Prior to coming to SMU, Professor O'Neal spent 20 years as a professional actor, director, and producer in the United States and Canada.
As a teacher and academic administrator, Professor O'Neal heads one of the leading university theatre programs in the country. Many of his former students are working steadily in film, episodic television, on the New York stage, in major regional theatres from coast to coast and are teaching in highly respected university theatre departments. His international teaching experience includes guest teaching at The National Theatre School of Canada and The Royal National Theatre Studio in London.
As a producer and director, he has worked in every sector of not-for-profit theatre, from small, highly respected "fringe" companies to the largest not-for-profit theatre in North America. He was a founding member of Chicago's Organic Theatre and founding producer of the Tony Award-winning Victory Gardens Theatre, also in Chicago. He served as associate director of Tarragon Theatre in Toronto and as producer of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Canada.
Professor O’Neal served two terms as a member of the City of Dallas Cultural Affairs Commission.