Dr. Kelly Bremner
does not just teach theater students how to act; she teaches them how to break down the invisible walls between the stage and the audience, and between the audiences and the outside world. She encourages her students to understand they have the power to move audiences not only to reflect on what they see on the stage but to help those audiences relate to a play’s message and even to act upon it. Bremner is able to move seamlessly between theater as a narrowly defined performing art and theater as providing a set of techniques that can be applied in any situation that entails communication and collaboration.
Among her notable achievements since arriving at Emory & Henry is the development and direction of the world premiere production of “Unearthed” by Endstation Theatre Company (a professional company in Amherst, Virginia) in July 2013. Bremner had nursed this project since the summer of 2010, when a company member of Endstation asked Dr. Bremner if she could develop a regional musical for the company.
She also served as developing director for the 2010 world premiere of “Across a Distance,” a musical work that featured an equity actor, who happens to be deaf, and a world-renowned soprano. For this production she raised more than $30,000 and directed it at Emory & Henry. Bremner authored a successful $10,000 grant application through the Virginia Commission for the Arts to bring the performance and a weeklong residency to Emory & Henry in the fall of 2011. Bremner collaborated with representatives of administrative and other academic departments to use the play as a springboard for improving the quality of life for disabled people in the community.
Bremner has strengthened significantly the learning outcomes in her department. Additionally, she has significantly modernized the department’s offerings to prepare students for contemporary theater practice.
Bremner received her Ph.D. 2008 and her M.A. 2001 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She received her B.A. in music and English in 1999 from William Smith College.