Dr. Brant Pope, head of the Department of Theatre at the University of Illinois, has been appointed chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance at The University of Texas at Austin, effective June 1.
Pope also has been appointed as holder of the Z.T. Scott Family Chair in Drama in the university’s Department of Theatre and Dance.
Pope succeeds Holly Williams, interim chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance, who will continue in her position as professor and head of the master of fine arts in dance program after having been interim chair of the department since 2009, and senior associate chair from 2006-09.
“Brant Pope is equally at home and accomplished in the world of professional theatre and the world of university and conservatory theatrical training programs,” said Douglas Dempster, dean of the College of Fine Arts. “He has extensive credits as a practicing actor, director and theatrical manager in professional regional theatre while at the same time holding a Ph.D., publishing as a scholar and teacher, and leading the best theatre training programs in the country. He will set a new high standard of academic excellence and artistic professionalism for the Department of Theatre and Dance and for the Austin theatre community.”
As a teacher and administrator, Pope has held academic positions at Pennsylvania State University, Florida State University and Virginia Commonwealth University. He was director of the Florida State University/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training and associate artistic director of the Asolo State Theatre, in Sarasota, Fla., from 1991-2001.
As an actor, director and author, Pope has been seen off-Broadway and in regional theatre with the Hartford Stage Company, Asolo Theatre Company and Park Square Theatre. He is the author of the play, “Sins of Omission” and has made significant contributions to literature in his field, including, “The Theatrical Imagination,” “Method Acting Reconsidered” and the acting edition of “Three Sisters.”
“The position of chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance at The University of Texas at Austin is one of the most exciting, challenging and coveted arts jobs in America,” Pope said. “It is humbling and gratifying to me that I have been chosen to provide leadership for the department and I am eager to get to work. The Department of Theatre and Dance boasts America’s most distinguished faculty, and the long list of program accomplishments is only exceeded by the extraordinary possibilities of what lies ahead. We are a program that provides national leadership in theatre and dance performance, education, design/technology, scholarship and management. I am fortunate enough to step into the best job I could ever imagine. I am absolutely thrilled.”
Pope earned a bachelor of arts degree from The University of Minnesota, master of fine arts degrees from the University of Connecticut and Florida State University and a doctor’s degree in American studies from Michigan State University. Former president of the University/Resident Theatre Association, Pope is a member of The Theatre Communication Group and is a program accreditation reviewer for the National Association of Schools of Theatre.