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March 12, 2015 Volume 36, No. 23

Professor pledges $1 million estate gift for creation of theater center


Professor Suzanne Burgoyne (left) announced March 9 a $1 million estate gift to fund the Center for Applied Theatre and Drama Research at MU. The announcement at the Rhynsburger Theatre included an interactive-theater demonstration, featuring MU actors such as doctoral student Will Palmer and sophomore Kelsey Clark. Photo by Rob Hill.

Suzanne Burgoyne has been an MU faculty member since 1989

One Mizzou professor’s approach to theater has audiences leaping out of their seats. And talking to the performers. And influencing the story lines. In the hands of Suzanne Burgoyne, a Curators Professor of Theater, the dramatic arts have therapeutic and educational applications, serving as tools for improving communication and affecting social justice.

MU Center for Applied Theatre

Thanks to a $1 million gift, the active-learning strategies Burgoyne has developed for more than 35 years can reach more students and more audiences in increasingly diverse fields. Burgoyne has pledged an estate gift to fund the Center for Applied Theatre and Drama Research in the MU Department of Theatre.

“I believe theater is a powerful art form — one that allows us to explore what it means to be human,” Burgoyne told the crowd gathered in Rhynsburger Theater for a very theatrical gift announcement March 9. “I am grateful for the opportunity to provide a means of sustaining work in applied theater for generations of students to come.”

Burgoyne, an MU faculty member since 1989, co-founded the interdisciplinary Interactive Theatre Troupe with colleague Clyde Ruffin in 2003. In interactive theater, one of several forms applied theater can take, actors perform short, research-based plays about complex problems and then give audiences the chance to intervene.

Read the rest of Karen Pojmann’s article on Suzanne Burgoyne and her $1 million estate gift at Mizzou News