Paul Menzer

Paul Menzer

Professor of English; Program Director
Rose Terrace 112, Ext. 7058

Paul Menzer is a professor and the director of the Mary Baldwin University MLitt/MFA Shakespeare and Performance graduate program. He is the editor of Inside Shakespeare: Essays on the Blackfriars Stage (2006), author of The Hamlets: Cues, Q’s, and Remembered Texts (2008), Anecdotal Shakespeare: a New Performance History (2015), and of dozens of articles, essays, reviews, and chapters on theatre history, textual criticism, and performance studies. He is President of the Marlowe Society of America and co-editor of The Hare, an online journal of brief essays and untimely reviews. He is also a practicing playwright and his plays Anonymous, The Brats of Clarence, and Shakespeare on Ice have appeared on the Blackfriars stage and elsewhere. His most recent play, Invisible Inc., premiered at the Long Center for the Performing Arts in Austin, Texas in early 2013. He has a book forthcoming in 2016 entitled Making History: The American Shakespeare Center and Permanent Revolution.

Featured publications

  • Anecdotal Shakespeare: a New Performance History, The Arden Shakespeare, 2015.
  • The Hamlets: Cues, Qs, and the remembered text, University of Delaware Press: 2008. Times Literary Supplement, “Book of the Year,” 2010
  • Editor, Inside Shakespeare: Essays on the Blackfriars Stage, Susquehanna University Press: 2006.
  • “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” in Moving Shakespeare Indoors, eds. Farah Karim-Cooper and Andrew Gurr (Cambridge University Press, 2013)
  • “Lines,” in 21st Century Approaches: Early Modern Theatricality, ed. Henry S. Turner (Oxford University Press, 2013)
  • “Marlowe’s End” in Marlowe in Context,eds. Emma Smith and Emily Bartels (Cambridge University Press, 2013)
  • “Character Acting,” in Special Effects on the Early Modern Stage, eds. Tiffany Stern and Farah Karim-Cooper (Arden, 2013)
  • cf. Marlowe,” in Richard II: New Critical Essays, ed. Jeremy Lopez (Routledge, 2012)
  • “Ophelia’s Wake” in The Afterlife of Ophelia, eds. Deanne Williams and Kaara Petersen (Palgrave, 2012)
  • “Crowd Control,” in Imagining the Audience in Early Modern Drama, 1558-1642, eds. Jennifer Low and Nova Myhill (Palgrave, 2011)
  • “Fractional Faustus” in Christopher Marlowe the Craftsman: Lives, Stage, and Page, eds. Sarah Scott and Michael Stapleton (Ashgate, 2010)
  • “The Spirit of ’76: Original Practices and Revolutionary Nostalgia” in New Directions for Renaissance Drama and Performance Studies, ed. Sarah Werner (Palgrave, 2010).
  • “The Weaver’s Dream: mnemonic scripts and memorial texts,” A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Critical Guide,ed. Regina Buccola (Continuum Press, 2010)
  • “‘The Tragedians of the City’? Q1 Hamlet and the settlements of the 1590s,” Shakespeare Quarterly, 57 (2006): 162-82.
  • “The Actor’s Inhibition: early modern acting and the rhetoric of restraint,” Renaissance Drama, 35 (2006): 83-112.

Ralph Alan Cohen

Ralph Alan Cohen

Gonder Professor of English; Co-Founder and Director of Mission, ASC
ASC, 20 S. New Street,; 885-5588
Rose Terrace 111; Ext. 7251

Ralph Alan Cohen is Co-Founder and Director of Mission at the American Shakespeare Center and Gonder Professor of Shakespeare and Performance and founder of the Master of Letters and Fine Arts program at Mary Baldwin University. He was project director for the building of the Blackfriars Playhouse — a recreation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre — in Staunton Virginia. He has directed 30 productions of plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, including America’s first professional production of Francis Beaumont’s The Knight of the Burning Pestle. He also directed the first revival of Thomas Middleton’s Your Five Gallants and co-edited the play for Oxford University Press’s Collected Works of Thomas Middleton. He is the author of ShakesFear and How to Cure It: A Handbook for Teaching Shakespeare. He twice edited special teaching issues of the Shakespeare Quarterly and has published articles on teaching Shakespeare as well as on Shakespeare, Jonson, and Elizabethan staging. He founded the Studies Abroad program at James Madison University, where he won Virginia’s award for outstanding faculty. He has frequently directed summer institutes on Shakespeare and staging sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 2001 he established the Blackfriars Conference, a bi-annual week-long celebration of early modern drama in performance. In 2008, Cohen and ASC co-founder Jim Warren earned the Commonwealth Governor’s Arts Award. In 2009 he was the Theo Crosby Fellow at Shakespeare’s Globe in London. He earned his undergraduate degree at Dartmouth College and his doctorate at Duke University and has honorary degrees from St. Lawrence University and Georgetown University.

Julie D. Fox

Asst. Director for Operations
Rose Terrace 116/15-A; Ext. 7237

Julie Fox has worked as an administrator and publicist for the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society, the James Madison University School of Theatre and Dance, the Beverly Street Studio School, and, since 2007, the Mary Baldwin Shakespeare and Performance graduate program. She earned a BA in English with minors in art and art history at JMU, and her Master of Art Education and PhD in Fine Arts degrees were awarded by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.

Matthew Davies

Matthew Davies

Assistant Professor
Rose Terrace 220; Ext. 7248

Matt Davies is an Assistant Professor in the MLitt/MFA Shakespeare and Performance program at Mary Baldwin and a professional actor and director of twenty years standing in the UK and the US. An associate director of renowned Shakespeare company Actors From The London Stage, Matt has been touring the States since 1999. He began his graduate studies at UT Austin in 2004 and defended his Ph.D dissertation in the summer of 2012. Earning three fellowships and a graduate teaching award while at UT, Matt also continued working professionally in the city’s vibrant theater community. Alongside UK national acting awards for two new works, Our Boys and Misconceptions, Matt has received numerous B. Iden Payne and Critics Circle awards and nominations for his classical work for Texas theater companies Austin Shakespeare, Hidden Room, and the Chekhov-based Breaking String, of which he is a founding member. Matt has directed both the classics and new works in London, Glasgow, Houston, and Austin.

Doreen Bechtol

Doreen Bechtol

MFA Company Manager; Director of Training
Rose Terrace 221B; Ext. 7261

Doreen Bechtol is the Master of Fine Arts Company Manager and Director of Training for the Shakespeare and Performance program at Mary Baldwin University. As a physical trainer, her approach blends several modes of training, such as: Suzuki and Viewpoints, acrobatics, dance, yoga, and basic calisthenics. As the director of the MFA Company’s devised show, she developed her brand of ensemble-based work for creating original performance through years of training with the SITI Company and with Joseph Chaikin, the founder of the Open Theater. She has directed and performed in over fifteen original devised performances, and she also wrote, directed, and edited a silent film based on The Winter’s Tale called For This Time We Pardon. She is a co-founding member of the Performers Exchange Project, a company dedicated to the creation of new and original work. She worked at the American Shakespeare Center (ASC) for over ten years both as a performer and choreographer in the Resident Troupe at the Blackfriars Playhouse, and as the Director of Youth Programs and College Prep, where she ran an internationally recognized Shakespeare theatre camp for teens. While at the ASC she also developed educational outreach programs, and led workshops examining the dynamic use of architecture in Shakespeare’s plays on the early modern stage. She remains the only actor at the ASC ever to have used the fly system when she entered from what is known as “the heavens” on a circus hoop as Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She received her MFA from Mary Baldwin University’s Shakespeare and Performance program, and her BFA in Theatre and Education at Western Michigan University.

Cassie Ash

 Dr. Cassie Ash is a director, dramaturg, and editor based in Washington, D.C.. Her assistant directing credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Mary Stuart at Folger Theatre, and Mary-Kate Olsen Is In Love at Studio Theatre 2nd Stage. At the ASC, she was Assistant Director/Tour Manager for the Stark Raving Sane Tour productions of Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, The Comedy of Errors, and A Christmas Carol, and directed Bring ’Em Back Alive
staged readings of Swetnam the Woman Hater and The Island Princess. In winter 2016, Cassie will be text coach for the Folger Consort production of The Second Shepherds’ Play,and in spring 2017 she will direct A King and No King for Brave Spirits Theatre.Dramaturgy credits include The Maid’s Tragedy and Arden of Faversham at Brave Spirits; Edward II and The Comedy of Errors for the Shakespeare Institute Players; King Lear, Love’s Labours Lost, and Der Bestrafte Brudermord for the Mary Baldwin College MFA program. Other theatre credits include the Guthrie Theater, the Barter Theatre, Faction of Fools,
the Royal Shakespeare Company Scholars’ Pitch program, Future Tenant Play Festival, and Jaq Bessell’s Performance Research Group.Her article “Activating Annotations, an Experiment with Proverbs” appears in the Spring 2016 Special Issue of Shakespeare Bulletin, which she co-edited with José A. Pérez Díez and Emma Smith. She is the compiler of the Census of Renaissance Drama for Research Opportunities in Medieval and Renaissance Drama, and has reviewed books for Early Theatre and Cahiers Élisabéthans. Future publications include The Plays of John Lyly (co-editor) for Digital Renaissance Editions. Cassie has been an invited speaker at the Folger Shakespeare Library’s Folger Fridays series, the Royal Shakespeare Company Summer School, and the Digital.Humanities @ Oxford Summer School. She holds MLitt and MFA degrees from Mary Baldwin College, and a PhD from The Shakespeare Institute at Stratford-upon-Avon, administered by the University of Birmingham.

Kerry Cooke

Dr. Kerry Cooke is a scholar of early modern studies, a bibliographer, and a pedagogue. Her research investigates the intersection between drama, prose, letter writing, and authorship in early modern England. She has published in notable journals, including the article “Addressing the Addressee” in Journal for Early Modern Studies, which examines the function of epistolary theory in Shakespeare’s comedies. She is currently working on her monograph Epistolary Authorship in Early Modern England – a study that uses a bibliographical analysis of letter-writing manuals and prose fiction to re-evaluate their interrelated development – which will be published in Palgrave’s series “Material Readings in Early Modern Culture” in 2017.

As this study indicates, bibliographical analysis informs her literary criticism, though it also contributes to the field of print culture and book history: she recently published a bibliographical analysis of incunabula and early sixteenth-century texts titled “Signature Style” in the international journal De Gulden Passer. In addition, she has contributed book reviews to journals such asCultural History and Cahiers Élisabéthans. 

Her pedagogical profile lists a broad range of teaching experience: she taught courses on pre-1800 literature and critical theory at the University of Birmingham (UK), as well as Shakespeare at The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (UK), and at Mary Baldwin College. In addition she has taught theatre history and performance analysis at James Madison University. She has given guest lectures at various universities and education centers, such as The American Shakespeare Center. She will give a plenary paper on “documents of death” at the “Cultures of Mortality” conference at Shakespeare’s Globe in London. She holds an
M.A. in Shakespeare Studies and a Ph.D. in English from The Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon, administered by the University of Birmingham.

Associated Mary Baldwin Faculty

Mary Hill Cole

Mary Hill Cole

Professor of History
Carpenter Academic 404; Ex. 7273

Mary Hill Cole is a Professor of History who teaches courses on Tudor-Stuart History in the graduate program, as well as a variety of European history courses in the undergraduate program. She is the author of the book, The Portable Queen: Elizabeth I and the Politics of Ceremony, which reexamines the queen’s progresses as an investment crucial to her female monarchy. Her other publications on progresses include chapters in The Progresses, Pageants, and Entertainments of Queen Elizabeth (eds. Archer, Goldring, and Knight) and Elizabeth I: ‘Always Her Own Free Woman’ (eds. Levin and Barrett-Graves). Her article “Maternal Memory: Elizabeth Tudor’s Anne Boleyn” appears in Elizabeth I and the ‘Sovereign Arts (eds. Stump and Levin). Her academic presentations include keynote addresses at U.S. and U.K. conferences devoted to Elizabethan progresses and the English Renaissance. She appeared on National Geographic’s television show Undercover History: Secrets of the Virgin Queen, and she has given numerous talks to the public on Tudor England. Currently Chair of the History Department, she also directs the summer study Virginia Program at Oxford. She has won three awards for teaching at Mary Baldwin and has been nominated for two Commonwealth of Virginia teaching awards. In addition to being chosen for a National Endowment for the Humanities Institute, she received an honorary membership in Phi Beta Kappa. She served on the Board of Directors of the American Shakespeare Center and helped to establish the MLitt/MFA program. She has also been a Visiting Professor at the University of Virginia, where she earned her PhD.

Theresa Southerington

Professor of Theatre
Deming 06; Ext. 7192

Extended Faculty

J.P. Scheidler

JP Scheidler

Combat and Movement Instructor

John Paul Scheidler, adjunct faculty member, teaches movement and stage combat classes in both the MLitt and MFA programs. John Paul is a professional actor, fight choreographer and director with membership in Actor’s Equity Assoc. and is a certified teacher with the Society of American Fight Directors. He has worked professionally with Heritage Rep. Theatre, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, The Blackfrairs Playhouse, NYC Opera and was a company member with Wellspring/Cori Terry and Dancers for 3 years. Education includes an MFA from the University of Virginia, Hap Ki Do, and a BA in Drama and Dance from Western Michigan University.

Kate Norris

Kate Eastwood Norris is an Equity actor with extensive stage credits from theatres all across America. She has won two Helen Hayes Awards and a Barrymore Award for her performances, and is a company member of DC’s Woolly Mammoth Theatre. Kate has presented lectures and given workshops for numerous colleges, universities and arts organizations on topics ranging from Shakespearean text interpretation to physical comedy. She is completing a master’s degree in engaged humanities at Pacifica Graduate Institute with a focus on comedy and its role in psyche and society.

Roslyn Knutson

Roslyn L. Knutson, Professor Emerita of English at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, is the author of Playing Companies and Commerce in Shakespeare’s Time and The Repertory of Shakespeare’s Company, 1594-1613. She has published on theater history in numerous journals, annuals, and essay collections.  Her current projects include a collection of essays entitled Christopher Marlowe, Theatrical Commerce, and the Book Trade, which she is co-editing with Kirk Melnikoff; and the wiki-style Lost Plays Database, which she co-edits with David McInnis.

John Harrell

John Harrell

Guest Instructor

John Harrell has been a resident actor at the Blackfriars Playhouse since 2002. He has appeared in nearly a hundred productions on its stage, and has played roles from Dogberry to Hamlet to 2nd Lord. He has a BA in English from James Madison University, and co-founded Foolery, a theatre company based in Charlottesville.

Allison Glenzer

As an actor with the American Shakespeare Center for nearly 15 years, Allison Glenzer  and has occupied more than 140 roles in 77 productions. Some of her favorites include Kate in The Taming of the Shrew; Adriana in The Comedy of Errors;  Friar Lawrence, Nurse,  and Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet; Thersides in Troilus and Cressida; The Countess in All’s Well That Ends Well; Jailer’s Daughter in The Two Noble Kinsmen; Mary in The 12 Dates of Christmas; Constance in King John; Speed in The Two Gentlemen of Verona; Emilia in Othello; Dol Common in The Alchemist; Hecate in The Witch; and Lady Macbeth in Macbeth. She reprised her role as Nurse in Romeo and Juliet with Shakespeare & Company (Massachusetts), directed by Tina Packer. Glenzer has also acted with Swine Palace Theater (Louisiana) and New Theater (Massachusetts) and she appeared in the national tour of A Body in Motion, a production based on the book Transcending: Reflections of Crime Victims. Glenzer earned her BA in English and speech communications at Clemson University and her MFA in acting at Louisiana State University.

René Thornton, Jr.

Rene Thornton

René Thornton Jr. has been a company member of the American Shakespeare Center since 2004. During that time he has appeared in over 60 productions, playing roles such as Othello, Leontes, Petruchio, Pericles, Benedick, and Doctor Faustus. Prior to his tenure at the ASC, he performed at the Oregon, Utah, and Wisconsin Shakespeare festivals, and other regional theaters around the country. He has worked on the faculty of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and taught in education programs for the ASC, as well as at the Oregon and Utah Shakespeare festivals. René holds an MFA from the Professional Theatre Training Program at the University of Delaware and a BFA in Acting from the University of Utah. He is also a member of the Actor’s Equity Association

Guest Faculty

Leslie Reidel

Leslie Reidel is Professor of Theatre at the University of Delaware’s Professional Theatre Training Program (PTTP) and The Resident Ensemble Players. Recent productions have included As You Like It, A Doll House, You Never Can Tell and The Homecoming. He has directed for Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Theatre, the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, New York’s Young Playwright’s Festival, and the Colorado, Utah, Ft. Worth, and Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festivals.  He taught acting, text analysis, scene study, and directing in the actor training program at Temple University for ten years prior to participating in the establishment of the PTTP at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he served on the faculty for eleven years before the program was relocated to the University of Delaware. Mr. Reidel has served as drama critic for the Philadelphia Review and Philadelphia After Dark and was the resident director for the Great American Children’s Theatre for fourteen years.  He is currently the co-artistic director of Philadelphia’s Enchantment Theatre Company whose productions have been seen across the United States. Recent work for Enchantment includes The Velveteen Rabbit, Harold and the Purple Crayon and Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. He has also staged pantomimes of The Firebird, Cinderella and Scheherazade that have been performed with major orchestras throughout the United States and Canada. He directed the New York workshop of The Magician, a new play with music, and recently received his fourth grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, which took him to Stratford, England for work on Shakespeare.  He is also a member of the International Shakespeare Conference. Mr. Reidel is a graduate of Muhlenberg College and received his M.F.A. from Temple University.

Jeremy West

Jeremy West

Jeremy West, adjunct faculty member, is a professional actor, director, and fight choreographer. He is director of the Theatre Emphasis Program at Stuart Hall School, Fencing Instructor at Mary Baldwin, and a veteran actor of the American Shakespeare Center where he has also served as a Fight Choreographer and Assistant Director for the 2012 Summer/Fall season. Other professional acting work includes: Shakespeare Theatre, D.C.; Virginia Shakespeare Festival; Virginia Stage Company; The Shakespeare Forum; Vanguard Theatre Company, U.K.; Next Stage Theatre; and Heritage Theatre Festival among others. Jeremy is recognized with the Society of American Fight Directors and the British Academy of Dramatic Combat in multiple weapons, of which 5 have earned him “recommendation” awards from the SAFD for excellence in the performance of stage combat. He has had placements for practical training at the Globe Theatre, London and academic research at the Shakespeare Institute Library in Stratford-Upon-Avon, and was a 2007 Fulbright Finalist for the U.K. He holds an MFA in Staging Shakespeare from Exeter University, U.K. and additional training with practitioners such as: Jane Lapotaire, Emma Thompson, Gyles Block, Ralph Zito, Stewart Pearce, and Michael Kahn.

Guest Artists and Academics

Resident faculty instruction is augmented with working ASC actors, and Staunton frequently hosts guest artists and academics from around the world.

Stephen Greenblatt, Harvard University
Tina Packer, Shakespeare & Co.
Tiffany Stern, Oxford University
Scott Kaiser, Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Andrew Gurr, University of Reading
Giles Block, Shakespeare’s Globe
Peter Holland, University of Notre Dame
Lisa Wolpe, LA Women’s Shakespeare
Gary Taylor, Florida State University
Tim Carroll, Shakespeare’s Globe
David Bevington, University of Chicago
Franchelle Stewart Dorn, University of Texas, Austin