The Illinois Shakespeare Festival is delighted to announce the appointment of a new managing director, Dr. Derek R. Munson. Munson will oversee several features of the Festival including marketing and community outreach initiatives, front-of-house operations, and general management of the season. Munson joined the Illinois State University School of Theatre and Dance in August as an assistant professor of theatre studies. He received his M.A. from Missouri State University and his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri. Munson is a theatre historian and a scholar of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lanford Wilson.
Munson began his theatrical career as a child performer in his home state of Missouri and began his professional career during the 1990s in Denver, Colorado, before moving to New York City. While in New York, Munson worked for the internationally acclaimed dance company, Ballet Hispanico, TheatreWorks USA, and The Acting Company. Munson is especially proud of his work in arts education and his involvement in the New Orleans Public Schools Arts Revitalization project, a national dance residency following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Munson is a longtime member of Actor’s Equity Association, the union governing professional actors and stage managers.
“I am honored to be a part of the Illinois State University academic community and to serve the Illinois Shakespeare Festival,” Munson said. “I look forward to getting to know the Bloomington-Normal community and to fostering renewal and growth at the Festival. My love of the arts and my extensive experience as a theatre professional have guided me to this exciting moment in my career, and I couldn’t be happier about my appointment.”