Brother Augustine Towey, C.M.
Late Director Emeritus & Co-Founder of Niagara University Theatre
Brother Augustine (1937 - 2012) earned a Ph.D. in Theatre from New York University, a certificate in Shakespeare and Elizabethan Theatre from the University of Birmingham (Stratford-upon-Avon, England) and a Masters in Dramatic Literature from St. John's University (New York). Brother Augustine directed over 135 plays in the past 50 years at Niagara University and many others in professional venues such as Artpark, The Irish Classical Theatre Co., Opera Sacra, and The Irish Repertory Theatre. He wrote twelve plays for the stage and for television, including “The Guardian” for the NBC-TV network. Seven volumes of his poetry have been published, including his latest collection in 2012, “Jesus, Mary and Joseph – Pieces for the Holy Family.” A few years ago a collection of his poetry, “The Poem You Asked For,” was published and a CD recording of many of the poems was made available, featuring twenty-three Western New York actors. Brother Augustine gave poetry readings throughout the state, including several sponsored by the New York State Council on the Arts. At Artpark, where he was director for numerous stage productions for several years, he was also Associate Artistic Director for theatre programs and the director and founder of The Artpark Repertory Theatre (A.R.T.) since its inception in 1975 until 2003, at which time it was renamed The Niagara University Repertory Theatre (N.U.R.T.) He wrote and directed the opera “A Beggar's Christmas.” Artpark and Company honored him for his contributions to Artpark and the arts in Western New York by naming a chair after him. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts Degree from St. John's University and a Medal of Honor by Niagara University, both in 1989. In 1997 he was awarded the "Career Achievement Award" from ArtVoice. For thirteen years he served as a member of the Board of Trustees of St. John's University. In 2004 he was awarded a Brotherhood-Sisterhood Award from the Western New York Region of the National Conference for Community and Justice for his work in the arts. Among other honors, he received in 2006 the “Outstanding Artist Award” from the Arts Councils in Buffalo and Erie County. In 2012 he celebrated both his 75th birthday and his 50th anniversary as a Vincentian brother with family and friends. After a brief illness, he passed away on Nov. 22, 2012 -- Thanksgiving Day -- and we will forever be thankful for his extraordinary contributions and everlasting inspiration to Niagara University Theatre, its theatre studies students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the entire university community.