Alan Engelsman’s influence on educational theatre extends well beyond the classrooms and stages where he has taught and directed for thirty-eight years. As the author of the Theatre Arts 1 textbook series and co-author, with his wife Penny Engelsman, of Theatre Arts 2, he has participated in the education of thousands of middle school and high school students all over the United States. “Thanks to Alan,” one of his colleagues observed, “we need never again ask, ‘What will I teach on Monday?’”
Engelsman began his teaching career in New Hartford, New York in 1956. Three years later he became drama director at Clayton (Missouri) High School. He directed the Clayton Thespian troupe and served as Missouri state Thespian director for three years. He helped found a community theatre and served on educational advisory boards for the Repertory Theatre and the Theatre Project Company of St. Louis. He founded and continued to maintain an informal support group for St. Louis theatre teachers, and launched a district-wide playwriting festival in Clayton schools. He was been active in committee work and at conferences for both the Theatre Education Association and the American Alliance for Theatre and Education.