Gemma Whelan

Ohlone College

Adjunct Professor of acting and improvisation, guest director (1987 – 1994).

Ourselves Alone

by Anne Devlin

Directed by Gemma Whelan

  • “Gemma was with me through every process, every conflict. We made discoveries together and whittled everything down until we got the truth—then bared it on the stage. It was an incredible experience that I will always carry with me. She was the mother of our play-nurturing; tender, but focused and determined.”

    Cynthia Baldon, Cast, actor New York City and Los Angeles


Set in Northern Ireland during the mid-1980s, it focuses on the women who exist on the fringes of the conflict. Three sisters live their lives mostly in the shadows of fathers, husbands, and lovers, but come to realize their one true community is themselves.

A Doll House

by Henrick Ibsen

Directed by Gemma Whelan

  • “For this theatre student, Gemma was an anchor and a friend — a teacher who managed to command respect while keeping every room she entered alive with warmth and love. For an actor, just starting out and about as lost as could be, Gemma provided the inspirational direction and clean, clear guidance I needed...”

    Virginia Baeta, Nora in A Doll House


Torvald, a successful lawyer and bank manager, has kept his pampered wife Nora in a cage-like home. When Nora, under threat of blackmail, reveals a big secret she has kept for years, Torvald’s reaction convinces her that her marriage was founded on false premises.

Last Summer at Bluefish Cove

by Jane Chambers

Directed by Gemma Whelan

  • “Gemma had a clear vision...and gave me, as the lighting designer, the inspiration I needed.”

    Matthew O’Donnell, Director of Entertainment Design and Technology, Dept of Theatre and Dance, Ohlone College


A straight woman Eva leaves her husband to spend some quiet time by herself, and unwittingly and naively wanders into the midst of a group of seven lesbians on their annual vacation at Bluefish Cove. Eva falls in love with the charming Lil, who, unknown to her, is dying of cancer. The play is both funny and sad, and deals with the universal search for love, commitment, and the desire to leave behind a legacy.

True West

by Sam Shepard

Directed by Gemma Whelan

  • “real tensions and convincing portraits.” “The flakey mother is perfectly disoriented as she floats through her trashed kitchen, concerned only about the possibility of meeting Picasso.”

    Ohlone College Monitor


Austin, a Hollywood screenwriter, and his older brother Lee, a drifter and thief, meet up in their mother’s house while she vacations in Alaska. The conflict results in a dramatic and violence-infused role reversal.