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Released July 18, 2005




Hattiesburg– As the 29th season of Southern Arena Theatre at The University of Southern Mississippi progresses through July and early August, Louis Rackoff joins the Department of Theatre and Dance as its new chair.

As former artistic director of the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival from 1988 to 2002, where he directed or supervised more than 60 productions, Rackoff, as an associate professor, will also head the Master of Fine Arts directing program at Southern Miss.

“I’m very honored and privileged to join the Department of Theatre and Dance at Southern Miss,” Rackoff said. “The students, faculty and staff are doing wonderful work in the classrooms, studios, rehearsal halls, shops, theatres, and offices, and I’m grateful to be part of an extraordinary effort.”

Patrons of Southern Miss Theatre already know Rackoff’s work as he was a visiting guest artist with the department during the 2004-2005 academic year. He directed the successful production of Much Ado About Nothing.

Rackoff has guest directed more than 45 productions at numerous professional theaters and universities throughout the United States. From 1974 to 1981, he worked as a production stage manager for the New York Shakespeare Festival, where he directed a national tour of the Broadway production of The Pirates of Penzance.

Having received a Master of Fine Arts in directing from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Rackoff was an assistant professor of theater at Fordham University at Lincoln Center.

The new chair wants to continue to develop the department “by focusing on the incredible power and energy of creative collaboration.”

“We are a dynamic and vital part of the culture of our university, our wonderful city, and the entire South Mississippi area,” Rackoff said. “Our goal should be to present the best theater and dance in our region and to be the most sought-after place to study these disciplines.”

The department’s SAT summer season will continue through Aug. 4, offering opportunities for the public to see some of the finest work in collegiate theater. The main-stage season opens with Moliere’s Scapin in October 2005.

For show information, call the Southern Miss Ticket Office at (601) 266-5418 or 800-844-8425 or the department office at (601) 266-4994.



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July 28, 2005 12:06 PM