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Faculty News : May 17, 2019

Choreographer and educator to lead School of Theatre + Dance as new director

Gainesville, Fla.—The University of Florida College of the Arts appointed Dr. Peter Carpenter to lead the School of Theatre + Dance as its new director beginning July 1. 

As director, Carpenter will be charged with providing visionary and practical leadership for the school's diverse programs. He will oversee the management of processes related to curriculum, fiscal management and program growth in relation to the school’s mission and values. 

"I’m thrilled to be joining the University of Florida and the School of Theatre and Dance," Carpenter says. "I was especially drawn to the 'meta-narrative' of the College of the Arts and its focus on developing research agendas, curricula and pedagogical strategies as means to affect transformational, societal change. My entire career has sought to make platforms of power—via the concert stage or the educational institution—a force for good, so I’m beside myself with excitement to see how this could play out at the College of the Arts."

An active choreographer since 1992, Carpenter has honed a distinctive approach to blending complex dance vocabularies with politically charged text and meta-theatrical conventions. He received robust support for the creation of new works in the form of commissions by Lucky Plush Productions (Chicago), The Dance Distribution Project (Memphis), The Ashland Art Museum (Chapel Hill, North Carolina), Robin Lakes/ROUGHDANCE (Chicago), Project: Motion (Memphis) and SPDW Dance Theatre (Chicago).

As an academic leader and administrator at Columbia College Chicago, Carpenter has held a series of positions that have provided him with opportunities to engage in institutional change with a focus toward strengthening diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. He served as President of the Faculty Senate, Chair of Dance and Interim Chair of Theatre. 

As an educator, Carpenter finds opportunities for interdisciplinary exchange across lines of artistry and scholarship. He regularly teaches a combination of choreography and dance studies courses and encourages his students to find connections between their own appetite for movement and the socio-political forces that shape their lives. 

His work as a choreographer for theatre include engagements with Steppenwolf Arts Exchange, The Goodman, Strawdog, National Pastime, Roadworks, 29th Street Repertory and Street Signs. He regularly teaches as a guest artist in college dance and theatre programs including DePaul University, Ferris State University, Georgetown, Illinois Wesleyan College, Northwestern, the Ohio State University, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, University of Alaska—Anchorage and Fairbanks, University of California—Los Angeles, University of Colorado—Boulder, University of Iowa, University of Memphis, University of Michigan, University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill and University of Southern Mississippi.

Carpenter attended Northwestern University, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Theatre in 1992. He also received his Master of Fine Arts in Dance in 2003 and Ph.D. in Culture and Performance in 2013 from the University of California—Los Angeles.