Theatre and Dance

Jeannie Woods

Dr. Jeannie Woods

Professor Emerita of Theatre

Professor Woods is an actor and stage director, theatre historian, arts educator and college administrator. She earned her B.A. in Theatre from the University of Idaho, an M.A. in Theatre from Hunter College (New York), and the M.Phil. and Ph.D. in Theatre from the City University of New York. In 2003, Dr. Woods completed the Management and Leadership in Education (MLE) Program of the Harvard Graduate School of Education's Institute for Higher Education. She was Vice President for Professional Development of the Association of Theatre in Higher Education 2003-2007. Dr. Woods was a full professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance at Western for 12 years (2006-2018).

Dr. Woods has directed professional productions in New York and the Carolinas, and the Midwest, including Moon (starring Michael Cerveris) at the Cubiculo in New York City, The Fantasticks at Blowing Rock Stage Company, and The Bible, The Complete Word of God (Abridged), The Complete History of America (Abridged), All the Great Books (Abridged) and The Waiting Room for the Actors Theatre of Charlotte and Move Over, Mrs. Markham and Steel Magnolias for the Okoboji Summer Theatre.

As the founder and Artistic Director of the Starry Night Repertory Theatre, Dr. Woods has produced ten seasons and she has directed many productions and acted with the company. She portrayed Ann Landers in the one-woman show, The Lady with All the Answers, directed by WIU alum Brooke Edwards. Dr. Woods also directed and was producer for a tour to China of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) for Starry Night in a production that was invited to the 2010 Shanghai International Arts Festival and to the Centennial Theatre at Peking University.

From 1994 to 2006 she was Artistic Director of The New Stage Ensemble Theatre, a professional company in residence at Winthrop University. New Stage distinguished itself with productions on campus and touring the Carolinas, as well as highly acclaimed performances of Vincent and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) at the 1994 and 1996 Piccolo Spoleto Theatre Festival. Dr. Woods also acted for New Stage (playing Maria Callas in Master Class and the title role in Lettice and Lovage) and in theatres in New York, Idaho, and Colorado.

In 1998-99, Professor Woods was a Senior Fulbright Lecturer at the National Institute of the Arts in Taipei, Taiwan, where she taught graduate courses in acting, directing, and theatre history and directed a production of David Ives' comedy, All in the Timing. She was a guest lecturer at the American Cultural Institute in Taipei and throughout the country. As a stage director, she was a guest artist at the Shanghai Theatre Academy in 2005 and 2006. In 2006, she also created an original presentation with students at the Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakech and staged it for the Morocco in Western Art conference in Morocco. In 2004, Dr. Woods taught theatre courses on the S.S. Universe Explorer with the Semester at Sea program and circumnavigated the globe. In 2010, Dr. Woods received the Internationalizing the Campus Award from the WIU College of Fine Arts and Communication.

Dr. Woods is the author of Theatre to Change Men's Souls: The Artistry of Adrian Hall and Maureen Stapleton: A Bio-Bibliography. She is co-translator of the English script of the Chinese contemporary comedy, The Bride and Her Double by Chi Mei Wang, published in a bilingual edition in Taiwan. She has published articles on theatre and the teaching of theatre in noted theatre journals.  The Chairperson of the Department of Theatre and Dance at Western Illinois University from 2006 to 2008, Dr. Woods also previously served five years as Associate Dean for the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Winthrop University and as Chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance at Winthrop University. She is a former Director of Winthrop's Office for Effective Teaching. 

Over the last twenty-two years, Dr. Woods taught a variety of theatre courses including all levels of acting and directing, theatre history, theatre careers, and script analysis. Dr. Woods was named Winthrop's Outstanding Junior Professor of 1995.

Over the span of her long career, Dr. Woods has directed many university theatre productions, including Sense and Sensibility, As It Is in Heaven, The Tempest, I Hate Hamlet, Arabian Nights, A Flea in Her Ear, Another Antigone, Arms and the Man, As You Like It, The Boys Next Door, The Lady's Not for Burning, The Love of the Nightingale, The Madwoman of Chaillot, Memoir, Much Ado about Nothing, Noises Off, On the Verge, or the Geography of Yearning, Reckless, The School for Wives, The Sea, Tartuffe, and The Way of the World.

Dr. Woods is a member of the League of Professional Theatre Women and The Association for Theatre in Higher Education. She was a 2009 participant in the DirectorsLab of Chicago and a 2010 participant in the La MaMa International Directors Symposium in Umbria, Italy.

In May 2018, Dr. Woods was awarded the William E. Brattain Distinguished Service Award for leadership in the development of arts at WIU and the Macomb community. Upon her retirement, May 4, 2018 was proclaimed Jeannie Woods Day by Mayor Inman of Macomb.

Since her retirement, Dr. Woods has been a guest artist at Stephens College, teaching and directing a project for the 2019 Stephens Summer Theatre Institute. She is a 2019 Taiwan Fulbright Hall of Fame Laureate. In 2020 she was added to the Marquis Who's Who roster of Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award Winners.