Nefertiti Burton

Department Chair, Professor, Director of Graduate Studies


Nefertiti Burton is professor and chair of the Department of Theatre Arts. She holds an MFA in Directing from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and a Research Certificate from the Community Fellows Program of Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she studied Media/Arts and Film Production.

Before becoming chair of the department Burton served as Associate Dean for International, Diversity, and Engagement Programs. For several years she was co-director of UofL’s African American Theatre Program, and during that time spearheaded the creation of the country’s first and only Graduate Certificate in African American Theatre. Burton’s teaching, directing, writing, and storytelling focus on the experiences of people of the African Diaspora. She has taught performance workshops in Senegal, Brazil, Colombia and South Africa and has performed and directed in regional theatre and off-Broadway as well as in international venues including: Adelaide, Australia; Beijing China; and Grahamstown, South Africa. Burton has led study abroad tours with students, faculty and staff to South Africa, Senegal, China, and Cuba. Five of Burton’s children’s plays inspired by Yoruba traditional beliefs have been produced in schools and theatre companies in various parts of the U.S. She has consulted for numerous arts agencies including the National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the New England Foundation for the Arts, the North Carolina Arts Council and the Kentucky Center for the Arts. Burton’s academic and creative contributions have been acknowledged with the University of Louisville’s Presidential Exemplary Multicultural Teaching Award, a Fulbright International Educator’s Award, an American Scene Award from the Association of Film, Radio, and Television Artists (AFTRA), an Audelco Award, and a Distinguished Director award from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.