Coleman A Jennings, theatre director, professor and former chair of the Theatre and Dance Department at The University of Texas in Austin, died on October 28, 2020. He was born on November 21, l933 in Granger, Texas. Joining the UT faculty in 1963, he
taught and directed plays for young audiences for over fifty years. He discovered his passion for theatre and story-telling as a youth: hearing bedtime stories from his father about Cowboy Slim Jim; seeing traveling tent shows in the summer in Taylor,
Texas; making movies with family members and neighborhood children; seeing a UT production about the Brontes that toured the state to perform in Texas high schools; shooting a film as a senior at Taylor High School and attending touring road shows from
New York that performed in Congress Avenue theatres in Austin. After earning an associate's degree from Temple Junior College and serving in the US Army Signal Corps, Jennings enrolled as an undergraduate in the Department of Drama at UT in 1955. After
graduation he worked as a stage manager in several off-Broadway theatres in New York. Deciding to teach in college, he returned to UT to pursue a Master of Fine Arts in directing and years later he was awarded a Doctorate of Education from New York
University. In 1962, he was invited to join the UT drama faculty where he remained until his retirement in 2018. He served as chairman of the department (now the Department of Theatre and Dance) for twelve years from 1980 to 1992. He directed more than
20 plays for youth that were either performed on campus or were toured to area elementary schools...
* Learning Partners: Reading and Creative Dynamics, Texas Education Agency, 1976.
* (Author of biography and play analyses) Six Plays for Children by Aurand Harris, foreword by Lowell Swortzell, University of Texas Press (Austin, TX), 1977.
* (With Lola H. Jennings) Creative Drama in the Elementary School, Texas Education Agency, 1978.
* The Honorable Urashima Taro, Dramatic Publishing (Chicago, IL), 1972, revised edition, 2001.
* (With Lola Jennings) Braille: The Early Life of Louis Braille, Dramatic Publishing (Woodstock, IL), 1989.
* (With Lola Jennings) Johnny Tremain (adapted from the novel by Esther Forbes), Dramatic Publishing (Woodstock, IL), 1992.
EDITOR OF ANTHOLOGIES
* (With Aurand Harris) Plays Children Love: A Treasury of Contemporary and Classic Plays for Children, foreword by Mary Martin, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1981.
* (With Gretta Berghammer) Theatre for Youth: Twelve Plays with Mature Themes, foreword by Jed Davis, University of Texas Press (Austin, TX), 1986.
* (With Aurand Harris) Plays Children Love, Volume II: A Treasury of Twenty Contemporary and Classic Plays for Children, foreword by Carol Channing, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1987.
* Theatre for Young Audiences: 20 Great Plays for Children, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1998.
* Eight Plays for Children: The New Generation Play Project, University of Texas Press (Austin, TX), 1999.
"...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..."
(16:45 minute tribute video from 3 years ago - btw, the song "Just One Person" is from the musical "Snoopy!")