David Munnell Headshot

David Munnell

Senior Lecturer
Department of Performing Arts and Visual Culture
College of Liberal Arts

Office Location

David Munnell

Senior Lecturer
Department of Performing Arts and Visual Culture
College of Liberal Arts


BA, University of Delaware; MFA, Florida State University


David Munnell is Director of Theatre Arts and Senior Lecturer at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Delaware and an M.F.A. in Directing from Florida State University. Professor Munnell has worked consistently in professional theatre for over 30 years as an actor, director, playwright and Artistic Director. He also has nearly 25 years of teaching experience having taught at CUNY Brooklyn, SUNY Fredonia, The University of Minnesota-Guthrie Theatre BFA Program, SUNY Geneseo, and now RIT. Professor Munnell’s creative scholarship interests lie in the theory and practice of acting, and in dramatic theory as applied to acting, directing and writing. On campus, Professor Munnell has directed several productions including presentations for the 2012 Strindberg Symposium and the 2013 “From Russia With Love” Symposium. Professor Munnell recently served on President Destler’s Performing Arts Task Force and remains actively involved in the continued development of the CLA’s Theatre program and curriculum. He is currently writing a book on acting and the final draft of his fourth screenplay.

Selected Courses Offered
Introduction to Theatre
Dramatic Theory and Text Analysis
Theatre Ensemble
Theory and History of Acting
American Theatre
History and Theory of Comedy

Recent ProductionsDeath of a SalesmanActor (Willy Loman)Blackfriars TheatreProofActorBlackfriars TheatreThe Rocky Horror ShowDirectorRochester Institute of TechnologyHow I Learned to DriveDirectorRochester Institute of TechnologyThe Marriage of Bette and BooDirectorRochester Institute of TechnologyRelatively SpeakingDirectorJCC CenterStageThe Grand InquisitorDirectorRochester Institute of TechnologyAugust: Osage CountyActorJCC CenterStageLes SaltimbanquesActorIndependent Film/Price ProductionsUncle VanyaDirectorRochester Institute of TechnologyWorkingActorJCC CenterStagePlaying with FireDirectorRochester Institute of TechnologyFrog and ToadActorRochester Children’s Theatre

Currently Teaching

3 Credits
A course in Shakespeare’s drama that emphasizes the plays as potential theatre productions. Studying a selection of plays representative of the different acknowledged types of Shakespearean drama (comedy, tragedy, history, problem comedy, romance), students gain a broad understanding of the character and range of Shakespeare’s poetic-dramatic art. Experimenting with production activities such as oral interpretation, character presentation, and scene rendering, they acquire a practical appreciation of Shakespearean drama’s theatrical potency, of the original staging conventions, and of how each type of play makes particular generic demands on both performer and spectator. Augmenting the reading and expressive activities is a term research project focused on collaborative realization of a staging interpretation of selected scenes from the Shakespeare plays on the syllabus.
1 Credits
This course is designed to provide motivated students interested in technical theatre the opportunity to observe and participate in the theatre design process from conception to execution, while learning basic stagecraft skills involved in professional theatre production via an internship at a local theatre. Students will work directly with professional directors, designers and stage technicians on the production of a play from design concept to performance. The experience will allow active engagement in collaborative processes and methods commonly employed to create theatre productions. Depending upon the interests and abilities of the student, and the needs of the specific production, students may be assigned to a specific area of design stagecraft (i.e. Costumes or Scenic), or learn and engage in a more general capacity. The learning objectives of this apprenticeship are to give students an understanding of the goals and methods of design and stagecraft as critical elements in translating a play text into a fully realized artistically unified theatre expression. Students will have bi-weekly meetings with the instructor.
3 Credits
An introduction to theatre as a performing art. Students develop skills in reading, analysis and evaluation through an examination of theatre’s forms, constituent elements, and its cultural, stylistic and historical development.
3 Credits
This course examines the director’s creative process in translating a dramatic text into a theatre production. Key to this process is the need to develop deep capability in text analysis and interpretation, along with strong skills to meet the challenges brought on by the practical needs of production. Combining lecture and discussion with text analysis assignments and in-class exercises, students will learn how to approach the creation of a director’s production concept for a text, and then explore, through rehearsals and staging, the process of bringing a dramatic story to life on stage in an engaging and compelling manner. Particular emphasis will be placed on how to synthesize different elements with one another to create a coherent expression designed to elicit intellectual, emotional, and critical responses from audiences. Course will culminate with each student presenting a scene or short on-act play fully staged for peer and instructor feedback. Leadership, collaboration, presentation skills, creative problem-solving, and project management will be taught as crucial elements of the process.
1 - 12 Credits
A program of study executed by an individual student with assistance and guidance by an instructor, outside a classroom setting. Guidelines for designing and gaining approval for an independent study are provided in College of Liberal Arts Policy I.D.

Latest News

  • September 18, 2018

    An action photo of the cast performing the show "How I learned to Drive." Six people sit and stand around a dinner table while five others dressed in black stand on a raised platform behind them.

    RIT announces 2018-2019 theatrical season

    Four performances presenting an array of cultural, political and social issues are part of a new collaborative season by RIT’s College of Liberal Arts Theater Arts Program and RIT’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf performing arts program.