Laura S. Byland
School of the Arts
Department of Theatre and Dance

Laura Byland is a Professor of Theatre and Director of the Theatre for Youth program at Samford University in Birmingham, AL. She is actively engaged in professional theatre being the founding Executive Director of The Scissortail Children’s Theatre, directing productions at Birmingham Children’s Theatre and The Virginia Samford Theatre, and directing Theatre for Youth productions at Samford.  She has developed outreach activities for local, state-wide, and international groups, using theatre as the basis for developing school curriculum and ministry activities. Laura is also an active member of several national theatre associations and holds or has held leadership roles in many of them over the years.  She is currently the Vice Chair of the Theatre for Youth Division of the Southeastern Theatre Conference. Laura also volunteers as a drama teacher working with physically and intellectually disabled adults and has developed the first theatre company in Birmingham dedicated to giving those with disabilities the opportunity to perform. Laura firmly believes “theatre changes lives” and is committed to being a part of that change.

Degrees and Certifications

  • MFA, University of Oklahoma
  • MA, Oklahoma State University
  • BA, Hiram College


  • Theatre for Youth
  • Acting and Directing
  • Curriculum Development
  • Theatre for Youth Literature
  • Theatre as Therapy
  • Creative Drama and Storytelling
  • Theatrical Makeup

Awards and Honors

  • KC-ACTF Distinguished Achievement in Directing: As It Is In Heaven
  • KC-ACTF Outstanding Achievement in Scenic and Lighting Design: As It Is In Heaven
  • KC-ACTF Outstanding Achievement Scenic Design: A Streetcar Named Desire
  • Oklahoma Speech/Theatre Association Outstanding Young College Teacher


  • Director, The Jungle Book, performed at the SETC Theatre for Youth Festival, 2018
  • Developing Play Guides: Enhancing TY Experience Through Effective Engagement 2017
  • The Journey to Tenure: Navigating the Diverse Approaches to a Successful Landing 2016