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Coleman A. Jennings

Teacher, administrator, director, playwright, author, producer, stage manager, Coleman A. Jennings began his professional theatre career at the New Hampshire-based Chase Barn Playhouse and in New York as an off-Broadway stage manager. Before joining The University of Texas at Austin (UT) faculty in 1963 he was the director of the Victoria, Texas, Children's Theatre, a professor at the University of Illinois and for two years the children's theatre director of the Midland Community Theatre. Jennings has both his B.F.A. and M.F.A. from UT and his doctorate from New York University and served as chair of the UT theatre department for 12 years. During his tenure he recorded notable achievements in the areas of faculty recruitment and student scholarships and helped establish the only endowed chair in Theatre for Youth in the country. He has directed over 20 productions at UT, as well as productions in Texas and Illinois and spearheaded the successful campaign to require creative drama for all Texas elementary schoolchildren. He is a former president of the Children's Theatre Association of America, past editor of the Children's Theatre Review and, in addition to The Honorable Urashima Taro, is co-author with his wife, Lola, of Braille: The Early Life of Louis Braille, Johnny Tremain and a book on creative drama. He has also edited 10 anthologies of plays for children and youth. Jennings, who holds a UT Jesse H. Jones professorship, has received a Texas Educational Theatre Association Founder's Award, is an inductee into the College of Fellows of the American Theatre and in 1997 received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Alliance for Theatre and Education.