Assistant Professor of Theatre
Theatre History & Script Analysis
Transylvania University, B.A.; University of Pittsburgh, M.A.
University of Pittsburgh, PhD. | Joined WMU: 2009
Lofty Durham is a researcher, teacher, and professional director who joined the Department of Theatre in fall 2009. His article, “Reconnecting Text to Context: The Ontology of ‘French Medieval Drama’ and the Case of the Istoire de la Destruction de Troie la Grant,” won the 2011 Martin Stevens Award for Best New Essay in Early Drama Studies, which is given annually by the Medieval and Renaissance Drama Society. He has been nominated twice by Western to compete for the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend program.
He is currently at work on a book, Playing with Ideas, that seeks to reframe the cultural importance of performance in late medieval France. He is a frequent contributor to conferences, including a perennial appearance as the co-convenor of a working group on medieval performance at the American Society of Theatre Research, and as a speaker at venues such as the Medieval Academy of America, the Medieval Congress at Kalamazoo, and the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.
In addition to teaching Theatre History, Script Analysis, Script Analysis for Production as well as several sections a year of Introduction to Theatre, Lofty is a member of the graduate faculty of the Medieval Institute and a member of the Institute’s Board. He was also instrumental in establishing Western’s University Center for the Humanities, and he was responsible for conceiving and leading the development of the 2012-13 Speaker Series, “Power and Publics.” He is active on campus especially regarding best practices in teaching, learning, and curriculum development.
Lofty earned his PhD, MA, and a certificate in West European Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. While in Pittsburgh, Lofty co-founded a small theatre company called Pandora’s Box Theatre, which during its short yet fierce existence produced a two-week repertory of new adaptations of Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus and Molière’s Amphitryon in summer 2006, and in 2007, a critically acclaimed translation and adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s “chicken play” Chanticleer. He also directed at several other venues in Pittsburgh, including Open Stage Theatre, City Theatre, and Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks. Before arriving in Pittsburgh, Lofty directed professionally in the Washington, DC area, at organizations as varied as Washington Shakespeare Company, Source Theatre Company, the Opera Theatre of Northern Virginia, The Theatre Conspiracy, and St. Mary’s College of Maryland. He was also lucky enough to assistant direct at the Folger Shakespeare Library’s Elizabethan Theatre for four years.
In addition to his academic and theatre experience, Lofty has worked in nonprofit organizations as a volunteer recruiter and manager, writer and editor, grantmaker, fundraiser, and marketer.