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Gillian McNally

Gillian McNally

Professor of Theatre Education

School of Theatre Arts and Dance
College of Performing and Visual Arts

Contact Information

(970) 351-2597
Crabbe 303


  • M.F.A in Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities, University of Texas at Austin
  • B.F.A in Acting, Webster Conservatory

Professional/Academic Experience

  • Professor of Theatre Education, University of Northern Colorado
  • Current National Conference Chair
  • American Alliance for Theatre in Education, 2014
  • Resident Teaching Artist, People's Light and Theatre, 2002-2006
  • Academic Advisor, TRIO program, Colorado State University 2006
  • Adjunct Instructor: Temple University, Arcadia University, West Chester University, University of Denver
  • Registrar and Teaching Artist, Denver Center for the Performing Arts
  • Teaching Artist, Goodman Theatre

Other Experience

  • National Professional Development trainer for teachers. Locations: Denver Public Schools, Boston Public Schools, University of Texas at Austin, University of Denver, Weber State University, 

Research/Areas of Interest

  • Theatre for the Very Young
  • Community Engagement
  • Theatre for Young Audiences
  • Applied Theatre
  • Creative Drama
  • Youth Theatre

Publications/Creative Works

McNally, Gillian. McNally, G., Rutter, A. “Can Theatre for the Very Young Dare to Talk About Prejudice and Inclusion?” ArtsPraxis, 8(2), 1-17. https://sites.google.com/nyu.edu/ artspraxis/2021/volume-8-issue-2/mcnally-rutter-can-theatre-for-the-very-young-dare

___. “When The Publisher Won’t Let You Check Out Tomás and the Library Lady:
The Role of Institutionalized Racism in TYA,” Incite/Insight: American Alliance for Theatre in Education. Summer edition. 2019.

____. “The Future of Collaboration: TYA co-commissions and co-productions,” TYA Today. Spring edition, 2017. Print.
____. “Colorado Content Standards for Drama and Theatre.” (Committee Member) Colorado Department of Education. 2018. Print.

____. “Breaking the Borders of Geography and Low Expectations.” Youth Theatre Journal. 29:138–145, November, 2015. Print.
____. “Holding Tight to a Process-Centered Philosophy in a Product-Oriented World.” The Reflexive Teaching Artist: Collected Wisdom from the Drama/Theatre Field. Eds. Kathryn Dawson and Daniel Kelin. Wilmington: Intellect Books, 2014. Print.
_____. “Arts Curriculum Project.” Middle School Drama and Theatre Curriculum. Colorado Department of Education. 2012. Print.
_____. “Fantasy Toward a Greater Understanding of Reality.” Feature article. Incite/Insight 3.5. American Alliance for Theatre and Education. Web. Jan. 2012.
_____. “Creative Spaces: Arts Integration with a Social Justice Focus. Summer Pre-Collegiate Arts Program for Middle and High School Students.” Signs of Change New Directions in Secondary Theatre Education. 2nd ed. Comp. Joan Lazarus. Portsmouth: Heinemann, 2012. Print.
_____. “Grad School is for Life-long Learners!” Theatre for Young Audiences USA Blog. Web. Nov. 2011.
_____. “Creative Drama: The Ultimate Transformative Experience.” Program notes. Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. Oct. 2011. Print.
_____. “The Arch-Nemesis to Bilingual Theatre for Young Audiences: ‘Downtown.’” Theatre for Young Audiences USA Newsletter. Web. 2011.
_____. “The Urgency of Now: Arts, Education and the 21st Century Workforce.” Incite/Insight, American Alliance for Theatre and Education. Web. Feb. 2011.
_____. “Developing the Socially Responsible Theatre Teacher.” Incite/Insight, American Alliance for Theatre and Education. Web. 6 Feb. 2010.
_____. “Representing Difference: Crucial Dialogue for the Field, Across the Miles that Separate Us.” Theatre for Young Audiences USA Nextblog. Web. 2010.
_____ et al. “Colorado Academic Standards: Drama and Theatre Arts.” Colorado pre-K-12 content standards in theatre. Denver: Colorado Department of Education, 2009. Print.
_____. “Ann Shaw Fellows: Inspiration Leads to Forging New Paths.” Theatre for Young Audiences Today 22.1 (2008): Print.
_____. “Empowering Ophelia: Developing Critical Awareness of Gender Issues In Youth Theatre Rehearsals.” Stage of the Art 18.2 (2007): 5+. Print.
_____ et al. “Standards-Based Theatre Curriculum.” Philadelphia: Philadelphia School District, 2004. Print.
_____. “Creating Quality Professional Development.” NEXT: International Association for Theatre for Children and Young People USA 2. Web. 2004.
_____. Lesson plans and program description. Listed in "Best Practice in Theatre Education Outside the Box." Signs of Change: New Directions in Secondary Theatre Education, Comp. Joan Lazarus, Portsmouth: Heinemann, 2004. Print.
_____. “Empowering Ophelia: Feminist Theatre Principles in Devising and Directing Youth Theatre.” Master’s Thesis. Austin: The University of Texas at Austin, 2002. Print.
_____. “Reassuming Assumptions: Pedagogy for Gender Fair Classrooms Using Creative Drama.” Stage of the Art (2001): Print.

• Community Engagement & Productions: Producer of Ferguson Project, Unity Theatre (Black student ensemble), performed at American College Theatre Festival. Ellensburg, WA. (2015). Community engagement coordinator and Producer for Akeelan and the Bee (2022), Blue (2021), Luna (2018), Jackie and Me (2014), A Year with Frog and Toad (2013), Jungalbook (2012), Fairy Tale Project (2011), El Viaje de Beatriz (2010), and Tomato Plant Girl (2008). Director of Holes (2009) and ¡Bocón! (2007). Mentored students to tour TYA plays to Title One schools in Denver and Northern Colorado. Each production performed for 1,500 to 5,000 students. Schools received a pre- and post-show workshop and study guide to highlight themes of plays.

Honors and Awards

  • 2018 Drama Teachers Honor Roll, Children's Theatre Foundation of America. 
  • 2013 & 2014 Favorite Professor Award, Mortar Board, UNC          
  • 2016 Nominated for: Ann Flagg Multicultural Award, American Alliance for Theatre in Education
  • 2014 First Year’s Scholars Award. Center for UNC’s Honors, Scholars and Leadership
  • 2011Higher Education Theatre Educator of the Year Award, Alliance for Colorado Theatre
  • 2011 Engaged Scholarship and Partnership Award, UNC’s Center for Honors, Scholars, and Leadership
  • 2009 Honored Faculty Member, Center for Human Enrichment (First Generation Students)
  • 2009 Outstanding Professo, Delta Zeta Sorority
  • 2009, 2012 & 2013 Honored Faculty, High Achieving Freshmen, Residence Hall Association
  • 2008 Professor of the Month, Student Representative Council at UNC 
  • 2007 Cambridge Who’s Who Among Executive and Professional Women Honors Edition  
  • 2005 Educator 500 Award, Institute of Educational Excellence of West Chester University
  • 2004 Ann Shaw Fellowship, Theatre for Young Audiences USA