Theatre professor wins prestigious best essay award

contact: Mark Schwerin
| WMU News


KALAMAZOO--A Western Michigan University theatre professor has won the 2011 Martin Stevens Award for Best New Essay in Early Drama Studies.

The award was presented to Dr. Lofton L. Durham, WMU assistant professor of theatre, for "Reconnecting Text to Context: The Ontology of French Medieval Drama and the Case of the 'Istoire de la Destruction de Troie,'" published in the spring 2011 issue of the Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism.

"This substantial and ambitious article exemplifies the best innovative work of medieval drama scholarship," writes the committee nominating Durham for the award. "It both addresses a neglected 30,000-line French dramatization of the Trojan War, written in 1452 by Jacques Millet, and opens up significant methodological issues of concern to a broad audience of drama theorists."

Durham earned his bachelor's degree in English and drama from Transylvania University in Lexington, Ky., and his master's and doctoral degrees in theatre arts and performance studies from the University of Pittsburgh before joining the WMU faculty in 2009. Since coming to WMU, he has been active in starting the new University Center for the Humanities.

The award was presented by the Medieval and Renaissance Drama Society this spring during the annual International Congress on Medieval Studies at WMU. The award was made as part of the annual awards given by the society to recognize achievement in publication, conference presentation and archives research in the field of early drama studies. The society is an academic association of scholars and other persons interested in medieval and Renaissance drama whose activities include organizing annual meetings, sponsoring long-range research projects and publishing material of interest to the society, including the journal ROMARD--Research on Medieval and Renaissance Drama.

The awards are judged by a panel that includes the previous year's winners. The Stevens award carries a monetary prize and a year's membership in MRDS.