Mills College
Ten years as part-time Assistant Professor of Dramatic Arts and guest director, three years as full-time Department Chair.

“...one of the finest teaching resources you could hope to find.” Ken Burke; Professor, Mills College
Dancing at Lughnasa by Brian Friel
“Gemma’s work is always keen, researched and well-imagined, as was her beautiful production of Dancing at Lughnasa at Mills.” Randall Stuart; Artistic Director: Upon These Boards, Cerimon House
Set in 1930’s Ireland, the play depicts an era at a crossroads between old traditions and new social and political change. It chronicles the breakup of a home and the end of innocence.
Sea Marks by Gardner McKay “Gemma’s superb direction helped me become comfortable acting in a romantic role and find the true expression of Colm’s thoughts and feelings.” Jay Clifton; Cast (Colm), actor Bay Area.
A bittersweet tale of a fisherman living on a remote island who has fallen in love with a woman he has glimpsed only once. The reaching out and fierce withdrawal of two people whose lives simply cannot be fused.
Vinegar Tom by Caryl Churchill “The show was creatively staged. Tightly paced, and cleverly tailored to capitalize on the strengths of the cast.” Gary Graves; Central Works
Explores the root causes of the hysteria that led to the witch-hunts in England in 17th century. It shows how the poor, the widowed, the disenfranchised, and those on the fringes of society were used as scapegoats in times of uncertainty and distress.
Steel Magnolias by Robert Harling
Takes place over a series of Saturdays in a hair salon in Louisiana where the same six women convene. It’s a place where everybody gets their hair done and catches up on all the small town gossip—a place where they can feel unconditionally safe, and humor is a tool to get them through the hard times.
The Children’s Hour by Lillian Hellman
Set in a girls’ boarding school, an angry student runs away, and to avoid being sent back, tells her grandmother that the two headmistresses are having an affair. The accusation destroys the women’s careers and lives.
World Premiere Boadicea: The Musical by John Fisher
Directed by John Fisher, Commissioned by Gemma Whelan
“He captured the spirit and the humor of the college community to a tee, with oddball one-liners, and ridiculous song and dance numbers.” The Campanil. “I got to see Boadecia, which was so funny it was almost worth the price of tuition, let alone admission.” Mills student, quoted in The Campanil. “Gemma was supportive and enthusiastic...lending encouragement at every step of the way.” John Fisher, Playwright and Director World Premiere Christmas Carol: The Musical by John Fisher
Directed by John Fisher, Commissioned by Gemma Whelan
“(This is) the ultimate collaboration—great because of the cooperation from other departments from Fine Arts to Physical Education.” Richard Battle; Mills Costume Designer and Lecturer.
Written especially for Mills, this version of the play is adapted to a new setting—a mythical women’s college in the East Bay.
World Premiere Fools Fall by Kathleen Turco-Lyon and Randall Stuart
Directed by Randall Stuart, Produced by Gemma Whelan
“Gemma Whelan’s producing expertise and creative support were invaluable to me during preproduction and rehearsals. As invited Guest Artists at Mills, Gemma welcomed me and my colleague, director Randall Stuart, with a most professional and supportive production team.” Kathleen Turco-Lyon; Actor and Playwright, New York City.
In this adaptation of Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens, a fusion of styles rattles the boards when the ancient world and present day merge to illuminate the fall of the benefactor Lady Timon. Or is this fall Timon’s self-determined tumble from grace?