Raina Ames

Phone: (603) 862-3044
Office: Theatre & Dance, Paul Creative Arts Center Rm M112, Durham, NH 03824
Pronouns: She/her/hers

Raina Ames is Director of Theatre Education and the Chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of New Hampshire. She holds an MFA in Theatre Pedagogy (Virginia Commonwealth University), MS Ed in Gifted Education (WIU), and BA in Theatre (WIU). Most recently, Professor Ames was one of three recipients of the 2017 UNH Excellence in Teaching Award. Ames also is a 2015 recipient of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Gold Medallion, an honor given to those who have demonstrated a strong commitment to the values and goals of KCACTF and to excellence in educational theatre. She taught high school theatre, speech and English for 8 years; prior to starting at UNH, Ames served as Director of Education at TheatreVirginia, a LORT C theatre in Richmond. Raina is also an actor who has appeared in a variety of venues. In summer 2017 she performed in Steel Magnolias at Hackmatack Playhouse in Maine. She played Katy Maguire in the U.S. Premiere of Goodbye to the Hill at Indianapolis Theatre On The Square. She also performed in the professional Theatre IV/Barksdale production of The Laramie Project and is an actor with Power Play, a professional applied theatre company created by colleague David Kaye. Regionally, Ames is a director whose credits include A Midsummer Night's Dream for The Palace Youth Theatre with a cast aged 6 18 in Manchester. On campus directing credits include: Shrek the Musical, the 2016 Little Red Wagon touring production Luna Goes to Mars, the 2005 ArtsReach touring production of And Then They Came For Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank, The Anna Zornio Playwriting Competition winning production of The Nastiest Drink in the World, The X Factor, a night of one acts by female playwrights of the twentieth century, and Midwives by Dana Yeaton, a performance receiving the Social Impact Award from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, Region I. One of her directing projects was The Boy Who Stood Still, an original musical co written with Charles Pelletier. Ames also directed the NH premiere of Voices of Terezin, a play that highlights the cultural activities in the Terezin Ghetto in Czechoslovakia and the World Premiere of Keep on Walkin’, a family musical about the Montgomery Bus Boycotts. In addition to acting, directing and stage managing, her first book, A High School Theatre Teacher's Survival Guide, is available through Routledge Publishing, and her chapter entitled “Prepare the Teacher, Prepare the Student: Arts-Based Pre-Service Teacher Training” can be found as part of Arts Integration in Education: Teachers and Teaching Artists as Agents of Change released by Intellect Publishing Fall 2016 (Gail Humphries-Mardirosian and Yvonne Pelletier Lewis, Eds). (revised 2/26/19)

Courses Taught

  • THDA 401: New Student Seminar
  • THDA 475: Stage Makeup
  • THDA 554: Stage Combat
  • THDA 589: Practicum/Technical Theatre
  • THDA 624: Theatre for Young Audiences
  • THDA 721: Arts Integration
  • THDA 721/821: Arts Integration
  • THDA 727: Methods of Teaching Theatre
  • THDA 727/827: Methods of Teaching Theatre
  • THDA 729: Community-Oriented Drama Prog
  • THDA 760: Teacher Planning for Theatre
  • THDA 795W: Independent Study


  • M.Ed., Western Illinois University
  • M.F.A., Pedagogical, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • B.A., Acting, Western Illinois University

Research Interests

  • Applied arts
  • Stage combat/Choreography
  • Stage makeup
  • Theatre education
  • Youth theatre

Artistic Activities

  • If/Then UNH Mainstage Production, Stage Manager (2018).

  • If/Then UNH Mainstage Production, Stage Manager (2018).

  • Tolba and the Earthdiver, UNH Little Red Wagon tour, Director/Writer (2018).

  • UNH 150 Year Celebration Performance at The Music Hall in Portsmouth, Producer (2017).

  • Pericles, Stage Combat Choreographer (2017).

  • Shrek the Musical, Director (2017).

  • Steel Magnolias - hired actor (2017). Retrieved from https://www.broadwayworld.com/

  • The Caldwell Sisters (2017).

  • Luna Goes to Mars (2017).

  • Zombie Prom (2016).