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Ann M. Shanahan

Ann M. Shanahan

Professor, Directing & Performance // Rueff School of Design, Art, and Performance

Office and Contact

Room: PAO 2175


Phone: 765-494-3075

MFA, Northwestern University
BA, Residential College at the University of Michigan




Ann M. Shanahan is a scholar-artist specializing in feminist directing and pedagogy, theatre and social change, and the representations of domestic space on stage. Having directed over 50 productions, Ann writes about her own and others’ directing practice. Recent publications include Landscapes of Perception: Meredith Monk, Robert Wilson and Richard Foreman (Bloomsbury Methuen, 2021); “‘A Visor for a Visor’: Two Approaches to Staging Romeo and Juliet in a Divided Country” in Playing Shakespeare’s Tyrants and Rebels, Vol. 4, Ed. Louis Fantasia, Peter Lang (2021); “Liminal Materialisms in Teresa Deevy’s In the Cellar of My Friend and Late Plays for Radio” in Active Speech: Critical Perspectives on Teresa Deevy, Eds. Una Kealy and Kate McCarthy, Open Access Press (forthcoming); contributions to SDC Journal Special Issue on COVID-19 and Racial Justice (2020); “Making Room(s): Staging Plays about Women and Houses,” in Performing the Family Dream House: Space, Ritual and Images of Home, Eds. Emily Klein, Jen-Scott Mobley, Jill Stevenson, U of Iowa, (2019); “Teaching Maria Irene Fornés’s Fefu and Her Friends” in How to Teach a Play: Exercises for the University Classroom, Eds. Miriam Chirico and Kelly Younger, (Bloomsbury Methuen, 2019); and “Pirated Pedagogy: Re-purposing Brecht’s Performance Techniques for Revolutions in Teaching,” in New Directions in Theatre Pedagogy, Eds. Anne Fliotsos and Gail Humphries, Palgrave McMillan, (2018).

She delivered a keynote address for the conference “Active Speech: Sharing Scholarship on Teresa Deevy” in Waterford, Ireland in 2021, and has presented numerous papers on acting and directing pedagogy at the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) and Comparative Drama Conference (CDC), and on gender and performance at the National Women Studies Association (NWSA) Conference. Ann served as Focus Group Representative for the Directing Focus Group at ATHE 2014-16, and as the Vice President for Conference 2018, theme: “Theatres of Revolution: Performance, Pedagogy and Protest” ( Ann was inducted as a member of the National Theatre Conference (NTC) in 2019.

Her professional directing credits include: Sarah Ruhl’s adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, staged readings of The Marble Muse and The Wisdom of Serpents (Room(s)), Leapfest: Mine and Yours (StageLeft Theatre), Vagabond and The Turn of the Screw (City Lit Theatre), Lies and LegendsWaspWarriorThe Living, and On Golden Pond (Buffalo Theatre Ensemble) and Drums in the Night (The Brecht Company). She has directed numerous productions at the university level, including: Machinal, Romeo and Juliet, A Doll’s House, Twelfth Night, The House of Bernarda Alba, The Trojan Women, Mansfield Park (original adaptation), Hedda Gabler, Our Country’s Good, Arcadia, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Mother Courage, The Crucible, Ghosts, Fefu and Her Friends, and Abingdon Square.

Ann served as dramaturg for the national touring production of Angels in America, Parts I and II (dir. Michael Meyer), Third (dir. Sarah Gabel) and The Mistress Cycle (dir. Kurt Johns) at Appletree Theatre, for Rivendell Theatre Ensemble’s productions of Mary’s Wedding (dir. Mark Ulrich), Falling: A Wake (dir. Victoria Delorio) and The Electric Baby (dir. Tara Mallen), and for Red Twist Theatre’s production of A Delicate Balance (dir. Steve Scott).

Prior to Purdue, Ann was on the faculty at Loyola University Chicago in Theatre and Women’s Studies and Gender Studies for 20 years. Along with members of the Gender Research Seminar at Loyola, she founded Room(s) Theatre, an interdisciplinary organization devoted to performance-based research related to women, gender, and sexuality. Before beginning her academic career, Ann was a member of the Brecht Company in Ann Arbor, MI from 1987-1992 and performed internationally in Stockholm and Prague with the American Drama Group and British Festival Theatre Company.