Barbara Dusenbury’s career in theatre education spanned more than fifty years. Beginning in North Carolina in 1942, she taught theatre, speech, communications and English in schools in Florida, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. She sponsored her first Thespian troupe in 1947 while teaching in the Daytona Beach public school system. From 1951 to 1955 Ms. Dusenbury was an instructor at the University of Florida at Gainesville and served as a university liaison to Florida high schools.
She began her twenty-seven-year association with Springfield Township High School in Erdenheim, Pennsylvania in 1961. As the school’s director of theatre, she taught theatre, English, speech and communication; directed Springfield’s Thespian Troupe 1154; directed hundreds of plays; and designed the school’s theatre curriculum. She also founded a traveling children’s theatre troupe and a children’s theatre workshop staffed by her high school Thespians.
During her many years of involvement with the Thespian Society, Ms. Dusenbury hosted state conferences in Florida, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania and regional conferences in Pennsylvania; conducted Thespian workshops at state, regional and national conferences; and presented one-acts at international festivals and musicals at state and regional conferences. She served as state Thespian director for Pennsylvania from 1963 to 1973 and again from 1978 to 1980, and as regional director from 1974 to 1978.
She was elected to the board of directors in 1980, and served as assistant international director from 1984 to 1986 and as international director (the equivalent of board president) from 1986 to 1988. During her term, Ms. Dusenbury oversaw the development of the Theatre Education Association, the original launch of the Thespian Society’s professional association for theatre educators.