Profile: Wayne and Jo Durst
When you watch a play on the MSU campus, chances are Wayne and Jo Durst had a hand in making it happen.
The Dursts have been fixtures in the communication department at MSU since 1978. Wayne Durst teaches the technical aspects of theatre, such as stagecraft and lighting, while his wife teaches acting and directing.
Wayne and Jo help the theatre program put together four fully-realized productions each year at the university, including a classic and a comedy. They like to say that nobody does theatre by themselves; the faculty, staff and students involved in the productions are all committed.
"We love to do it and we love working with the students. It's nice to work at a university that recognizes art, music and theatre," Jo said.
Before moving to Starkville, the couple worked in professional theatre for several years. Jo won several awards for costume design during this time. The Dursts recently received the Mississippi Theatre Association's 2012 Cowboy Maloney Award in recognition of just how much the couple has given to theatre in the state.
"Theatre is just in your blood. It's a passion, and we've been fortunate to be able to pursue it on our own terms," Jo said.
With his knowledge of the technical aspects of theatre, Wayne has even contributed to the design of four theatres, including the one in McComas Hall.
The two met during graduate school at Idaho State University, and have two children, both of whom are MSU graduates, as well as two grandchildren. While they both keep busy schedules, Wayne and Jo Durst always make time to eat together for every meal.
"We are best friends and enjoy working together. We have learned to tolerate and accept each other throughout the years," Wayne said.
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