Clareann holds a Ph.D. in Dramatic Arts from The University of California, Santa Barbara. 


Directing credits include The Importance of Being Earnest, Green Day's American Idiot, Cabaret, Proof, Hamlet, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, Topdog/Underdog, The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, On the Verge, Wonderdog!, Pale Idiot, I Sea, Below the Belt, Summer Shower, and 8 Life Lessons from Mort and Mindy.


Dr. Despain has  worked as a director and dramaturg on a number of new scripts. In 2014, Clareann directed 3 short plays for Tampaworks at Stageworks in Tampa, FL. As part of Risa Brainin's LaunchPad program at UCSB, Clareann served as the assistant director for the world premiere of Sheri Wilner's Kingdom City. Clareann also directed 8 Life Lessons by Jackson Warkentin for UCSB’s 2007 New Plays Festival, produced by Naomi Iizuka. .With one of her favorite collaborators, playwright Lou Clark, Clareann worked on two original scripts for young audiences: Wonderdog! and I Sea, the latter of which won an ACTF/Kennedy Center award. 


Clareann has also worked in theater management for several companies including: the Straz Center and Next Generation Ballet in Tampa; Tulane Summer Lyric Theatre in New Orleans; the MFA program at the American Conservatory Theater (ACT) & Lamplighter’s Music Theatre in San Francisco; PCPA Theatrefest in Santa Maria, CA; Nevada Dance Theater in Las Vegas, NV; and Hancher Auditorium in Iowa City, IA.


Dr. Despain has taught at the University of South Florida, Hillsborough Community College, University of California, Santa Barbara and the University of New Mexico. Subjects taught include acting, directing, script analysis, theatre history, public speaking, and stagecraft. Regardless of whether the context is explicitly educational, Dr. Despain delights in mentoring young theatre artists.