Linda Essig has been appointed chair of the Department of Theatre and artistic director for the theatre production program at ASU Herberger College. Essig, who has a 20 year career in professional theatre, was most recently chair of Theatre and Drama at University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was responsible for the faculty recruitment, retention and assessment, curricular and budgetary planning, and development for the department. Prior to assuming the chair position, Essig was the director of University Theatre, the producing artistic director for their production season and the head of the design and technology area of the department.

"Professor Essig is truly an outstanding addition to our theatre faculty," comments J. Robert Wills, Dean of the Herberger College. "Not only is she an acclaimed theatre artist and scholar, she is an exceptional administrator who can guide our already thriving theatre program to even great strength. I’m delighted that we could entice her to join us."

Among plans for her new role, Essig will focus on enhancing excellence across the department -- from revamping the MFA program to include directing, to bringing in high-caliber guest artists, to tying production choices to both the curriculum and the community, to integrating emerging technology in the classroom and on the stage.

"It’s an honor to lead a department that is so rich in diversity, creative energy and intellectual vigor. To join such a talented faculty, who share my vision for the future, is very exciting," says Essig.

The idea of community embededness is important to Essig. "As scholars and artists, I feel strongly that we (as a 21st century theatre department) should explore new and diverse ideas and work to challenge, enrich and transform both the university and the larger communities in which we live," Essig says.

Among her other professional credits, Essig has published several books on lighting design and is a national lecturer and presenter. She has worked in theatres across the country, including venues on Broadway, numerous not-for-profit professional theatres, and as an architectural lighting consultant.

To learn more about the Department of Theatre in the Herberger College of Fine Arts at ASU, visit