Kelly Bremner

Associate Professor Theater

Kelly Bremner, Department Chair, holds advanced degrees in English, Music and Theatre, including a Ph.D. in Theatre from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where her fascination with multidisciplinary spaces between music, theatre, and dance led to a dissertation focused on political utopias tied to the phenomenon of Total Theatre.

She is a specialist in musical performance, Applied Theatre, Devised Theatre, Directing and Civic Engagement through performance. 


  • University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
    Ph.D., M.A. Theatre
  • Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY


Implementing a personal, hands-on style of teaching, Bremner employs project-based course designs to “get my students applying what they are learning in a context that I hope feels like a real-world situation. I also try hard to help my students value their own story as it relates to the work in the class. I want them to bring themselves to their learning and see their leanings and their blind spots because of their stories.”

Her teaching has been twice recognized by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia in the Outstanding Faculty Awards, and by the YWCA Tribute to Woman Awards for excellence in Education.


Bremner’s scholarly interests include creative activity, and she has a passion for developing new musical works and works that connect the stage to social and civic issues.

Professional Experience

Bremner has received numerous grants to pursue her passion in creating new innovative musical performances and her work has been seen professionally in both the Midwest and the Northeast. Two new musicals have come from these endeavors, Across a Distance, which combines Deaf performance with operatic singing, and Unearthed, a work about the Blue Ridge Mountains which blends bluegrass, opera and musical theatre with local concerns and content. Both of these feature music by Scott Gendel, and book/lyrics by Nick Lantz. She is currently in development for a new musical collaborating with colleague Jeremiah Downes. Her expertise in singing-acting has been sought after by the Ryan Opera Center at the Chicago Lyric Opera. 

Contact Info

McGlothin Center for the Arts 212
Emory, VA 24327



McGlothlin Center for the Arts