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Celebrated Shakespeare Expert Tina Packer:
BC’s 2014-2015 Monan Professor in Theatre Arts


CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. (September 2014) – Arts leader Tina Packer, a celebrated stage director and one of the country’s foremost experts on Shakespeare, will join the Boston College Theatre Department for the 2014-2015 academic year, as the Rev. J. Donald Monan, S.J., Professor in Theatre Arts.

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Tina Packer

Packer is the Founding Artistic Director of Shakespeare & Company, one of the largest and most critically acclaimed Shakespeare Festivals in North America, which is celebrating its 36th season. She founded the company in 1978 with the goal of creating a sustainable and vital program of performance, training and education of the highest standard that holds language as the center of the theatrical experience.

Through her vision and leadership, the company has become a home for theater professionals from all over the world. It is also one of the largest theater-in-education programs in the northeast, reaching some 50,000 students annually with performances, workshops and residencies. According to the Boston Globe, “Tina Packer and her Lenox [Mass.]-based company not only make Shakespeare our earthy contemporary, but they also bring a classic elegance to contemporary plays…”

During her campus residency, Packer will direct Honor, Shame, and Violence: A Shakespeare Anthology Project (January 21-25, 2015), a compilation of war scenes from some of Shakespeare’s most beloved and lesser-known works. She will also teach an advanced acting class in Shakespeare this semester, lead a Shakespeare performance and interpretation workshop (September 4, 2014 at 6:30 p.m., details below), as well as a gender in Shakespeare workshop (Date/time TBA). Both workshops are free and open to the public.

“Tina Packer is a wonderful choice for this year’s Monan professorship. Having seen her work as a director, actor, teacher and speaker over a thirty-year span, I can attest that she will inspire our students, indeed the entire Boston College community, and challenge us to look at the art of theater in fresh and provocative ways,” says Theatre Department Assistant Professor of the Practice Patricia Riggin. “She is a real ‘renaissance woman’ who has explored the world of Shakespeare not only as an artist but also as a feminist, an historian, and a businesswoman.”

Also an author, her book Power Plays: Shakespeare’s Lessons in Leadership & Management (2001), co-written with John Whitney, spent several weeks on business best-seller charts. Her children’s book, Tales from Shakespeare (2004) received the Parents’ Choice Award. Her forthcoming Women of Will (2015) is the result of a lifelong exploration of Shakespeare’s famed yet misunderstood heroines; it is based on her five-part performance piece of the same name, which won critical acclaim in its off-Broadway run this past year. She also has been the subject of TV and film specials: WGBH produced Sex, Violence & Poetry: a Portrait of Tina Packer, and PBS presented Brush Up Your Shakespeare, a concert special in partnership with the Boston Pops and Boston Philharmonic Orchestra.

Born in Wolverhampton, England, Packer trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, was an Associate Artist with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and performed in the West End in more than 20 productions for BBC and ITV television. She has lectured or been the keynote speaker at some 30 colleges and universities and has received six honorary doctorate degrees. She also received the 1992 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Direction in Boston, the 1996 Boston Theatre Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre, and the 2001 Elliot Norton Award for Continued Excellence in Theatre. She was the 1999-2000 Arts Recipient of the Commonwealth Award, Massachusetts’ highest cultural recognition.

A Workshop with Tina Packer: “The Shakespeare Connection”: Thurs., Sept. 4, 2014
Robsham Theater Bonn Studio, 6:30 p.m. 

During this interactive workshop, Packer will guide BC theater students through the challenging and personal process of connecting to and interpreting the Bard’s text. Open to the public free of charge, organizers say attendees will bear witness to Packer’s passion and renowned expertise for Shakespeare performance.  

The Monan Professorship in Theatre Arts
The professorship was established in 2007 by a gift to Boston College in honor of University Chancellor and former BC President J. Donald Monan S.J. The position, which also commemorates the late University trustee and benefactor E. Paul Robsham, enables the Theatre Department to bring nationally and internationally known professional theater artists to Boston College to teach and work with undergraduate students. Packer is the ninth visiting Monan Professor in Theatre Arts, following actor/playwright Robbie McCauley, director/designer David Gammons, director Paul Daigneault, Broadway music director Mary-Mitchell Campbell and others.

For more information, contact BC Theatre Department Chair and Associate Professor Crystal Tiala at 617-552-4334 or crystal.tiala@bc.edu