Leigh Wilson Smiley

Job title: 
Director of the School
Theatre Performance
Academic Rank: 
Associate Professor
2821 Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

Leigh Wilson Smiley has been the Director of the School of Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies (TDPS) since 2013. TDPS is the feeder institution for designers, directors, performers, dramaturgs and scholars for the tri-state area.  The School is proud to have faculty who are at the top of their professions and graduates who rapidly enter the workforce either in the performing arts or as community and business entrepreneurs.  Smiley is the Producing Director for nine Main Stage dance and theater shows and five Second Season shows. Prior to assuming leadership of TDPS, Smiley served as a professor in the School and fulfilled a variety of administrative roles including Head of the first MFA in Performance cohort at TDPS, and Associate Director of Theatre for the School.  She has been nominated two times as a Philip Merrill Presidential Scholar Faculty Mentor.  Smiley has received two Creative and Performing Arts Awards for her research on the extended voice and the Visual Accent Dialect Archive. She received a Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities Fellowship, and the Foxworth Creative Enterprise Initiative Fellowship.  Smiley works as a Dialect and Voice Director for institutions such as Ford’s Theatre, Center Stage in Baltimore, Round House Theatre and continues to develop and present the Visual Accent and Dialect Archive. She is a member of Actors Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Association for Theatre in Higher Education, and the Voice and Speech Trainers Association.



B.A., Marlboro College, Vermont; Designated Linklater Voice Teacher; Training: Kristin Linklater, Richard Armstrong, Jean Rene Toussaint, Louis Colaianni, Catherine Fitzmaurice, Cecily Berry, Michael Howard, William Hickey

Areas of Specialization/Interest:

Voice, Acting, Text, Shakespeare, Speech, Dialects, Presentational Coaching

Professional Affiliations:

Screen Actors Guild (SAG), Actors Equity Association (AEA), American Federation of Television and Radio Actors (AFTRA), Voice and Speech Association (VASTA), Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE)

Representative Productions:

Voice/Dialect/Text Coaching and Direction: Cirque de Soliel, Pig Iron Theatre, The Shakespeare Theatre (WDC), Ford's Theatre, The Folger Shakespeare Theatre, Shakespeare & Company (Lenox, MA), Arena Stage, Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre, Wilma Theatre, Catalyst Theatre, Georgetown University, Catholic University, Olney Theatre, Open Eye Theatre. Performance: Dear Harvey, Coriolanus, Cassandra Project, Anna Bella Eema, Mary Stuart, Macbeth, Quills, Custom of the Country, The Winter's Tale, Two Noble Kinsmen, A Lover's Discourse, Under Milkwood, What the Butler Saw, The Miser. Film: Beloved, Twelve Monkeys, Philadelphia, Renaissance. Direction: Sandwalk; The Winter's Tale, Trojan Women - University of Maryland,Stop Kiss - University of the Arts, Cassandra Project - Capitol Fringe Festival. International Workshops in: "Shakespeare's Text into Action," "Archetypes and the Voice" (Athens, Greece and Aberystwth, Wales); "Vocal Presence with Self: A Conscious Journey through the F.M. Alexander and Linklater Voice Techniques;" Linklater Voice Workshops; Shakespeare Weekend Intensive Workshops

Representative Publications/Research Activities:

Author: "Cowboy Resonance in America," Voice & Speech Review, 2007; "The Vocal Soundscape of Trojan Women,"Voice & Speech Review, 2006

Honors and Awards:

2010 - Honored University Faculty Mentor for Philip Merrill Presidential Scholar; 2010 - Maryland Institute of Technology for the Humanities Fellowship (MITH); 2009 - Creative and Performing Arts Award (CAPA);  2006 - Creative and Performing Arts Award (CAPA); 2005 - Honored University Faculty Mentor for Philip Merrill Presidential Scholar