The U of A Department of Drama has particular expertise in this area, with several directing specialists on faculty: Beau Coleman, Dr. Melanie Dreyer-Lude, David Kennedy, Jan Selman, and Kathleen Weiss. Their creative practices cover a broad range of processes, methodologies and aesthetic preferences. As well, every year, visiting directors augment the faculty directors.

Key Contacts:

Beau ColemanBeau COLEMAN

Research encompasses the mediums of theatre, live art, digital media, installation and site-specific performance. Her artistic practice is one of continual movement between the various art forms, seeking ways in which to dissolve the borders between. There exists in all her works a sense of performance and presence, whether or not a performer is actually present. Themes of isolation, suspension, identity, memory and intimacy are interrogated through the use of distillation, rhythm, time and space.

Primary Teaching Areas: MFA Directing, BFA and BA Acting, Performer-Created Theatre. Graduate Seminars in Intercultural Theatre, Performance Studies. Graduate Supervision.

Melanie Dreyer-LudeDr. Melanie Dreyer-Lude

Specializes in international theatre collaboration and multi-lingual performance. Directs and acts professionally and translates contemporary German plays into American English. Regularly teaches workshops on research communication to a variety of disciplines. Currently investigating the impact of neoliberal policies on arts education.

Primary Teaching Areas: Acting, Directing, Research Communication, Empathy


David KennedyDavid KENNEDY

A director and artistic producer with wide experience in the not-for-profit regional theatre. Specializes in re-imagining the classics and the modern canon in production. Also has a considerable background in the creation of works of devised performance.

Primary teaching areas: MFA Directing, BFA Acting, Performer Created Theatre, Graduate Seminars in Dramatic Structure and Playwriting and Performance on the Contemporary American Stage


Jean O'HaraDr. Jean O'HARA

A theatre director with research and practice areas in multicultural theatre, devised theatre, social justice theatre, gender performance, Two-Spirit/Indigenous theatre and queer theatre/performance.

Primary Teaching Areas: directing, acting, performer creator theatre, physical theatre, performance studies, critical theory of the intersection of race, gender, sexuality (dis)abilities, and class in performance and theatre literature.


 Jan SelmanJan SELMAN

Directs contemporary and original theatrical work. Also a dramaturge and director of new theatre and performance, working with playwrights and theatre teams. Specializes in participatory and community-based theatre, as a facilitator and director, and publishes based on this long standing practice.

Primary Teaching Areas: Directing, Performer-Created Theatre, BFA Acting. Graduate Seminars in Directing, Community-Based Theatre. Graduate Supervision.


Kathleen WeissKathleen WEISS

Develops innovative performance techniques that reveal character through extended imagery. Explores a performance language that emphasizes the physical playing of the actor moving in space, in varied kinds of audience relationship.

Primary Teaching Areas: Directing, BFA acting, Performer-Created Theatre. Graduate Seminars in Directing, New Play Dramaturgy, Emergence of the Director. Graduate Supervision.