Fran Sillau (HE/HIM/HIS) is a multidisciplinary theatre artist with a disability and a member of the GLBTQIA community. Fran has worked professionally as a playwright, director, producer, education coordinator, teaching artist, arts administrator, grant writer, and inclusion consultant. He has been working extensively within the world of Theater For Young Audiences (TYA) for over twenty years.
Fran spent seven years collaborating with theatrical producer Deborah Denenberg (Dodger Productions and Big League Theatricals) on The Doll Maker’s Gift, a property for which he obtained permission from the author. He then assembled the creative team, co-wrote the book, and directed the world premiere at the Rose Theater in 2019. The Omaha World Herald said “Families should flock to this one.” He currently is working on his second collaboration with Ms. Denenberg, set for production in 2023. Fran is currently collaborating with Bay Area Children’s Theater and serving as Artistic and Inclusion consultant with Trike Theater. He is a past Aurand Harris Fellow with The Children’s Theatre Foundation of America and a winner of The Access Grant from The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, where he is a frequent contractor.
Fran serves as the Director of Accessibility at The Rose Theater, where he is leading an expansion of the popular Every Single Child Program (a multi-layered program that serves an average of 35,000 students each year at more than 70 school buildings). The expansion will develop production and residency programming for students in self-contained special education classrooms in the Omaha area. He also directs mainstage productions at the Rose; some of his credits include Shrek: The Musical, Go,Dog.Go! and the Omaha premiere of Hanna’s Suitcase.
He also serves as Executive Artistic Director of Circle Theatre, Omaha’s theater for individuals of all abilities. Circle Theatre has produced several TYA plays. Under his leadership, the Circle co-commissioned My Broken Doll, a play based on the life of holocaust survivor Beatrice Karp and adapted by Ernie Nolan, and Over the River, a play about friendship by Ellen Struve. Both plays recently toured the state of Nebraska. In December of 2016, Sillau directed a regional premiere of A Charlie Brown Christmas. This production incorporated American Sign Language, Shadow Interpreting, Audio Description, as well as actors with various physical and developmental disabilities. He is also currently developing new original TYA work for The Institute For Holocaust Education and Great Plains office of the Anti-Defamation League.
Fran currently serves as the United States representative to International Inclusion Arts Network, a program of The International Association of Children’s Theatre Companies (ASSITEJ). He is also an Emerging Leader fellow for Theater for Young Audiences USA. He holds an MFA specializing in directing and inclusion from Goddard College.