Cortney McEniry (she/her/hers) is an applied theatre practitioner and community-based artist. At the University of Virginia, Cortney is the inaugural Artistic Director and Program Manager of UVA Acts, an educational theatre program promoting equitable, vibrant spaces for working and learning. In this new role at UVA, she works closely with the Center for Teaching Excellence and with Faculty Development in the Provost’s Office to develop interactive theatre programs addressing climate issues in the areas of inclusive teaching and faculty development, recruitment, and retention.
In collaboration with the United States Embassy to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cortney is currently co-creating an arts-integrated disinformation prevention curriculum for high school students with accompanying professional development for educators. Her practice has been sharpened through collaboration with artists in a variety of contexts, including adults gaining literacy, young people experiencing confinement, educators in public schools, families experiencing housing insecurity, and community advocates who were formerly incarcerated. Cortney worked for three years with peer educators in the Voices Against Violence Theatre for Dialogue program, a nationally-recognized sexual violence prevention program at the University of Texas at Austin. As a teaching artist, Cortney has facilitated artistic processes for McCarter Theatre Center (NJ), Barrington Stage Company (MA), the Performing Justice Project (UT Austin), Playmaking for Girls (GA), Drama for Schools (UT Austin), and Conspire Theatre Company (TX).
Prior to joining the UVA community in 2018, Cortney was the Director of Community Engagement at Milwaukee Repertory Theater, where she produced the first national conference for community engagement practitioners in American regional theaters. In Greenville, SC, she co-founded Front Porch Arts Collective, a two-year initiative that hired over 50 local artists and commissioned over 20 new works centered on the multifaceted stories of the South. She facilitated the 2016 High School Intensive at McCarter Theatre Center and producing the Professional Training Institute for two seasons at Milwaukee Repertory Theater.
Cortney has had the privilege of teaching and learning from emerging community-based artists in several courses, including the Student Artists in Residence course at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the Theatre for Dialogue course at The University of Texas at Austin. Her writing on community-engaged practices can be seen in publications such as Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance,the Howlround Blog, TYA Today, Theatre Topics and Youth Theatre Journal, and she has presented workshops and research at conferences including the American Alliance for Theatre & Education, Association for Theatre in Higher Education, and the NYU Forum on Educational Theatre. Cortney has worked as a guest artist at Texas State University, Anderson University, and James Madison University. Cortney completed her B.A. in Theatre Studies at Furman University in South Carolina and her M.F.A. in Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities from UT Austin. Hook ’em!