Missy McCollam, a renowned figure in the local, regional, and national theatre and arts communities, has been appointed Coordinator of President’s Initiative on Community and Immersive Learning (ICIL) at Davis & Elkins College. McCollam will continue in her roles as executive director of The Old Brick Playhouse and executive director of The New School OBP, both in Elkins.
“We are excited to announce that Missy McCollam will lead the ICIL initiative at D&E,” said College President Chris A. Wood. “Missy is highly recognized not only for her achievements in the theatre and arts world, but also for her great strides in delivering accessibility to unique and advanced educational opportunities. Her philosophies align with our mission here at D&E, and we are confident in her charge to establish creative partnerships between the College and the local and regional communities as well as recruit students who will contribute to and benefit from our mission.”
“This amalgamation of The Old Brick Playhouse and Davis & Elkins College has been taking shape for at least a decade,” remarked McCollam. “The 30-year tenure and success of The Old Brick Playhouse can be attributed to the phenomenal dynamics of the OBP team, unprecedented community support, and a vibrant student base. This unique collaboration will enable us to expand programming and curriculum for both Old Brick Apprentices and students studying the arts at Davis & Elkins College. Students will be able to earn hands-on experiences in art therapy, cultural tourism, and arts education through independent studies and internships at The Old Brick. It will also yield more live theatre in our community. Win. Win.”
McCollam received her B.A. in theatre/English from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and her M.F.A. in directing and acting from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. She also studied at the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin, Ireland. Over her 35-year career, she has toured with the Shenandoah Shakespeare Express and several professional improvisational companies and directed and performed in The Old Brick Playhouse Touring Company in hundreds of venues throughout the Mid-Atlantic region and abroad to a cumulative audience of 2.5 million youth.
McCollam has co-penned more than 20 original musical comedies for children that have been merited at the National Theater in Washington, D.C. and the Edinburgh (Scotland) Fringe Festival. She has also served as an adjunct faculty member in Theatre and Communications departments at Davis & Elkins College, James Madison University, Alderson Broaddus College, and Virginia Commonwealth University, and worked as an artist-in-residence with The Old Brick team for Young Audiences of Virginia and in Pendleton County, West Virginia. Under McCollam’s guidance, The Old Brick has earned recognition for Arts Leadership from the National Endowment of the Arts, The Susan Landis Leadership Award from the WV Department of Cultural and History, The Governor’s Fellowship Award for playwriting, and Non-profit of the Year through the Chamber of Commerce.
“This initiative is an important component in identifying prospective students considering majors within the creative arts and creating internship and other experiential opportunities for students in those areas of study,” Wood said. “Missy will also teach some select courses and aid in scheduling programming for our newly expanded Myles Center for the Arts and Harper-McNeeley Auditorium. Missy’s appointment is an extraordinary step forward for Davis & Elkins College and for creative arts students.”
Wood added that McCollam would also work to secure grants and other funding upgrades to Harper-McNeeley Auditorium.
Amid the COVID-19 global pandemic last year, McCollam and The Old Brick Playhouse Company announced the opening of The New School OBP, a learning opportunity offering educational programming for secondary school-aged students. The purpose of The New School is to provide local students innovative approaches to learning amidst uncertainty or anxiety among those students and their families about remote learning or not physically attending school.
McCollam has also received national accolades for her efforts in the arts education arena. In 2009, The Old Brick Playhouse received the Coming Up Taller Award from the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Science. The award was presented at the White House by then-First Lady Michelle Obama, recognizing The Old Brick Playhouse as one of the top arts education programs in the country. In 2015, the Old Brick Playhouse was among three arts organization in America to participate in Broadway at The White House together with Andrew Lloyd Webber, Stephen Schwartz, Kristin Chenoweth, and Gloria Estefan. This event was televised by the Learning Channel.