Mr. Keith Martin

  • M.F.A in Communications and Theatre (Directing) - UNC-Greensboro
  • B.F.A. in Communications and Theatre (Performance) - UNC-Greensboro

Keith Martin is the John M. Blackburn Distinguished Professor of Theatre, a fully-tenured, permanently-endowed professorship designed to attract and retain exceptional faculty to Appalachian State University.  

Martin's career in the not-for-profit sector spans over 35 years and includes producing, artistic direction, choreography, and management in professional theatre, dance, opera, symphony, film and television, for which he received an Emmy® award in 2010. Martin's 425-plus stage credits include direct work with such renowned artists as Academy award winner Olympia Dukakis; Pulitzer Prize recipients Beth Henley and Tony Kushner; producer Joseph Papp; performers Dixie Carter, Faith Ford, Sharon Lawrence, Telly Savalas, and Burt Reynolds; Tony Award-winners Bonnie Franklin and Beth Leavel; and Emmy Award-winner Doris Roberts.

As Managing Director of Richmond Ballet, The State Ballet of Virginia (2005-11), he guided their successful New York debut at the famed Joyce Theatre and three subsequent return engagements to NYC. For 25 years, Martin was a resource consultant with ARTS Action Research of Brooklyn, NY and Portland, OR. He was registered lobbyist for ARTS North Carolina, a statewide advocacy organization, and served as their legislative strategist. For twelve seasons (1990-2001), Martin was Producer and Managing Director of Charlotte Repertory Theatre (LORT) and has held the positions of Artistic Director of Theatre Charlotte, Executive Director of Community Theatre of Greensboro and Administrative Director of A Company of Players.

Martin holds both B.F.A. (magna cum laude) and M.F.A. theatre degrees from UNC-Greensboro, and has lectured at numerous academic institutions including Duke University, UNC-Chapel Hill, Wake Forest University, College of Charleston, University of Alabama, and the Yale School of Drama. The Johns Hopkins University Press published Martin's writings on advocacy and grassroots activism. Martin received the 2001 Service Award from the Educational Theatre Association and a 2004 Outstanding Teacher Recognition Award from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. Martin has adjudicated theatre festivals on the state, regional and national level for over 30 years.

With a client base in over two-dozen states, Martin has been a paid consultant, grants panelist, and/or site evaluator for six state arts councils and served in similar capacities for the William Penn Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, Dance Advance, and the Philadelphia Theatre Initiative.

A lifelong activist and arts advocate, Martin served with distinction on the state boards of the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts and the American Civil Liberties Union. He is Past President of the North Carolina Theatre Conference, receiving three awards for service to the field, and twice was elected to the Board of the Southeastern Theatre Conference, first as NC state representative and then as Professional Theatre Division Chair. Nationally, he was elected to the Executive Committee of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT), participating in collective bargaining negotiations with both Actors' Equity Association (AEA) and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC). Martin completed two terms as an Endowment Fund Trustee for the American Association of Community Theatres (AACT), for whom he co-chaired their record breaking national conference, AACTFest '07 Charlotte.

Other affiliations and accomplishments include:

  • Graduate, Leadership Training Program, The National Arts Stabilization Fund
  • Graduate, Friday Fellowship in Human Relations, Wildacres Leadership Initiative
  • Specialty courses include Arts Administration, Musical Theatre, and Stage Direction
  • Member, Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers (SDC)
Title: John M. Blackburn Distinguished Professor of Theatre
Department: Theatre and Dance

Email address: Email me

Phone: (828) 262-8179