A Message from Melia Bensussen, Outgoing Chair, Performing Arts:
Eleven years ago I was honored to have been named Chair of the Performing Arts Department at Emerson. We had recently settled into the new Tufte building after our migration across town from Beacon Hill and Brimmer Street; the Majestic, Semel and Greene Theaters were a long way from The Fireplace and the Circle, and the future of Performing Arts looked shining bright to all of us.
As hopeful and optimistic as I was then about the future of this program, I could never have imagined the tremendous rise of the quality, intensity, creativity and depth of our students, alums, faculty, staff, guest artists and supporters.
So many people, shows, and changes have moved through these 11 years: beloved faculty like Harry Morgan, Leo Nikole, Mary Ellen Adams, Robbie McCauley now hold Emeritus status, soon to be joined by Tim Jozwick and Mary Harkins who are retiring this spring. Already beloved new faculty have joined our ranks. Staff have come and gone, but mostly, wonderfully for us, have come and stayed. Productions rehearse and tech and get struck, and live on for all of us in different ways.
As successful as these years have been, I know well how much work remains to be done, especially in areas of cultural inclusion and diversity, not just in our program but in the theatre industry as well.
My time as Chair concludes at the end of this academic year; I will be taking a one-year sabbatical and will return as Producing Director of Emerson Stage in Fall 2019, the position I originally held when I started as an Assistant Professor at Emerson in the Fall of 2000. I am thrilled to announce that Bob Colby will succeed me as Chair of Performing Arts, and I am very excited for him and the department. Bob is a nationally recognized leader in Theatre Education, running a highly-ranked program in a field that is more important than ever. Please join me in congratulating Bob on this achievement, one of so many in a remarkable career.