Miss Dorothy (Dottie) D'Anna, 94, entered into eternal rest on August 1.
Miss D'Anna was born on March 27, 1918, in Buffalo, New York, the only child to George Bullen D'Anna and Sayde Washburne D'Anna . She attended an all girls Catholic school, and after graduation, she followed in her artistic father's footsteps and began serious theatre studies in New York City. She later returned to Buffalo where she began her career as both an actress and director. She worked with many theatres, including the East Aurora Playhouse, and the Grand Island Playhouse. It was during these very busy years that she met Pat Colbert, future wife of Emmett Robinson, the Managing Director of the Footlight Players Theatre. Early on, these three became professional associates as well as personal friends.
When a need arose for assistance by someone with stellar theatrical credentials, Mr. Robinson brought Miss D'Anna to Charleston in 1958 to be Associate Director of the Footlight Players Theatre. In 1960, Miss D’Anna, along with her longtime collaborator Kit Lyons, co-founded The Little Theatre School where they trained children in acting and produced plays for and with children for thirty years. There are many Charlestonians who, though now well into adulthood, remember those times as life changing. After the death of Mr. Robinson, Miss D’Anna became the Artistic Director for the theatre.
For several years, Miss D'Anna was also on the faculty of the College of Charleston and the Baptist College. Children remember Miss D’Anna as an enthusiastic teacher; adults remember her primarily as a director. Theatre critics often described her as a skillful and versatile director with a special talent for casting. As drama teacher, actress and director, Miss D’Anna was a shining star, whose impact and influence in theatre will be remembered for many years. She retired from the theatre in 1995 after a very full and successful career.
Miss D'Anna was a faithful member of the Cathedral Parish of St. John the Baptist, where, for many years, she was a distinguished lay reader. During the last years of her life, she established a spiritual relationship with the "Flying Nun" who visited regularly to administer communion. Miss D'Anna is survived by a cousin, Sue Myer of Uniontown, Ohio and by generations of children and actors who learned their art from her generosity of spirit and talent.
Arrangements by MCALISTER-SMITH FUNERAL HOME, WEST ASHLEY CHAPEL, 2501 BEES FERRY RD, CHARLESTON, SC 29414. (843) 722-8371
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