Portrait of Virginia Smith

Virginia Smith

Professor Emerita
Area of Focus: Performance / Directing

Virginia is a Professor of Theatre Arts within the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She teaches acting and directing, and was the Artistic Director of the Nebraska Repertory Theatre (NRT) from 2005 to 2014. She also heads the M.F.A. program in Directing for Stage and Screen and the B.A. undergraduate emphasis in Directing and Management. She became part of the theatre faculty at UNL in the fall of 2000 after sixteen years working as a professional in Chicago. Her directing credits for NRT include: Circle Mirror Transformation, Making God Laugh, God of Carnage, Church Basement Ladies, Vino Veritas, Sanataland Diaries, Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins, Metamorphoses, Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol, Omnium Gatherum, Crimes of the Heart and Dinnertime which performed at the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Theatre Festival in New York City. Other favorites include Oak Park Festival Theatre's Romeo and Juliet; Equity Library Theatre's Ride Down Mount Morgan, Hamlet, Judevine, and Marisol. Virginia is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, and has also directed extensively in university theatre settings, including Voice of the Prairie invited to perform at the Podium Festival in Moscow and Family Lessons, which played at the Reminiscencje Festival in Krakow, Poland.

She is a member of two professional actor's unions: Actors' Equity Association, SAG-AFTRA.She has done numerous commercials, industrial films, and several feature films, including Home Alone, Teachers, The Naked Face and Almost Normal. Since becoming a part of the UNL faculty she has performed Vivian Bearing in Wit at The Human Race Theatre in Dayton, Ohio and for the NRT, Karen in Dinner with Friends, Flora in Humble Boy, Zina in Act a Lady, Mommy in Dinnertime and Family Lessons, and Gertrude in Hamlet for the Haymarket Theatre. Other acting credits include work at American Players Theatre, Victory Gardens Theatre, The Body Politic Theatre, The Court Theatre, Oak Park Festival Theatre, Chicago Dramatists, Wisdom Bridge, and Equity Library Theatre Chicago.

Local Wonders, a play with music, played in Chicago at Chicago Dramatists and the Lied Center for Performing Arts in 2011. She co-adapted this piece with Paul Amandes, from poet Ted Kooser's book by the same name. Virginia is also a member of the Dramatist Guild.