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ATHENews - Volume 27, Number 2 - Organizational Member News: University of Maryland
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Organizational Member News: University of Maryland

The University of Maryland (UMD) College of Arts and Humanities has appointed Leigh Wilson Smiley director of the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies (TDPS) at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. Smiley is the former associate director of TDPS and served as the School’s first head of the M.F.A. in Performance (M.F.A.P) program, playing an integral role in establishing the degree in 2010. She has taught at UMD since 2003.

“I am honored to lead the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies as we pursue the highest standards of excellence for our students and programs,” said Smiley of her appointment. “TDPS has a vision of artistic diversity and global perspective as the driving ideas behind our teaching and creative works.”

About Leigh Wilson Smiley
Prior to joining the faculty at UMD, Smiley taught “voice for the actor and Shakespeare for the performer” at Fordham University, The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania and at Emerson College in Boston. She was awarded a Linklater Voice Teacher Designation in 1998 and has taught voice, speech and accent at Walnut Street Theatre and People’s Light and Theatre Company in Philadelphia.

Smiley’s research has made a significant impact on the actor’s world of dialect and accent information collection through her Visual Accent and Dialect Archive (VADA), the first-of-its-kind video archive of English-language accents and dialects gathered from around the globe. VADA is a resource used by actors to acquire any accent or dialect with the specific lilt, rhythms, intonations and sound changes intrinsic to each individual region a character represents. A fellowship from the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) supported Smiley’s research.

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