Theatre director Vanessa Stalling will be a special guest of the Grant Wood Art Colony this summer while she takes part in the newly formed Summer Partnership in the Arts.

The Theatre Arts Department’s long tradition of presenting exciting work each summer begins anew in 2018, with Summer Partnership in the Arts. Building on nearly a century of Iowa Summer Rep and twenty-five years of the academic year Partnership program, the department now offers students and audiences something new.

The purpose of the Summer Partnership program is to bring one or more guest artists to campus to work with students during a four-week residency and create a new theatrical piece. This developmental project will be presented as a small-scale production or a showing of work in process. It might follow the traditional new play development format or explore a highly experimental collaborative process.


  • Provide opportunities for students to work with professionals on the development of a new work and possibly a new way of making theatre.
  • Maximize student impact and participation during a period when they are unencumbered by their regular class load. 
  • Offer this paid opportunity to both graduate and undergraduate students in every field of theatre arts.
  • Engage the local community by offering audiences the opportunity to participate in the development of a play through pre-show and post-show discussions.

The inaugural project will be a devised work directed by Vanessa Stalling in collaboration with 12 actors, as well as designers, a director, a stage manager, and a dramaturg. It currently has a working title of We Might Fall Apart Before Too Long.

Vanessa Stalling
Vanessa Stalling is a theatre director. Most recently, she directed Lauren Yee's Hookman at Steep Theatre. Prior to that she adapted and directed United Flight 232 from the book Flight 232, by Laurence Gonzales, for The House Theatre of Chicago, which won Jeff Awards for Best Production Midsize and Best Ensemble. Upcoming productions include Sarah DeLappe's The Wolves at The Goodman Theatre.

Vanessa was a primary artist at Redmoon Theater where she served as a director, performer, and Associate Artistic Director. As an artist at Redmoon, she directed several productions including a remount of The Cabinet, which toured Brazil as part of the FILO Festival, Last of My Species, Winter Pageant, Princess Club, Twilight Orchard, and roaming performances for President Obama's Halloween celebrations at The White House.

She has held teaching positions at Roosevelt University, Columbia College, and the University of Chicago, and is an assistant professor of directing at UC San Diego's Department of Theatre & Dance.