wheel, and The Quest (a journal of the Theosophic Society).

-Web-based performance to ignite positive social change (see and

- Women/Mothers and Performance, In her activism work and scholarship Beth is interested in exploring and researching the cross-over between women¹s voices in performance and civic life. Publications on this topic include:

  • (Mothers of All the World’s Children) 
Stop the Next War Now: 
Effective Responses to Violence and Terrorism. Ed. Medea Benjamin and Jodie
 Evans. San Francisco, California: Inner Ocean Publishing, 2005
  • (Performing Mother Activism) The Maternal is Political: Women Writers at
the Intersection of Motherhood and Social Change. Ed. Shari MacDonald, Seal
 Press, 2008.
  •  (The 21st Century Motherhood Movement) Mothers Acting Up Ed. Andre O’Reilly. Toronto: Demeter Press, 2011.


- Author of Acting: An International Encyclopedia Denver: ABC-Clio. 2001

- Beth is dedicated to supporting and encouraging graduate students in writing and publishing and holds a dissertation support group for theatre graduate students.  She involves graduate students in her research, traveling to the Navajo Nation to do applied performance work, traveling to the Performing the World Conference in NYC to perform her original work Clean Energy Access: The Musical (Fall 2012), in publishing, and in actively encouraging and mentoring students to be presenting at professional conferences.