Founder of the School of Dramatic Art
Daniel P. Kelly’s life was characterized by extraordinary service to the Windsor community, to students, and to the promotion of artistic excellence. He made a profound impact on the training of two decades of dramatic artists.
As founder of the University of Windsor’s School of Dramatic Art his careful and courageous designs of the BFA Acting curriculum has resulted in the development of a clear fresh stream of young talent which has and will continue to quench the thirst of theatre-goers all over Canada. The School of Dramatic Art’s students populate the finest theatres in the country. The City of Windsor has become known as "the national home" of undergraduate training in acting due to the fruit of his beloved labour.
Concurrently, Daniel P. Kelly gave Windsor its only locally produced theatrical season of six plays per year, University Players, whose vitality and strength continue to this day. It has mounted many hundreds of plays and entertained thousands upon thousands of theater-goers. Both the school and the institution have celebrated the best of times and weathered the worst of times, and remain to this day, vital and dynamic institutions due to the strength of Daniel P. Kelly’s vision and design.
Daniel P. Kelly was a fine artist, talented teacher, good citizen and consummate gentleman. He was such an impressive person. A voice to die for; a director of truly world-class stature; a teacher of absolute excellence and such an example for all of us.
However, his impact on theatre throughout this country and beyond, through his students is but a small reflection of his still palpable influence on everything theatre in Windsor. From the theatre that bears his name in Windsor's Capitol Theatre, to his former students, that not only head University of Windsor drama program but also populate major theatre stages throughout the world, Daniel P. Kelly reaches out and touches us all. His legacy of excellence is exceptional.
As you peruse Daniel P. Kelly’s resume, what really impresses is his vision, his determination to establish in Windsor an environment that would foster drama of world-class dimensions. And, he did it almost single-handedly. A truly remarkable achievement- especially when you realize that both the University community and the City were, due to existing priorities not always disposed to the support of live theatre.
Because of his initiatives, the University of Windsor’s School of Dramatic Art is now one of the premier training institutions in the country and live theatre in Windsor is prospering. By association, all fine and performing arts have realized a greater potential in Windsor due, in no small measure, to the strength and convictions of people like Daniel P. Kelly.