New Department of Theatre Chairperson Appointed

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New Department of Theatre Chairperson Appointed

Stephen Di Benedetto has been selected as the next Chairperson of the Department of Theatre at Michigan State University, effective July 15, 2020. 

“I am thrilled to join the Department of Theatre alongside such a wide array of talented artists working at the forefront of our field,” he said. “It is exhilarating to be a part of such a cohesive team charting our way as teachers, artists, and scholars during challenging times. Together we will build on our strengths to offer our students and community programs and performances that envision what it is to be human in the 21st century and how we can thrive and create the world as we hope it can be.

“My family and I are excited to become part of the MSU family and become part of the local community.”

Di Benedetto comes to MSU from the University of Miami where he is an Associate Professor of Theatre History. Additionally, he is a Performance and Design Series Editor for Bloomsbury.

“I am thrilled to join the Department of Theatre alongside such a wide array of talented artists working at the forefront of our field. It is exhilarating to be a part of such a cohesive team charting our way as teachers, artists, and scholars during challenging times.”

Dr. Stephen Di Benedetto

During his time with the University of Miami over the past 15 years, Di Benedetto has served as a Director of Undergraduate Studies, Associate Chair, and Chair and Executive Director of the Jerry Herman Ring Theatre. 

His current research and publications explore scenographic design in various cultural contexts and examine the ways in which the five senses are harnessed by artists in performance from a phenomenological perspective. He also is interested in the ways that performance can inform other disciplines. 

His books include The Provocation of the Senses in Contemporary Theatre (Routledge, 2010) and An Introduction to Theatre Design (Routledge, 2012). He also co-edited Designer’s Shakespeare (Routledge, 2016) and is currently co-editing The Cambridge Companion to American Theatre since 1945, which is expected to be published in 2021. 

Man with short hair and glasses in a striped collared shirt
Dr. Stephen Di Benedetto

Prior to joining the University of Miami in 2005, Di Benedetto was an Assistant Professor of Theatre at the University of Houston. He served for one year as a Visiting Assistant Lecturer in Modern Drama at University College Dublin, National University of Ireland, and he also was a Lecturer in English at DePaul University.

He is an active member of the American Society for Theatre Research, the International Federation for Theatre Research, and Performance Studies International. Among his other professional affiliations, he is the former Treasurer of the Association of the Study of Arts in the Present. He also was an Associate Editor of ASAP/ Journal (Johns Hopkins University Press), Book Review Editor (North America) for Theatre Research International, an Associate Editor of Scene (Intellect), a convener of the Scenography Working group of the International Federation for Theatre Research, an artist board member of DiverseWorks Art House in Houston, a theatre critic for Houston Free Press and Irish Theatre Magazine, and he worked as a dramaturg at such places as Infernal Bridegroom Productions and the Connecticut Repertory Theatre.

“An internationally recognized scholar of theatre and performance, Dr. Di Benedetto brings a wealth of administrative experience to the role of Chair of the Department of Theatre.”

Christopher P. Long, Dean of the College of Arts & Letters

“An internationally recognized scholar of theatre and performance, Dr. Di Benedetto brings a wealth of administrative experience to the role of Chair of the Department of Theatre,” said Christopher P. Long, Dean of the College of Arts & Letters. “His commitment to collaboration and his proven record of transdisplinary performance studies will enhance our efforts to put the research and creative activity of the arts at the center of the Michigan State University land-grant mission.”

Di Benedetto received his Doctor of Philosophy in Theatre from Goldsmiths College, University of London, in 2000. He has an M.A. in Theatre and Drama from the University of Michigan, and a B.F.A. in Theatre History and Criticism from The Theatre School, DePaul University.