Tony Award Winning Lighting Designer Howell Binkley Visits Campus for Workshops, Lecture

Howell Binkley
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Howell Binkley

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Howell Binkley, a Tony Award winner for best lighting design of a musical, will give a public lecture and two student workshops Monday, Feb. 9, and Tuesday, Feb. 10. He will share insights on working on Broadway, how the process is different from the academic theatre and what skills are needed for careers in New York.

“When we bring in professionals like Howell Binkley, his message tends to reinforce the outstanding training that the students are already receiving here at the U of A,” said Michael Riha, chair of the Department of Theatre in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. “Equally important, making a personal connection by spending two days holding workshops with our students is an incredible asset for our students as well as the reputation of our program.”

Binkley is the first of three McIlroy Visiting Professors that the Department of Theatre will host at the University of Arkansas this semester.

Established in 2006, the McIlroy Family Visiting Professorship in Performing and Visual Arts provides an opportunity to bring working and esteemed artists to campus to teach and mentor students in the performing and visual arts. The professorship rotates among the departments of art, theatre and music allowing the university to introduce students to professional Broadway lighting designers such as Binkley, famed composers like Augusta Read Thomas and renowned artists such as sculptor and photographer Lesley Dill. The McIlroy Professorship was provided by the philanthropy of Hayden and Mary Joe McIlroy and the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation.

“Without the generous gift of the McIlroy Family Visiting Professorship, we could not afford to fund bringing these professionals to our campus,” Riha said.  “It is a critical component of our training program to expose our students to industry leaders in the theatre world. The energy created by their visits tends to resonate for years to come, and it’s what the students talk about for three years. We are thankful we have such invested sponsors of the arts in the McIlroy family.”  

Binkley won his Tony Award in 2006 for his work on the Broadway musical Jersey Boys. He been nominated for the award six times and has been nominated three times for the Drama Desk Award. His public talk is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 9, at Walton Arts Center's Nadine Baum Studios, 505 W. Spring Street in Fayetteville. The event is free and open to the public. 


Michael Riha, chair, Department of Theatre
J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences

Tara Grubbs, communications intern
J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences


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