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Lenox-based Shakespeare & Company will be artists-in-residence in the Theater Program at MIT for the entire 1996-97 academic year.
Tina Packer, the company's artistic director, will coordinate a program in which teaching members of Shakespeare & Company will join MIT's faculty and staff in conducting courses in acting, voice, speech and style. Ms. Packer will act as consulting director for the MIT Shakespeare Ensemble, replacing Kermit Dunkelberg, co-founder of Boston's Pilgrim Theater, who is leaving to complete graduate studies in theater. During the residency, Ms. Packer will present her play, Women of Will, and direct the Shakespeare Ensemble's spring production.
"Having members of Shakespeare & Company-committed to and trained in the techniques of verse, voice production and acting-working here on the MIT campus and in our studios will serve as an invaluable resource for the faculty, students and staff here," said Associate Provost for the Arts Alan Brody.
Ms. Packer said that she is "always thrilled" to share her insights into Shakespeare with young people, to "help nurture a love of the language, vision and humanity of the works and to further the educational mission of Shakespeare & Company."
Shakespeare & Company already has a history of collaboration with MIT. Its director of education, Kevin Coleman, and a founding company member, Kristin Linklater, have both directed productions of the MIT Shakespeare Ensemble.
Founded in 1978, Shakespeare & Company is a professional regional theater based at The Mount, the estate of novelist Edith Wharton in Lenox, MA. The company is committed to "teaching communities to create their own language through the Shakespearean text," Ms. Packer said, allowing Shakespeare's plays to take on a new accessibility for modern audiences. Known for its classical training methods which use Shakespeare's texts while exploring the sensory and emotional links between voice and movement, the ensemble's workshops and training programs have attracted hundreds of participants from around the world, including actors Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver, Rebecca DeMornay and Richard Dreyfuss.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 15, 1996.