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Gail Mardirosian

Associate Professor Emerita Department of Performing Arts

Gail Humphries Mardirosian focuses on the arts in the international arena and has been a Fulbright Senior Scholar to Prague, CZ and a Likhachev Fellow to St. Petersburg, Russia. She has also guest lectured in Sweden, Greece, and Slovakia. She was recently invested into the College of Fellows of the American Theatre at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. Her research in arts education will be captured in an upcoming book entitled Arts Integration in Education: Teachers as Agents of Change. Recent and past awards include the University Award for Outstanding Service, the Alpha Chi Omega Award and College of Arts and Science Award for Outstanding teaching. Directing includes 134 productions to date including dramas, musicals, children’s theatre, new works and the classics.


PhD, Education
MA, Theatre
BA, History and Theatre

Languages Spoken
French (basic)
Contact Info
(202) 885-3880 (Office)

Send email to Gail Mardirosian

For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.
See Also
Performing Arts Department

Partnerships & Affiliations

  • Association for Theatre in Higher Education

    Vice President

  • National Society of Arts and Letters

    Board Member

  • Coalition for Theatre Education

    Executive Committee

  • American College Theatre Festival

    Region II Directing Task Force

  • American Alliance for Theatre Education


Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Research Interests

  • The arts and international education for global citizenry
  • Arts education across the curriculum for enhanced teacher effectiveness, student achievement and parental involvement
  • The interface of Theatre and psychology

Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

  • Fulbright Senior Scholar Award, Academy of Performing Arts, Prague, CZ 2009
  • University Service Award, American University 2008
  • Alpha Chi Omega Award, Outstanding Teaching in the Arts 2008
  • American College Theatre Festival, Region II, selections in multiple years
  • Honoree, Outstanding Contribution to the Arts for Children, Founder’s Award, Imagination Stage, 2006

Professional Presentations

  • Artistic Entrepreneurship (House of Sweden)
  • In Search of Shakespeare: Performing and Understanding the Bard (Florida Association of Theatre Education)
  • No Teacher Left Behind: Teach to Reach (Brown University)
  • Project ARTS: American Russian Theatre Symposium (World Russian  Forum)
  • Theatre at the Core of Educational Reform: Arts-based Teaching and Learning Across the Curriculum  (New England Theatre Conference)
  • The Katrina Project (Association for Theatre in Higher Education)
  • The Imagination Quest Model  for teacher training  (University of New Hampshire)
  • Keynote Addresses, The Quest for Social Justice in Education, Title II Grant, Systemic Gifted and Talented Program (Loyola Conference Center, Baltimore City Schools)
  • Acting from Within (TVI, Los Angeles, California)
  • Literacy Learning through Arts-based Teaching (American Reading Forum)

Selected Publications

  •  “Teaching to Reach All Children,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, to be published 2009. "
  • Czech Connections: Chekhov’s Three Sisters Revisited,” Czechoslovak Arts and Letters World Congress, September 2008. 
  • “Transforming the Classroom Teacher into a Teaching Artist,” Teaching Artist Journal, Vol. 5, no.2, summer, 2007.
  • “The Quest to Captivate Hearts and Minds in the Classroom: Teaching to reach and foster giftedness in all children,” e-article,, 2006.  2007.
  • “Another Voicing of the Silenced Theatre of Josef Topol,” Czechoslovak Arts and Letters World Congress, July 2006.
  • “Parallel Power: Periklean Athens and Antigone: from page to stage at American University, Hellenic Ministry of Culture, European Cultural Centre of Delphi Greece, YEAR OF PERICLES, YEAR OF DEMOCRACY, June, 2005.
  • “Literacy Learning for At-risk Students through Arts-based Instruction,” INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF LEARNING: VOL.10, 2003. “Imagination Quest: an arts-based teaching/learning model,” commissioned paper, U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, 2002. “Arts Advocacy Roundtable,” THEATRE TOPICS, VOL. 11, NO. 1 March, 2001.   “The Psychology of Theatre/ The Theatre of Psychology,” TEACHING OF PSYCHOLOGY: VOL. 26, NO. 3, 1999.


  •  Over 70 special events in venues ranging from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the National Press Club, Ford’s Theatre, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, U.S. Treasury Department, Fenwick Art Gallery, Cosmos Club Over 100 productions in academic and professional theatres from new works to serious drama, the classics, musicals and children’s theatre; directing at American included the development of Project ARTS.
  • American Russian Theatre Symposium and touring student production to Russian State Academic Volkov Theatre,Yaroslavl, Russia

Grants and Sponsored Research

  • Fowler Foundation
  • Freddie Mac Foundation
  • Lockheed-Martin Corporation
  • Gilbert and Jaylee Mead Family Trust Foundation
  • National Endowment for the Arts
  • University of New Hampshire President’s Excellence Fund (2005-2009)
  • U.S. Department of Education
  • VSA Arts
  • Webber Family Trust Foundation
  • 21st Century Learning Grant, Communities in the Schools

Executive Experience

  •  Imagination Stage, Bethesda, MD  (1996-current) Designed multi-million dollar business plan for education in new professional children’s theatre and community arts center; founded and continue as team leader for Imagination Quest (IQ), an evidence-based model for learning through arts-based instruction
  • Central California School of Ballet, Modesto, CA (1997-98) Focused on the development of instruction that synthesized dance and theatre dance instruction
  • Columbia Center for Theatrical Studies, Columbia, MD (2003-2007) Developed and implemented research design for grant awarded from National Endowment for the Arts Georgia College & State University, Milledgeville, GA (2008) Participated in internationalization grant, developing and implementing a Think Tank entitled “Understanding and Inspiring Global Citizens Who Want to Shape Tomorrow’s World.”
  • Hollywood Culture and Arts Center, Hollywood, Florida  (2002) Focused on developing programming for visual and performing arts
  • Mercersburg Academy, Mercersburg, PA (2004) Participated on arts evaluation team viewing curriculum in light of newly planned performing arts facilities   Merced College, Merced, CA (1998)

Work In Progress

  • Developing project entitled VOICES OF TEREZIN, to be presented as a performing in Prague, CZ on site at Terezin and in Washington, DC.
  • Developing presentations on the arts and education in international arenas for Charles University, Prague, CZ and for the University of Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Continuing work on arts education book Exceptional Teaching, Exceptional Learning

AU Expert

Area of Expertise: Directing, arts administration, arts in education, international arts exchanges

Additional Information: Dr. Gail Humphries Mardirosian, professor of theatre in the Department of Performing Arts and in the University College and University Honors Program, has directed more than 130 productions (including musicals, serious drama, classics, children’s theatre, and cabaret performances) and more than 60 special events in venues across the United States and in Europe. She has received several awards for her college directing, including awards from the American College Theatre Festival. She has served as the vice president for professional development for the Association for Theatre in Higher Education since 2007, and as the past president of Theatre as a Liberal Art. She has worked as a consultant for multiple arts organizations, and serves as the principal investigator researching the impact of the use of arts-based teaching/learning for an evidence-based model entitled Imagination Quest (IQ).

Mardirosian's articles include "Arts-Based Teaching: A Pedagogy of Imagination and a Conduit to a Socially Just Education” (Current Issues in Education, fall 2009); "Teaching to Reach All Children" (Chronicle of Higher Education, March 2009); "Transforming the Classroom Teacher into a Teaching Artist" (Teaching Artist Journal, summer 2007 ); and "The Quest to Captivate Hearts and Minds in the Classroom: Teaching to Reach All Children.” Mardirosian is working on a book titled Exceptional Teaching, Exceptional Learning: Using the Arts Across the Curriculum, K-16. She recently completed a chapter entitled "Giving Voice to the Silenced through Theatre" featured in the book The Power of Witnessing: Reflections, Reverberations and Traces of the Holocaust. The chapter delineates an ongoing project that she developed in Prague, at the Nazi transit/forced labor camp of Terezin, implemented at American University and the University of New Hampshire. The project is ongoing with sponsorship during the upcoming year by the Florida Holocaust Museum. Other international collaborations include Project ARTS (American Russian Theatre Symposia in Yaroslavl and St. Petersburg, Russia); a Fulbright appointment at the Academy of Performing Arts, Prague, Czech Republic; and guest lectures/master classes at the European Cultural Centre (Delphi, Greece), Charles University (Prague), New York University (Prague), and the University of Goteborg (Sweden). She has hosted artists and professors from China, Korea, Norway, and Serbia. During the 2011–2012 academic year, she will continue to focus on AU's cultural exchanges in theatre collaborating with the St. Petersburg Theatre Arts Academy both in the U.S. and in Russia, working with the Center for Global piece on a A BALKAN SAMPLER, with readings from five different Balkan plays, and presenting at a Fulbright conference in NYC entitled “Academic Exchanges and Research Success—20 Years of Fulbright Between the USA and the Czech Republic.”

Media Relations
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