UAB’s Lightner honored by Alabama Conference of Theatre

Roy Lightner, MFA, an assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Theatre, has received the Dorothy Schwartz Outstanding Educator Award.

Roy Lightner 2Roy Lightner, MFA 
Photography: Bruce Southerland
(Photo taken prior to the COVID-19 pandemic)
The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Roy Lightner, MFA, received the Dorothy Schwartz Outstanding Educator Award from the Alabama Conference of Theatre on Saturday, Aug. 21.

Lightner is an assistant professor in the College of Arts and SciencesDepartment of Theatre and teaches dance classes, choreographs and directs productions, and advises musical theater majors.

The award is bestowed on a nominee who has made a significant contribution to theater in the state. The Alabama Conference of Theatre is a 501(c)(3) organization that aims to improve the quality of theater and performing arts on all levels throughout the state of Alabama.

Lightner is an award-winning director and choreographer born and raised Leawood, Kansas. He was a professor at Ithaca College in the musical theater department as well as the associate artistic director of Transcendence Theatre Company in Sonoma, California, prior to joining the UAB Department of Theatre in 2017.

“I truly believe that we are only as strong as those around us,” Lightner said. “The faculty, staff and students of the Department of Theatre make me want to constantly be better. I could not do anything I do without the internal support of this department. I feel so very honored to be part of this team.”

For Theatre UAB, Lightner choreographed the musical “Working” in 2017, directed “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” and co-directed and choreographed “Hairspray” in 2018, choreographed the original Theatre UAB musical “Savage” in 2019, and that year also directed and choreographed “Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical.”

In 2020, Lightner co-directed Theatre UAB’s “Disconnect,” which won high honors for college theater. “Disconnect” is an original Theatre UAB work created by students and faculty that blended live and pre-recorded theatrical elements and world-premiered during a global pandemic. The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival honored “Disconnect” with five national awards, including Special Achievement in Directing for Lightner and student co-director David H. Parker as well as Overall Production Design, Ensemble Collaboration (Performance and Production) and Company-Generated Work.

KCACTF also honored “Disconnect” with a Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Award, which recognizes programs in higher education using theatrical production to promote long-term societal impact through an artistic lens, to encourage empathetic exploration of the complex cultural and physical world, and to advocate for justice on campus and throughout the world. UAB was among 29 schools honored with Citizen Artist Awards.

This fall, Lightner will co-direct and choreograph the Theatre UAB production of “Godspell.”