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UE Theatre Professor Receives National Recognition for Excellence in Undergraduate Training in Acting

Posted: Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Amelia McClain, Assistant Professor of Theatre at the University of Evansville, has been announced as the recipient of the University Resident Theatre Association (URTA)’s 2023 Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Training in Acting. McClain been on the faculty at UE since 2018. In the Fall of 2021, McClain took leave from UE as a member of the Broadway cast in Aaron Sorkin’s TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, at the Shubert Theatre.

She received her BFA from the University of Evansville and MFA from the graduate acting program at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. McClain is a member of the Actors Equity Association and the Screen Actors Guild.

Before returning to her alma mater, she completed a year-long run on Broadway as Sandra in the smash-hit production of THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG. Also on Broadway, she worked on FOOL FOR LOVE, NOISES OFF, THE HEIDI CHRONICLES, THE HOUSE OF BLUE LEAVES, and the Tony Award-winning VANYA & SONIA & MASHA & SPIKE. McClain has been in over 20 productions off-Broadway and in regional theatres across the country.

Lillian Grace Carlson, a current UE senior, said “I have been lucky enough to work with Amelia as my Acting Professor closely these last two years. She is the one who taught me that no matter how impossible it seems, if you keep going, and keep putting in the work, the impossible is possible. When I have been at my lowest lows as a student, Amelia’s teachings continuously play in my head, and they keep me going. She has taught me what it means to be an incredibly hard-working actor, artist, and human being. I feel prepared to walk out of college because of the rigor she has taught me to endure. Truly, when I didn’t believe in myself as an actor or even a person, Amelia taught me how to refocus those insecurities into strength and determination for my art. Amelia McClain is one of the main reasons I now know why I want to be an actor and what I want in my future.” 

Jack Russell, a 2021 UE alumnus, added this tribute, “Amelia McClain taught me and my peers with strength, heart, and specificity to each of our needs. Amelia impacted me so much as a student because she led by example. The tools that she was giving to us were the very tools that she uses to book jobs on Broadway. She taught us to be selfless, aware, and precise with our work. She didn’t care about creating actors with talent, she cared about creating actors that knew how to work hard and care about the process. Truly, Amelia gave me the education I’ve always dreamed of. I am eternally grateful for her impact on my life. Without it, I don’t think I could pursue this career path.”

Founded in 1969, the University Resident Theatre Association works to ensure the continued renewal of the American theatre by supporting excellence in the professional training of new artists. The “2023 Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Training” will be formally presented at the URTAs, an audition event in which more than 1,200 candidates pursuing graduate training in theatre take part each year in January.

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