Kenneth L. Stilson

Member, Commission on Accreditation
Elected March 2021, Re-elected March 2024

Kenneth L. Stilson serves as Professor of Acting, Directing, and Musical Theatre and Founding Chair of The Jeanine Larson Dobbins Conservatory of Theatre and Dance at Southeast Missouri State University, in addition to the Executive Director of The Lanford Wilson New American Play Festival. He is the author of the classic text, Acting Is Believing, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th editions, with the late Larry D. Clark and the late Charles McGaw, which has been adopted by more than 150 universities and colleges around the world.

Professor Stilson served for several years as the national chair of the Charles M. Getchell New Play Contest, where he helped nurture the development of hundreds of full-length plays. He is also a founding member of the Fault Line Film Festival, a student film festival that has produced more than a hundred short films. As a playwright and librettist, his works include: An American Hero: a World War II Musical (official selection and winner, Best of Festival, 2018 New York Musical Festival (NYC, Acorn Theatre, Off-Broadway); winner, The 2016 Gallery Players New Play Festival (NYC, Off-Off Broadway)); Stage Door Johnny: a Rock MusicalMurfie’s Law (winner, 6th Annual Southwest Playwriting Competition, Stage West; winner, First Run Theatre’s Annual New Play Festival; winner, Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival; official selection, Mizzou New Play Festival)––rewritten as Bullets in ParadiseThe Cow and the Milk (official selection, The Last Frontier Theatre Festival; published as part of Focus Publishing’s anthology, Best of the Last Frontier Theatre Conference, 2009-2012); Where the Lilies Grow (winner, Critics Award, Edward Albee Theatre Festival; produced, American Academy of Dramatic Arts/Hudson Theatre, Hollywood, CA); Emma and Jack; and contributing writer, Philly: The Musical. As a screenwriter, his works include: Fire Lily (Victory Films; official selection and winner, Best Feature Film, American Artist Film Festival; official selection, Lakeside Film Festival); contributing writer, Interviewing Monsters. He has also published a biography of Ezra Stone (also known as radio’s Henry Aldrich), as well as numerous national and international articles on acting and theatre.

Professor Stilson served NAST previously as a member of the Committee on Nominations.

Professor Stilson received his Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Arts degrees in theatre from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Posted April 2021