Dr. Suzanne Burgoyne

Professor of Directing, Script Analysis, and Theatre of the Oppressed, Department of Theatre
Columbia, Missouri
United States

Focus Areas

Arts & Humanities
Higher Education


Suzanne Burgoyne, Ph.D. (KNFP 2), is a Curators' Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Missouri and Producing Director of MU’s Interactive Theatre Troupe (founded 2003). She is also the director of the Center for Applied Theatre and Drama Research, founded in 2014. She enjoys her work and feels she is continuing to make a difference in the world, so she is not yet ready to retire. Suzanne’s current research and service interests center around applied theatre (use of theatre as pedagogy for other disciplines) -- including Theatre of the Oppressed (Augusto Boal) and Interactive Theatre, Creativity for the Non-Arts Major, and Science Communication. Suzanne has participated in three major MU grants that use interactive theatre: Ford Foundation Difficult Dialogues (diversity), NSF Advance (gender issues in STEM fields), and Susan B. Komen (Health Education: doctor-patient communication about breast cancer). The breast cancer project [ cut recently] received ongoing funding from the Mizzou Advantage program, which also funded a new script on body image, media, and nutrition. Suzanne has guest directed interactive theatre performances for the University of Alaska/Anchorage (2013) and Wake Forest University (2011). In 2016/2017, MU's Sinclair School of Nursing commissioned the Creation of New Scripts on Health Equity. See the Mizzou Interactive Theatre Troupe website mizzouitt.weebly.com. Named 2003 Outstanding Teacher by the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, Suzanne also received a Mizzou Kemper Award for teaching excellence (2004). In addition to KNFP, national fellowships include: Carnegie Scholar (Scholarship of Teaching and Learning), and Fulbright Scholar. With Kellogg classmate Bill Timpson, she co-authored Teaching and Performing: Ideas for Energizing Your Classes (2nd ed., 2002). Her co-authored book, Thinking Through Script Analysis (2012), embeds explicit learning of critical, analytical, and creative thinking in the disciplinary techniques. She is currently editing a volume on creativity and theatre to be published by spring. Following a faculty development leave in 2010/11, Suzanne designed and piloted a course in creative thinking for the non-arts major. Since 2015, Suzanne has collaborated with Ferris Pfeiffer, a bioengineer, in developing class sessions teaching creativity for undergraduate students in the bioengineering capstone. The first pilot measured the impact of the training by using a developed and validated instrument on engineering design self-efficacy. The measure showed that the experimental group's self-efficacy grew twice as much as the control group's (the rest of the class) during the semester. An MU grant was awarded the next year, with similar results, and similar results in 2016 led to another grant and pilot in 2017. In June 2012, Suzanne served as a featured instructor for the University of Wisconsin System’s Faculty College. After attending a summer institute at the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University, Suzanne joined a team of scientists and journalists working on a project to enhance scientists’ ability to communicate with the lay public. The team is currently completing a 3-year NSF grant assessing the impact of a "decoding science" program on graduate students in science. Suzanne leads one of the 4 workshops, using acting techniques to help improve presentation skills. (This workshop grows out of her collaboration with group 2 Kellogg Fellow, Bill Timpson, oh so many years ago.) Suzanne is also serving as a consultant on a multi-campus NSF project which is using avatars instead of live actors to present interactive theatre-type training on diversity issues for professors in the geosciences. Team of scientists and journalists are working on a project to enhance scientists ability to communicate with the lay public. Suzanne teaches courses in directing and Theatre of the Oppressed and directs for the University of Missouri Department of Theatre. Out of the 7 Mizzou productions she directed that were entered in the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival, 4 were selected for performance at the regional festival, and one of those 4 garnered national Honorable Mention awards, including for directing and ensemble acting. Suzanne has published translations of plays by Belgian author Paul Willems as well as journal articles and book chapters on theatre, drama, interactive theatre, and pedagogy. She has also served as Editor of Theatre Topics and an officer in her national organization, The Association for Theatre in Higher Education. Suzanne's Ph.D. in Theatre is from the University of Michigan, her M.A. from Ohio State University, and she studied for a post-B.A. year at the National Theatre Institute of Belgium in Brussels, where she returned as a guest professor of directing in 1986.