Professor of Theatre
Director of Multicultural Theatre
Western Michigan University, B.A., M.A.; Wayne State University, Ph.D. | Joined WMU: 1989
Dr. Von Washington joined the Theatre faculty in 1989, after teaching ten years in the graduate theatre program at Wayne State University (WSU). He received his B.S. and M.A. degrees from Western Michigan University and his Ph.D. from WSU in 1979. While at WSU he trained and worked with the Hilberry Repertory Theatre, a para-professional graduate company dedicated to producing the classics.
Von is a nationally-known professional actor/director/teacher who has worked on stage, screen, and television in more than 300 productions. He has directed and performed at the University of Michigan, WSU, WMU, Kalamazoo College, and at various professional theatres across the country, such as the Missouri Repertory Theatre in Kansas City, MO, the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles, the Meadow Brook Theatre in Rochester, MI, and the Detroit Repertory Theatre in Detroit, MI. Von directed Native Son, a Region III selection in the American College Theater Festival.
A published playwright, his plays have been produced in amateur and professional theatres across the country and around the world. He recently wrote and directed the play, Remnants From Senegal, which premiered at WMU in February of 2001 and was featured at the National Black Theatre Festival in August of 2007. Most notably, his award-winning play, Seven Stops To Freedom, was performed in Beijing, China before the 2008 Olympic Games.
He is the artistic director for Washington Productions, Inc., a professional theatre/video production company created by him and his wife Fran. WPI has successfully produced theatre presentations focusing on the lives of Rosa Parks, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Langston Hughes, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Frederick Douglass. WPI received a grant from The W. K. Kellogg Foundation to write and produce a touring show dealing with Michigan involvement with the Underground Railroad. Von was selected by the Sojourner Truth Institute in Battle Creek, MI, to write and produce a play, Down By The Riverside, featuring the activities of the abolitionist, Sojourner Truth, for the dedication of a statue in her honor.
Von has been a visiting professor for Kalamazoo College and the University of Missouri, Columbia.