ASU theater program welcomes new lecturer in technical direction

October 4, 2021

Arizona State University's School of Music, Dance and Theatre welcomes Heather Feeney as lecturer in technical direction to the theater program.

“I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with several recent graduates of the ASU School of Music, Dance and Theatre, and they continuously demonstrate outstanding work ethic, strong skills in their craft and a well-rounded training in theater,” Feeney said. “I am grateful to participate in their academic journey and be an ambassador for them while in school and beyond.”  Heather Feeney, a new lecturer in technical direction to the ASU theater program, said she was influenced by her dad and his constant tinkering while growing up. Download Full Image

Feeney said she was influenced by her dad and his constant tinkering while growing up. When her best friend in high school took her to the theater to help build flats, Feeney said she jumped right in and has been building and tinkering ever since. 

“Heather Feeney brings 17 years of professional industry and creative activity experience, and 11 years of teaching experience to our program,” said Heather Landes, director of the School of Music, Dance and Theatre. “We are thrilled to have attracted her to ASU and know that she will contribute greatly to our curriculum and the development of our students.”

Technical direction, often referred to as the backbone of the theater, is an essential link between what directors and designers see in their heads and the physical expression of those visions, according to the Educational Theatre Association. 

“Technical direction is one of those wonderful all-encompassing jobs where you never stop learning and exploring new ways of solving complex problems,” Feeney said.

Feeney gained professional theater experience early in her career working with PlayMakers Repertory Company, the resident professional theater company and member of the League of Resident Theatres, while pursuing her Master of Fine Arts in theater at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She was given direct access to a professional production team, which Feeney said prepared her to train students with the skills they need to be successful in professional theater. 

“My recent experience as the scenic designer and technical director of a yearlong immersive theater experience in the Valley at TheaterWorks has equipped me with the tools necessary to train our students with new and innovative methodology for theatrical success,” Feeney said.

Feeney previously held the position of technical director and educator at DeSales University. She also served as lead welder on numerous Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival productions for 10 years and worked three consecutive years for the Tony Award-winning Utah Shakespeare Festival.

Lynne MacDonald

communications specialist, School of Music


Arabic professor receives Fulbright award

ASU's Miral Mahgoub al-Tahawy will spend a year teaching and conducting research in Egypt

October 4, 2021

Arizona State University Associate Professor of Arabic Miral Mahgoub al-Tahawy will spend a year teaching and conducting research in Egypt after being named the recipient of a Fulbright U.S. Scholar award. 

Mahgoub al-Tahawy's current research project examines a mid-1990s Egyptian literary movement called “girls’ writing,” featuring works by female writers that explore women-centric issues with a strong focus on the self. Notably, these writers sought to distance themselves from feminist ideologies as well as the older female writers who preceded them.   Associate Professor of Arabic Miral Mahgoub al-Tahawy smiles in a professional headshot. She has long thick black hair and is wearing a dark shirt with a yellow scarf. Associate Professor of Arabic Miral Mahgoub al-Tahawy. Download Full Image

Mahgoub al-Tahawy will also be teaching courses including "Modern Arabic Literature in Translation" and "Arab Women’s Writing in English Translation" at the American University in Cairo. She has previously taught similar classes in the School of International Letters and Cultures at ASU and hopes to bridge teaching and research between the two universities. 

“I chose to apply for this Fulbright to Egypt because it's my home country and I have a long relationship with the university itself,” Mahgoub al-Tahawy said. “It is a place I've given many lectures, and I visit the American University in Cairo's students every time I visit.” 

This is Mahgoub al-Tahawy's second Fulbright award. Her first was as a Fulbright International Scholar at Columbia University. Now, she will be able to return to her home country and spend time at a university that has played a pivotal role in her career.  

The American University in Cairo Press has long supported the translation of Mahgoub al-Tahawy's literary work, helping her to become an international writer. Ten years ago, the university awarded her the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature, which is presented for the best contemporary novel written in Arabic that has not yet been translated into English. The winning novel is published in English worldwide. 

“I consider them a kind of collaborator in my professional career,” Mahgoub al-Tahawy said. “They have supported my work, and I am thrilled to be returning to my home country as an American scholar with something to give back to the students at the American University in Cairo.” 

Associate Professor of Arabic Souad T. Ali, the head of ASU’s Classics and Middle Eastern studies program, knows firsthand the joy and pride Mahgoub al-Tahawy is feeling. 

“As a recipient of a U.S. Fulbright Scholar award myself, I am pleased that my colleague Miral has recently also received a Fulbright award for Egypt. This is great news for our department and (the school),” Ali said.

Ali taught and conducted research at the American University in Kuwait as part of her Fulbright award. She said receiving a Fulbright award opens doors for professors to foster lifelong connections with international institutions and other scholars in their field.  

The Fulbright is not the only honor Mahgoub al-Tahawy has received this year. She also published two books and was long-listed for the Sheikh Zayed Book Award in the category Contribution to the Development of Nations. 

“For me, the last year or so has been marked with success,” Mahgoub al-Tahawy said.

Kimberly Koerth

Content Writer, School of International Letters and Cultures