Classics in Context fulfills our audience’s desire for in depth information on the plays before attending each production. Discussions with scholars and artists on Opening Nights July 7, July 14, July 21, and July 28 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. CiC offers audiences a guide to the season through the critical historical, artistic, and cultural perspectives wound into the words of each individual play. Click here to view our 2017 Scholar Article.

Throughout the year, TAM works in partnership with community-based arts, cultural, and educational organizations using theatre and the works of Shakespeare to build community and enhance civic engagement.

Project Scholar: Benjamin Bertram, Associate Professor of English, University of Southern Maine
Benjamin Bertram’s areas of interest include sixteenth and seventeenth-century English literature and culture, Shakespeare, early modern studies, ecocriticism, animal studies, film studies, and critical theory. He currently working on a book on war and ecology in early modern England that will be published by Routledge Press in 2017. His most recent articles are “Webster’s Geometry” (English Literature 1, 2014), “Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure and the Discourse of Husbandry” (Modern Philology 110:4, 2013) and “Falstaff’s Body, the Body Politic, and the Body of Trade” (Exemplaria 21:3, 2009). His first book, The Time is Out of Joint: Skepticism in Shakespeare’s England, appeared in 2004. He has also published essays on postmodernism and politics.

The Learned Ladies | July 7 at 5:30 p.m.
The Man Should Always Be on Top: Domesticity and Comedy in Molière’s
The Learned Ladies

Laura Balladur, Lecturer of French and Francophone Studies, Bates College
Laura Balladur is Lecturer of French and Francophone Studies. Her broad interests include translation both in theory and practice, cinema, the relationship between literature and science, philosophical investigations of the mind-body dichotomy with a specific focus on the varied discourses on imagination, and current scholarship on the embodied self in dance. These varied interest are reflected both in her scholarship and her teaching. Her dissertation, Imagination, Physiology, and Dynamics of Representation (Duke, 2005), explored the emergence of life science in various 17th and 18th century scientific discourses, and its parallels on the changing concept of imagination.

Sally Wood, The Learned Ladies Director
Sally Wood is a professional director, actor, and fight choreographer. Sally has directed for Portland Stage Company, Theater at Monmouth, AIRE, and Fenix Theater Company, where she is also a founding member. In addition to an active career as a director, she has choreographed fights for more than 20 productions. Sally spent ten years as a company member at TAM, including six as Artistic Director. Recently, Sally had the great pleasure of working with living, breathing playwrights, directing four world premieres in the last five years.

Macbeth | July 14 at 5:30 p.m.
In Borrowed Robes: The Lust for Power in Shakespeare’s Macbeth

Richard Brucher, Associate Professor of English, University of Maine at Orono
Richard Brucher’s areas of specialization include Shakespeare and English Renaissance drama, modern American and British drama. In addition to courses on a wide range of dramatic subjects on both the undergraduate and graduate levels, Professor Brucher has taught extensively on technical writing and editing, and argument.

Megan Cook, Assistant Professor of English, Colby College
Megan Cook teaches medieval literature, with an emphasis on Chaucer and other late medieval poets, and researches and writes about the fate of Middle English texts and books in the early modern period. Her current book project examines the scholarly reception of Chaucer’s works in sixteenth-century England, with special emphasis on the role of antiquarians in the production of early printed editions. Drawing on both intellectual history and studies in the material book, she seeks to understand how antiquarian readers used Middle English poetry to produce new knowledge about literary history and how this, in turn, informed emerging views of the English past.

Dawn McAndrews, Producing Artistic Director, Theater at Monmouth
Dawn McAndrews has worked as a producer, educator, and artistic director at theatres across the country including Shakespeare Theatre Company, Steppenwolf Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Arena Stage, Portland Stage Company, and Shakespeare Festival St. Louis. Directing credits include: The Pajama Game (UMO), Haroun and the Sea of Stories (Colby), The Language Archive (Public Theatre); Love’s Labour’s Lost, The Winter’s Tale, Romeo and Juliet, The Mousetrap, Henry IV Part 1, Of Thee I Sing (TAM); The Glass Menagerie; Holiday, and Three Days of Rain (1st Stage); Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice, Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Antigone, as well as adapting and directing A Christmas Carol at Portland Stage.

Othello | July 21 at 5:30 p.m.
The Ambiguity of Otherness: Racism, Misogyny, and Jealousy in Shakespeare’s Othello

Aaron W. Kitch, Associate Professor of English, Bowdoin College
Aaron W. Kitch studies and writes about a range of genres of early modern literature drama as they intersect with discourses of political economy, sexuality, and natural philosophy.  His first book focused on Political Economy and the States of Literature in Early Modern England.  In addition to publishing on the intersection between the history of science and sexuality, he is currently working on a short book on the philosophical idea of “species being” in relation to Shakespeare as well as a book about early modern literature and natural philosophy entitled Shakespeare and the Book of Nature.

Catherine Weidner, Othello Director
Catherine Weidner is Chair of the Theater Department at Ithaca College and formerly Program Director of the Shakespeare Theatre Company Academy for Classical Acting. She appeared in A Streetcar Named Desire with Patricia Clarkson at The Kennedy Center, in Mary Stuart and Blithe Spirit at CenterStage in Baltimore, and has worked at The Guthrie Theater, Theatre de la Jeune Lune, and the La Jolla Playhouse. Directing credits include: Richard III, Much Ado About Nothing, Measure for Measure, Waiting for Godot, Caligula, Otherwise Engaged, Animal Farm, Reckless, Cloud 9, The Visit, and Ubu.

Red Velvet | July 28 at 5:30 p.m.
Feminist Appropriations of Othello: Chakrabarti’s Red Velvet and the history of Shakespeare’s Othello in Performance

Cristina Malcolmson, Professor Emerita, Bates College
Cristina previously taught Shakespeare, seventeenth-century literature, and women and gender studies at Bates College. She has also taught at Yale University and Reed College. Her publications include two books on the poet George Herbert, and her most recent book considers studies of skin color in the earliest scientific society in England. Her article “’What You Will’: Social Mobility and Gender in Twelfth Night” appeared in The Matter of Difference: Materialist Feminist Criticism of Shakespeare, ed. Valerie Wayne (Cornell, 1991).

Jennifer Nelson, Red Velvet Director
Jennifer Nelson is a Washington-based theater professional committed to principles that value human dignity, justice, and compassion. She has more than 40 years’ experience as an actor, playwright, professor, and director. She is the senior advisor for special programming at Ford’s Theatre, and previously served for 11 years as the producing artistic director of the African Continuum Theatre Company. Nelson has directed productions at Ford’s Theatre, Round House, Woolly Mammoth, Theater of the First Amendment, Theater J, and more.