B.A. English, University of California, Berkeley
M.F.A. Directing, University of California, Irvine
Colette Searls is a stage director with a particular interest in visual theatre and puppetry. At UMBC, Prof. Searls has taught acting, directed a mixture of classical and contemporary works, and created award-winning original puppet plays. Other directing credits include Noah Haidle’s Vigils at The Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company (four Helen Hayes Award nominations), Fixed Boundary (with Leibe Wetzle’s Lunatique Fantastique) at San Francisco’s Exit Theatre (“Best of the San Francisco Fringe Festival”) and Maria Irene Fornés’ musical, Promenade at the University of California, Irvine (three OC Weekly Award nominations). She has received grants from the Jim Henson Foundation and Puppeteers of America for her original work in found-object puppetry aimed at adult audiences. She has provided puppetry coaching for professional theatre companies, published and lectured internationally on her digital puppetry research, and served on the UNIMA-USA board of directors. In 2013, she received a grant to work with award-winning animator Lynn Tomlinson and a team of programmers to create a digital puppetry app for artists. Prof. Searls has a background combining arts with human services; she has organized inmate arts programs and produced and performed in plays inside juvenile detention centers and California state prisons.