Michael J. Barnes named interim chair of the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance

Michael J. Barnes, associate professor, has been named interim chair of the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance effective January 4, 2023.


Currently, Barnes is the voice and speech specialist for graduate and undergraduate acting programs. He also serves as the department’s programming coordinator and has previously been its artistic director, in addition to two years as the university’s Privacy Officer.

"With these qualifications, I have no doubt Michael will be able to quickly step into this interim role to provide consistency and stability during this transition period," said College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts Dean Hasan Elahi. "I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Department of Theatre and Dance Executive Committee for their guidance with this transition. I also want to thank Mary Anderson for her service and dedication since 2020 in her role as chair — especially during the pandemic, which dramatically impacted the performing arts landscape."

Since joining Wayne State University in 2005, Barnes has directed more than 20 productions — from Little Shop of Horrors to The Snow Queen. He is also an associate teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework. But it's his participation in a variety of activities at the university that helps set Barnes apart, Elahi said. In addition to serving two terms on the Academic Senate, he has been on various committees such as Facilities, Support Services and Technology; Elections; and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. He most recently served on the Policy Committee.

Prior to coming to Detroit, Barnes was on the faculty at the Tampa-based Broadway Theatre Project with Artistic Director Ben Vereen, at the University of Miami, and Temple University. He has also taught at the University of California-Irvine, University of Delaware, and University of Central Oklahoma. Barnes formerly served as president of the Voice and Speech Trainers Association and is the director of technology for the Fitzmaurice Institute. He has also dialect coached the films The Witch, Master Class, Convicted and Broken Bridges.


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