Timothy X. Troy stands back stage in Stansbury Theater.
Timothy X. Troy stands back stage in Lawrence's Stansbury Theater. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Lawrence University theatre professor Timothy X. Troy is heading to Ireland for the coming academic year, the recipient of a Fulbright U.S. Scholar award to teach in a master’s program for stage and screen at the University College Dublin.

For Troy, the J. Thomas and Julie Esch Hurvis Professor of Theatre and Drama and professor of theatre arts, it’s a welcome return to Ireland; he taught there during a residency 15 years ago.

In addition to teaching, Troy will research and write a play set during the Irish War of Independence (1919-21) and will serve on a development team for a newly launched program that aims to help students build careers in cultural fields such as theatre, music, literature, and film.

“I’m delighted to anticipate a full year of rediscovering this vital city, which is the cultural and economic center of Ireland,” Troy said.

Receiving the Fulbright is a deserving honor for Troy, said Lawrence Provost and Dean of Faculty Catherine Gunther Kodat.

“Having myself enjoyed a Fulbright fellowship and then served for three years on the faculty peer review committee for Fulbright applications in Central and Eastern Europe, I know well the tremendous strengths and virtues of the Fulbright program,” she said. “These are truly transformative experiences—both for U.S. faculty and for their peers and students in the host country. And I can think of no better Lawrence ambassador than Professor Troy. This is a wonderful opportunity for Tim, and for the university as well.”

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Troy, a 1985 graduate of Lawrence, has been teaching in Lawrence’s theatre arts program since 1997 (he also taught from 1989 to 1992), with a focus on acting, directing, script analysis, and playwriting. He’s also been a key player in establishing Lawrence’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship program, which meshes well with the work he’ll be doing with Ireland’s new Creative Futures Academy (CFA)

“I hope to learn some best practices from my Irish colleagues,” Troy said. “I’ll be working with a consortium formed by the Irish government consisting of the National College of Art and Design, the Institute of Art, Design + Technology (Dun Laoghaire), and University College Dublin. CFA’s focus on preparing students to live creative lives while supporting the larger economy is a perspective I plan to bring back to Lawrence when I return.”

Meanwhile, Troy will create a new play, Writing Across the Diaspora: Exploring the Irish War of Independence for Stage and Radio, set during the Irish War of Independence and using primary research on an I.R.A. munitions expert, Daniel John Stapleton. Troy befriended the Stapleton family during his appointment as a visiting professor at the Samuel Beckett School of Drama, Trinity College Dublin, in 2005. His research will combine official records of the Irish government, various archives throughout Ireland, and Stapleton family stories, letters, and artifacts to explore Stapleton and other non-combatant contributors to the formation of the Irish Republic. 

“I met his granddaughter, Lucy, in 2005 and we’ve kept in contact ever since,” Troy said. “She shared pieces of her grandfather’s story with me on a visit to a museum exhibit commemorating the Centenary of the Easter Rising in 2016. Since then, I’ve been in contact with Lucy’s aunt, Helen, who is the ‘official’ keeper of Stapleton family history.”

Troy said he’s also excited to work alongside Ashley Taggart, who teaches screen writing and dramatic literature at UCD. The two formed a friendship in 2005 when Troy was at Trinity.

“He was instrumental in making my connection with UCD’s School of English, Drama & Film,” Troy said. “I’ll be back in the classroom with him again, after 15 years, and I’m thrilled to share his company again. Ashley grew up in Belfast, which means he has an especially full and nuanced view of Irish history and culture.

The Fulbright brings both professional and personal joy, Troy said. His family hails from Ireland, and the coming year offers a chance to further explore those connections.

Yes, in my free time, I’ll go back into some of the local history archives I visited in 2005 in Waterford City,” he said. “The Troy side of my family emigrated from County Waterford in the 19th century, first to Canada, then to the Berkshires, where my parents met and fell in love just as World War II interrupted the plans of that generation.”

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program. Since 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 400,000 participants from over 160 countries the opportunity to study, teach, and conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.