Geoffrey Proehl

Professor Emeritus Geoff Proehl

Professor Emeritus, Theatre Arts

From 1994 to 2019 Professor Emeritus Geoff Proehl taught and directed in the Department of Theatre Arts at the University of Puget Sound. As the James M. Dolliver National Endowment for the Humanities Distinguished Professor (2009-13), he led with the support and assistance of C. Rosalind Bell, Grace Livingston, and Kurt Walls a series of seminars, classes, and performances under the title of “Engaging Creativity, Criticism, Collaboration, and Community Through the Work of Suzan-Lori Parks and Her Contemporaries.” Prior to Puget Sound, he taught taught, directed, and dramaturged, and supervised the work of graduate student dramaturgs on university and professional productions.

Proehl’s book on the relationship between theatre makers and the plays they produce –Toward a Dramaturgical Sensibility: Landscape and Journey with DD Kugler, Mark Lamos, and Michael Lupu – received the Outstanding Book Award from the Association for Theatre in Higher Education in 2009. He has also authored, Coming Home Again: American Family Drama and the Figure of the Prodigal (1997) and was co-editor/contributor for Dramaturgy in American Theatre: A Source Book (1997).

At Puget Sound, Proehl and Livingston dramaturged and directed readings and productions of three plays by C. Rosalind Bell: The New Orleans Monologues (featuring Grace Livingston as *), 1620 Bank Street, and My Louisiana Project. Contemporary playwrights with whom he has worked, in addition to Bell, include Russell Davis (Mahida’s Extra Key to Heaven, Wild Goose Circus, The Song of Grendelyn) and Bryan Willis (Hotel Olympian, Bootleg). At Stanford, Villanova, and Puget Sound, Proehl directed over twenty productions – many with long-term designer/collaborator Kurt Walls – including Angels in America (Part I), The Seagull, Three Sisters, Trip to Bountiful, Our Town, Skin of Our Teeth, As You Like It, Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Twelfth Night. Professionally, Proehl has worked on plays at Guthrie Theatre, Arena Stage, the People's Light and Theatre Company, Tacoma Actors Guild, the Museum of Glass, and the New Harmony Project.

President of Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas from 1998-2000, in 2016 that organization recognized his work in the field of dramaturgy with its highest honor: The Lessing Award for Lifetime Achievement. Proehl has a PhD in directing and dramatic criticism from Stanford University, an MFA in directing from Wayne State, and a BA from George Fox College.

Beginning with the essays that would become Toward a Dramaturgical Sensibility DD Kugler and Proehl have worked together as a dramaturg/writer team on three book-length projects, sharing, in the summer of 2015, a residency at Tofte Lake Center (Liz Engelman, director) in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota. 

Carolyn Proehl, spouse and long-term collaborator, is a retired music educator. Proehl’s daughter, Kristen, teaches English at SUNY Brockport. His son, Joshua, works in food policy for the state of Washington. Geoff Proehl grew up in a small logging town in the coast range of Oregon, where his parents were educators. 

BS George Fox University
MFA Wayne State University
PhD Stanford University

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