The University of Evansville Department of Theatre announces the hiring of Amelia McClain as an Assistant Professor of Acting and Wes Grantom as Resident Director. McClain and Grantom, both members of the 2003 UE Theatre class, were in residence as visiting guest artists during the 2019–20 academic year.
A 2006 graduate of New York University’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts, McClain has an MFA in Acting and will teach all levels of acting at UE, including senior-level audition techniques, as well as direct two productions in the 2019–2020 performance season. McClain was in residence this past year after a year-long run as Sandra in Broadway’s smash-hit production of The Play That Goes Wrong. On Broadway, she also worked on Fool for Love, Noises Off, The Heidi Chronicles, The House of Blue Leaves, and the Tony Award-winning Vanya, Sonia, Masha & Spike. She has also been in over 20 productions off-Broadway and in regional theatres across the country, including Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, San Diego’s The Old Globe, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, and Merrimack Repertory Theatre. Her favorite regional theatre productions include October/November at Ensemble Stage Theatre in New York, Brooke in Noises Off at Arena Stage in Washington, DC, and Juliet in Romeo and Juliet at the Pioneer Theatre Company in Utah. McClain is a member of the Actors Equity Association.
Grantom will teach beginning and advanced directing classes and direct the musical next season. This past year at UE, he directed Spring Awakening, and, in 2011, he guest-directed Once In A Lifetime in Shanklin Theatre. His professional credits include the world premiere of Civics and Humanities for Non-Majors, The Lion in Winter and A Comedy of Tenors at Pioneer Theatre Company; Toxic Avenger: The Musical at Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera; Lone Star Spirits with Crowded Outlet; Eager to Lose, by Matthew-Lee Erlbach, at Ars Nova; The Steadfast, by Mat Smart, and Mine, by Bekah Brunstetter, for Slant Theatre Project. Grantom’s upcoming professional projects include beep boop in Scotland’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Lifespan of a Fact at Utah’s Pioneer Theatre Company. Grantom has also worked at Roundabout Theatre Company, Williamstown Theatre Festival, the Atlantic, Asolo Rep, the New Harmony Project, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Alley Theatre, Premiere Stages, and TheatreSquared. He has a number of Broadway credits as resident and associate director, working alongside theatre luminaries, such as James Lapine, Emma Rice, John Rando, Anthony Page, and Rufus Norris. He is a recipient of multiple Drama League Fellowships, a member of Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, and the Artistic Director of Crowded Outlet based in Queens, NY. Grantom is a member of the theatrical union Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.
UE Department of Theatre Chair Eric Renschler says, “We are very excited to welcome Amelia and Wes back to Evansville. Their extensive professional experience will be invaluable to the success of our students both on campus and as they begin their own professional careers upon graduation.” He also notes that the couple joins other Broadway veterans on the faculty and will continue UE Theatre’s core mission of educating future professionals.
For over fifty years, UE Theatre has garnered a national reputation for the education and training of theatre artists who have gone on to have success in all fields of the entertainment industry. Notable performance alumni of the program include: Academy Award-winning actor Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody), Carrie Preston (Claws), Rutina Wesley (Queen Sugar), Nathan Darrow (Gotham), Deirdre Lovejoy (The Wire), Bill Heck (The Ballad of Buster Scruggs), Shane McRae (Sneaky Pete), Toby Onwumere (Empire), and Kelli Giddish (Law & Order SVU). To learn more about UE Theatre, go to www.evansville.edu, follow them on Facebook @uetheatre, or to be added to the season production mailing list, call the office at 812-488-2744.