We look to the past to shape our future. Who are you? Where are you going from here?

I’m a feminist lover of Shakespeare who has spent my whole life doing theatre. My mother was a co-founder of the community theatre where I grew up and my entire family did plays together. In my professional life, I started out acting and have transitioned to directing and artistic leadership. I love developing a vision, whether for a production, project, or company goal, and then seeing that vision come to life.

For the past ten years, I ran Brave Spirits Theatre in the DC region. We were in the middle of becoming the first professional American company to perform Shakespeare’s eight English history plays in repertory when the pandemic hit. The company ultimately had to shut down, though we will be releasing the eight plays as audio dramas later this year.

What most excites you about being a part of TAM’s It’s Greek (and Roman) To ME! Season?
I’m thrilled about meeting and working with a new group of artists. I’m also excited to stage an epic play like Antony & Cleopatra inside TAM’s intimate, ornamented theatre.

We’re all about making old things new and new things classic. Why are you drawn to Classic Theater?

The Maid’s Tragedy, 2016. Photo by Claire Kimball

Early modern England had one of the richest periods of drama that the world has ever known. These plays are messy, shocking, and often gruesome. I love that playgoing was a regular activity for many people at the time. I am most drawn to how these plays juxtapose rich language and linguistic inventiveness with acts of cruelty. The best and worst of humanity is on display side-by-side.

They are not without their flaws, however. A statistic that lives in my mind is that male characters speak 91% of the words in Hamlet. Though we live in a world that is 50% female, Hamlet puts on stage a world that is 91% male. I want the plays I direct to matter to the world I live in. As such, I work to change this statistic by casting more women and pointedly re-gendering characters to match the identities of the actors playing them. I find over and over again that doing this makes Shakespeare’s wonderful plays and characters even richer and more dynamic.

Coriolanus, 2018. Photo by Claire Kimball.

From what sources do you draw your inspiration?
My inspiration is my daily experience as a woman navigating a deeply misogynistic world. That experience is inescapable for me and so everything I do as a director is filtered through that lens.

You can have dinner with any three influential people. Who are your dream guests, why them, and what is the topic of conversation?

At this moment, I’d really love to sit down to dinner with three amazing women who are breaking barriers and changing how the Shakespeare industry works: Nataki Garrett, Karen Ann Daniels, and Emma Rice.

How have the past two years changed your view of making theater and what

Henry the Fifth, 2020. Photo by Claire Kimball.

action are you most proud of?

I’m discouraged by our industry’s lack of willingness to change for the better. So, I’m trying to honor the importance of making a difference in an individual’s life, especially when we feel denied the power to make them on a systematic level. I’m proud when actors tell me that they had a meaningful experience in a play I directed or that they’ve loved playing a role that other companies or directors couldn’t see them as. I aim to create more of those positive moments.

What’s your super power?
My super power is the combination of my talent for massively big ideas and my skill for complex organization and details.