Douglas Sprigg

Profile Updated: February 14, 2016
Douglas Sprigg
Residing In: Leicester, VT USA
Spouse/Partner: Chela
Occupation: Retired Professor of Theatre at Middlebury College
Children: Aaron (step-son)
Grace (granddaughter, pictured above)
Clay (grandson)
Douglas Sprigg


Yes! Attending Reunion
Elementary School(s):

Pleasant Ridge Elementary



Born in Cincinnati, Ohio. Graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a BA in English Literature and a Ph.D in Theatre, Drama, and Film from the University of Michigan. While at Michigan, taught playwriting in the English Department while directing and teaching dramatic literature and theatre in an experimental program headed by drama critic J. L. Styan. During this time, directed, while they were students, such notable talents as Gilda Radner and Christine Lahti, and worked with members of the acclaimed APA Repertory Theatre.

Starting in 1975, began a thirty-three year career teaching and directing drama and theatre at Middlebury College in Vermont. For twenty of those years, was Chairman of the Department of Theatre, Dance, and Film/Video; and Director of Theatre. Directed and taught as students Amanda Plummer, Dana Morosini Reeve, Jake Weber, Kristen Connolly, Cassidy Freeman, and Jess St. Clair among other Middlebury grads who are still working in theatre, film, and TV. Some current shows: HOUSE OF CARDS, LONGMIRE, and PLAYING HOUSE.

Published articles, gave talks, and conducted workshops dealing with various aspects of actor training, Chekhov's dramaturgy, Shakespearean staging, and film. Directed professionally in Los Angeles, New York City, and, in New Jersey, as co-artistic director of an Equity stock company at the Gristmill Playhouse. Directed several productions for the Potomac Theatre Project in Washington, DC, including a staged reading of my student Dan O'Brien's play that won the National Student Playwriting Award, a play subsequently produced at the Kennedy Center.

Since 1997, directed fourteen plays for the Heritage Repertory Theatre, a professional Equity company in Charlottesville, Virginia. During a sabbatical as Visiting Scholar in Residence in the Department of Drama at the University of Virginia, directed a production of UNCLE VANYA by Anton Chekhov. In the fall of 2000, directed a production of HAMLET (using both current and former Middlebury students) as part of the celebration of the bicentennial of Middlebury College. Staged eighty.-five plays over the last forty-five years in both professional and academic settings. In 2005, was honored with an endowed chair, becoming the first faculty member to be appointed as The Isabel Mettler Professor of Theatre.

Retired from Middlebury College in 2008.

School Story:

For whatever reason, I was a terrible student at Woodward. As a teenager today, I probably would be diagnosed as ADHD.

Fortunately for me, English Teacher Bill Schreiner thought I had some potential, even though I'm sure I was a very difficult student in his class. He wrote a special letter to his beloved alma mater, The University of Michigan, that allowed me to gain conditional admission, even though my grades at Woodward were mostly Bs and Cs. Bill got me into The University of Michigan. His letter changed my life. At Michigan, I somehow discovered new motivation, and began, for the first time, to succeed academically. Although I thanked Mr. Schreiner at the time he wrote the letter, I regret never getting around to thanking him again, later in life, after I was better able to appreciate how important he had been.

It wasn't until I heard of his death, that I finally wrote a letter to his wife, asking her to thank Bill for me. For those who remember Bill Schreiner, there was a terrific piece about him in the Chicago Tribune at the time of his death:

So my "school story" is this tribute to Mr. Schreiner. Bill, you were generous beyond reason. You were larger than life. Many thanks for all the good you did as an educator. Many thanks for all the teenagers you helped during their difficult transitions into adulthood. Many thanks for helping us discover more about who we were, and who we might become. Many thanks.


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