Alan MacVey
Alan MacVey

WHEREAS Alan MacVey, who is also Director of the Division of Performing Arts, Collegiate Fellow, recipient of the Regents Award for Faculty Excellence, and the 2014 UI Presidential Lecturer, is completing his final semester of 28 continuous years as our department chair from Academic Year 1991-92 through Academic Year 2018-19;

WHEREAS this is a run second in duration only to that of the department’s founding leader, E.C. Mabie (who served as chair for 31 years, from 1925 to 1956), and a run not likely to be equaled or surpassed in the foreseeable future, especially because it included the historic 500 Year Flood of 2008, which devastated the arts campus, and Alan, as Director of the Division of Performing Arts, served tirelessly to lead us through the demanding decade-long challenges of recovery and rebuilding;

WHEREAS, over his extraordinary length of tenure in the office of DEO, itself a measure of success given collegiate processes of DEO review and reappointment, Alan MacVey has demonstrated exceptional  leadership and impact on the arts not only on campus but also at the national and international levels;

WHEREAS Alan’s vision and effectiveness as an outstanding leader in the arts are rooted in his strong record of achievement as a creative artist: including directing at the Yale School of Drama Princeton, Trinity Repertory Company, the Cleveland Playhouse, Chicago’s Northlight Theatre, TheatreWorks in California, the Shakespeare Theatre at the Folger, the McCarter Theatre, and the professional acting ensemble in residence at the Bread Loaf School of English, with whom he directed 26 productions of contemporary and classic plays;

WHEREAS Alan has fostered national and international collaborations through the visionary Partnership in the Arts program he created when he first came to Iowa. Through this now 28-year-old program, such internationally recognized innovators as Maria Irene Fornes, Erik Ehn, Migdalia Cruz, Anton Juan, Karen Coonrod, Theodora Skipitares, Will Power, Anne Bogart, and Martha Clarke have created pieces here at Iowa.  Many productions have gone on to professional production in New York and elsewhere;

WHEREAS Alan has also had international impact as co-producer and director on the Book Wings Project, a collaboration among the Theatre Arts Department, The International Writing Program, UITV, and the State Department, which involved shared performances with theatres in Russia, China, Iraq, and South Africa. Audiences were able to view work at each location in real time via the Internet;

WHEREAS Alan has also shown tremendous leadership in the development of a Digital Arts program at the University of Iowa.  He has been instrumental in creating faculty links among departments of Computer Science, Engineering, Art and Art History, Theatre Arts, Dance, Music, and Cinema. For four years, he co-led the committee that developed the Public Digital Arts cluster hire initiative, which has now been implemented with the appointment of eight new faculty members in six different units and has created a new certificate in digital arts;

WHEREAS Alan has fostered the initiative to expand the mission of The Writing University by  harnessing the expertise of alumni in film and television to teach new courses in screenwriting for students in Theatre Arts, Cinema, and the Writers Workshop;

WHEREAS, Over the years, he has also brought his vision and dedication to the arts to service on the CLAS Executive Committee, the Committee on Undergraduate Programs, the Task Force on Writing, the Arts and Humanities Advisory Committee, and the Steering Committee of the Year of the Arts and Humanities, and currently as co-chair of the UI Arts Advancement Committee and chair of the Campus Arts Campaign Committee;

WHEREAS Alan’s leadership in the arts has also been recognized nationally with elected offices in the National Association of Schools of Theatre, the primary accrediting agency of university theatre programs in the United States. Over a twelve year period, he was elected first as Secretary, then as Vice President, and finally as President and Chair of the Board of Trustees, which he followed with a term as Immediate Past President;

WHEREAS, As a leader in the Big Ten Theatre Consortium, an organization of theatre department chairs in the Big Ten, Alan successfully proposed an initiative to commission five new plays by women to premiere in university theatres and directed the first of these plays at Iowa in 2014;

WHEREAS, Alan is also a member of the International Council of Fine Arts Deans, and largely because of his distinguished record of national and international service to the field, he was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Theatre and invested at the Kennedy Center;

WHEREAS, Through all of these leadership activities, Alan has maintained a long record of outstanding teaching.  Year after year, he has earned superlative ACE scores, whether he teaches Basic Acting, and Directing I to undergraduates, or Advanced Acting, Directors’ Seminar,  Playwrights’ Workshop, and Special Topics in Playwriting to graduate students.  Students consistently praise his command of his subject, enthusiasm, fairness, and dedication.  Many consider him a truly inspirational teacher;

WHEREAS, Alan’s record of teaching excellence continued during the summers when he worked at the Bread Loaf School of English in Middlebury, Vermont. He taught graduate courses in playwriting, dramatic literature, directing, and acting.  He won four NEH grants to lead Summer Institutes in Theatre at Bread Loaf and in 2001 he was awarded Bread Loaf’s prestigious Robert Frost Chair in Literature;

WHEREAS, For the duration of his long tenure as Chair, Alan has made it a point to attend all of what the department produces, which means he has attended the theatre almost every weekend and often multiple times in a single weekend. Alan has been a mentor especially for the graduate directing students, and no space has been more utilized for student-directed productions than this one, Theatre B. It is safe to say that in the 28 years since he came to Iowa, Alan has logged more hours observing rehearsals and performances in this space than any other faculty member;

WHEREAS Alan pursued an unwavering commitment, as Theatre B showed significant wear and tear after 30 years of daily usage, to advocating relentlessly for the funds for much needed renovations, including new seating, new LED house lighting, and new carpet. These modifications to Theatre B benefit all the student work produced each semester in the Department of Theatre Arts;

WHEREAS, More broadly, Alan’s legacy ranks with those of the namesakes of the other two theatres in the building, E.C. Mabie Theatre and David Thayer Theatre. Their naming honors enormous contributions of educational and artistic leadership, of extraordinary time and energy spent and vision cultivated in the building, making and teaching theatre to transform generations of students, creating new works for the stage, and charting the future of the art form;

WHEREAS, like E.C. Mabie, who presided over the building of a state-of-the-art theatre in the 1930s as part of the WPA initiative, and David Thayer, professor of design at Iowa for 42 years, who spearheaded the design of the 1985 addition with the former Theatre A (now his namesake) realizing his vision of an ideal black box for experimentation, Alan MacVey led the upgrading of our facilities, especially Theatre B but also a wide array of improvements throughout the building, and the re-envisioning of our programs for the twenty-first century;

WHEREAS, Alan MacVey led us in raising the funds, hiring the personnel, creating the collaborative environment, and initiating curriculum revisions for digital and multi-media innovation over the last three decades to build on our stature as a premiere institution for the creation of new and innovative work for the stage and ensure our future development;

WHEREAS, For his long and distinguished career of leadership and the enduring legacy of his transformational impact on the proud history of the arts at Iowa, as well as his special connection to this space, the Faculty of the Department of Theatre Arts sought the approval of the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, who secured the approval of the Provost and President of the University of Iowa for this proposal;

Theatre B will henceforth be named The Alan MacVey Theatre. 


Jim Albert

Meredith Alexander

Loyce Arthur

Art Borreca

Mark Bruckner

John Cameron

Dare Clubb

Mary Coy

Mary Beth Easley

Dan Fine

Megan Gogerty

Kristy Hartsgrove Mooers

Paul Kalina

Abbie Katz

Kim Marra

Joe Osheroff

Lisa Schlesinger

R. Eric Stone

Melissa L.F. Turner

Bryon Winn