Ann M. Shanahan

Ann M. Shanahan

Chair // Rueff School // Theatre

Associate Professor, Directing // Rueff School // Theatre

Chair and Associate Professor // Rueff School of Design, Art, and Performance

Office and Contact

Room: PAO 2165C


Phone: 765-494-3081

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




Professor Shanahan's research interests and teaching specialties include directing, gender and theatrical space, and theatre and social change. A scholar-artist, her recent publications include essays on directing practice written as the founding co-editor of the Peer-Reviewed Section of the SDC Journal, the official publication of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. She is the editor of Landscapes of Consciousness: Meredith Monk, Robert Wilson and Richard Foreman, the 6th volume in a new series, Great North American Theatre Directors (Bloomsbury Methuen, 2020 forthcoming). Her scholarship is published in Theatre Journal, Text and Presentation, and Theatre Topics, and in anthologies, including: “Making Room(s): Staging Plays about Women and Houses” in Performing the Dream House: Space, Ritual and Images of Home, Eds. Emily Klein, Jen-Scott Mobley, and Jill Stevenson (Palgrave, 2019); “Pirated Pedagogy: Re-purposing Brecht’s Performance Techniques for Revolutions in Teaching” in New Directions in Teaching Theatre Arts, Eds. Anne Fliotsos and Gail Humphries (Palgrave, 2018); and “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 forthcoming).

Professor Shanahan 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. She 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” (

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 Legends, Wasp, Warrior, The Living, and On Golden Pond (Buffalo Theatre Ensemble) and Drums in the Night (The Brecht Company). Shanahan 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.

Professor Shanahan 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).

Along with members of the Gender Research Seminar at Loyola University Chicago, she is a founder of Room(s). Named for the central metaphor of Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, Room(s) provides spaces for interdisciplinary performance-based research related to women, gender, and sexuality. Prior to beginning her academic career, Shanahan 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. 

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