Xan Johnson

Professor Emeritus

Xan S. Johnson, PhD, is an Emeritus professor in the Department of Theatre at the University of Utah. He is also an Honors professor and a member of the Graduate School faculty. Dr. Johnson has served as Department of Theatre Chair, Head of the BFA in Theatre Education, Director of the MFA/PhD program in Child Drama, and as Artistic Director of Young People’s Theatre. He also served as the Utah Theatre Consultant for the Utah State Office of Education for 15 years where one of his many challenges was writing the current K-12 mandated Core Curriculum in Theatre.

Prior to his tenure at the University of Utah, Dr. Johnson taught at the University of Northern Colorado. Dr. Johnson received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he received his BA degree. He received his MA in Directing from the University of Nebraska, and his PhD in Child Drama from Northwestern University.

Dr. Johnson is an internationally recognized specialist in the fields of youth theatre, theatre education, and social cognitive neuroscience (brain research) as it relates to learning theory, emotional intelligence, theatre education, and child drama. He is a frequent presenter and lecturer at international conferences, most recently presenting at the National Drama Conference at the University of Swansea, Wales, UK.

Dr. Johnson is the founder and former Artistic Director of the internationally recognized Youth Theatre at the U, a program that has been invited to showcase in cities across the United States, United Kingdom, Russia and France. Most recently, under the direction of the current Artistic Director, Penelope Caywood, the program showcased at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

In the summers since 1991, Dr. Johnson has served as Founder/Artistic Director for the Zona Gale Youth Theatre in Portage, Wisconsin.

Dr. Johnson is a professional stage director and devised scriptwriter, and has directed nearly 200 stage productions over his career.

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