Melissa Shafer is a professor of theatre in the Department of Theatre and Dance at East Tennessee State University and serves as the department’s lighting designer. A native of the St. Louis metropolitan area, Melissa received her MFA in Theatre Design in 1985 from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and her BA from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. She has taught theatre at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, and Loyola University New Orleans.
Melissa is the co-author (with colleague Karen Brewster) of the book The Fundamentals of Theatrical Design: A Guide to the Basics of Scenic, Costume, and Lighting Design. Her freelance design credits include work with the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia; Manbites Dog Theatre in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; The Civic Theatre of Central Florida; The Birmingham Children's Theatre, Southern Danceworks; Milligan College; Kennesaw State University; Lambuth University; St. Louis Community College at Forest Park, and Western Nebraska College. She has also done freelance production work for such companies as The Mid-America Dance Company, The National Black Touring Circuit, and Tulane University.
Melissa serves as treasurer for the Tennessee Theatre Association and an active member of the Southeastern Theatre Conference.