Remembering Dorothy (Dot) Neumann, DC theater pioneer

The educator and director was closely associated with The Theatre Lab.

The DC theater community is mourning the passing of Dorothy (Dot) Neumann. A director and pioneer in DC’s early regional theater scene, Neuman died peacefully on October 23, 2023.

Neumann was most closely associated with The Theatre Lab, where she was an educator and director.

In class with Dorothy (Dot) Neumann (third from left). Photo courtesy of The Theatre Lab.

The Theatre Lab Director Buzz Mauro shared the following statement with DC Theater Arts:

The Theatre Lab lost a dear friend and member of our family this week. Dorothy (Dot) Neumann was one of our first teachers in the ’90s and remained a central teacher in our curriculum until she recently became ill.

Dot was a leading voice in women’s theater in Washington from the ’70s onward, beginning with her pioneering work at Horizons Theater Company. She went on to direct extensively at Source Theatre, Signature Theatre, Clear Space Theatre Company in Rehoboth, and many other companies, and her direction earned her multiple Helen Hayes Award nominations. Her Intro to Acting class at The Theatre Lab inspired literally hundreds of students over the years, and her many other classes, including Anyone Can Act, Explorations in Scene Study, and Creating a One-Person Show, were equally popular. One of her most beloved contributions to our curriculum was The Holocaust Project, through which she trained Theatre Lab students to use first-person testimonials to create a new work performed at Theater J in 2007. Dot’s exceptional artistic and educational spirit will continue to permeate our work, and our love and care go out to all who knew and loved her.

The Washington Post published an obituary of Neumann, noting that she was “drawn to the Washington, DC area in the early 1970s to join a cadre of artists looking to establish and nurture small professional theater.”

According to the Post, Neumann is survived by her partner of 40 years, Barbara Klein, nephew John Neumann, and niece Dawn Neumann as well as “countless others who were enriched by her passion, creativity, and determination.”

Donations in Dorothy Neumann’s honor may be made to The Theatre Lab.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here