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New Berry theatre director awarded Fulbright grant

July 20, 2021–8:36 p.m.


A new Berry College faculty member is one of three U.S. scholars who have been awarded the Fulbright Finland Foundation’s new strategic grant.

The inaugural recipients of the Seeking Solutions for Global Challenges Award are Berry College Associate Professor and Theatre Director Peter Friedrich, University of Maryland Associate Professor Lora Harris, and George Washington University Professor Steven Livingston.

The Fulbright Finland Foundation is a not-for-profit organization based in Helsinki, Finland. With the purpose of promoting a wider exchange of knowledge and professional talents through educational contacts between Finland and the United States, the foundation collaborates with a range of government, foundation, university and corporate partners to design and manage study and research scholarships, leadership development programs and internationalization services.

Friedrich will be hosted in 2022 by Åbo Akademi University in Turku, Finland, and his project will use theatre to broker partnerships between college students and members of migrant communities.

He was recently hired at Berry as the new Director of Theatre and will begin in August.

“The Fulbright was about bringing the best skills I have together to help others, and I see reflections of that all over Berry,” Friedrich said. “You can have a passion to help, sure, but it takes more than passion to make it real. You need an armory of skills, and the confidence to use them, earned by putting in the daily work. I have seen that spirit with the students here from the first day I met them, and they make it a particular honor to be brought into the Berry family.”

Friedrich holds a master’s degree in fine arts from American Conservatory Theater and a bachelor’s degree in English from Santa Clara University. From 2008 to 2013, he served as the head of drama and film at the American University of Iraq and artistic director of Shakespeare Iraq. In 2013, he was a University of North Carolina Chapel Hill scholar-in-residence and visiting lecturer.

Most recently from 2014 to 2021, he served as associate professor and director of theatre at Millsaps College as well as artistic director for Powerful Minds Theatre Company at the US Penitentiary in Mississippi. Also a veteran performer and improviser, he played the titular role in the 2019 New York revival of “The Curious Case of the Watson Intelligence” by Madeline George.

The Fulbright award was created by the Board of Directors of the Fulbright Finland Foundation in 2019 to support the Foundation’s vision to “empower the minds that will find global solutions to tomorrow’s challenges.” The focus of the award is broadly aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Selected scholars can represent a wide range of academic disciplines.