Eric Brannen taught theatre for thirty-three years, sponsored a Thespian troupe for twenty-five, and directed more than 150 plays and musicals. He established theatre education programs at three high schools in Georgia: Stratford Academy in Macon and Dunwoody High School and The Westminster School, both in Atlanta.
At Westminster, Mr. Brannen transformed drama from an extracurricular club that produced two plays and a one-act each year to a full curriculum of theatre courses for grades six through twelve that includes both acting and production, with three full-time faculty. The program now produces eight plays each school year.
The effectiveness of Mr. Brannen’s teaching is reflected in the success of his former students who went on to careers in theatre: John Conlee was nominated for a Tony Award for the role of Dave in The Full Monty in 2001, and Shuler Hensley won a Tony for playing Judd in Oklahoma! in 2002.
Mr. Brannen also has served as director of speech and debate for eighteen years.
Beyond the classroom, Mr. Brannen created workshops that empowered theatre educators to lobby school officials and political figures on a state and national level to promote the importance of arts education.
Mr. Brannen’s contributions to EdTA include hosting the Georgia Thespian conference, presenting workshops at EdTA’s convention, serving as adjudicator for the Thespian Festival for the past six years, and directing ten main stage productions at the Festival.
From 1990 to 1992, he served as an EdTA territorial director, as a board member from 1992 to 1995, and then as president of the board from 1993 through 1994. During his tenure as president, Mr. Brannen created and implemented the first Individual Events program at the Thespian Festival.