David W. Weiss
David W. Weiss holds the title of Professor Emeritus at the University of Virginia where he taught for thirty-seven years, including a total of sixteen years as Drama Department chair. Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he took his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After two years at Montana State University in Missoula, David entered the doctoral program at the University of Utah but accepted a position at Virginia in 1954 before completing the degree. In 1960 he entered the doctoral program at Indiana University and eventually concluded his studies for the degree in 1965 with a dissertation on the work of noted scene designer Jo Mielziner.
David’s primary career focus has been scenery and lighting design. At the University of Virginia he designed more than 150 productions and directed over thirty. During his tenure as chair David established a Master of Fine Arts program, saw to the completion of a two theatre home for the Drama Department, opened in 1974, and co-founded the Heritage Repertory Theatre, also in 1974. David has also designed eighteen outdoor historical dramas and has been active with the Institute of Outdoor Drama since its beginnings, now serving as a consultant to that organization.
A founding member of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, David remains active in the US Institute for Theatre Technology as well as the Southeastern Theatre Conference of which he is a past president. David is a member and past Trustee of the National Theatre Conference and is a Fellow of the American Theatre.
In 1995 Region IV of the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival honored David by presenting him with a Kennedy Center Medallion for his continuing work and interest in ACTF; on that occasion the design awards presented annually to students in the states comprising ACTF Region IV were declared the David W. Weiss Awards for Excellence in Design.
Though now retired from teaching full time, David has had an active career as a consultant to architects designing theatres and amphitheatres throughout the United States. He continues to serve as a guest designer and occasionally offers master classes in scenery and stage lighting design.