The board, staff, and artists of Maryland Shakespeare Festival announced today that Founding Artistic Director Becky Kemper will be passing the leadership of the company to the Artistic Committee, an ensemble of six of the company’s senior actors and directors chaired by founding company member Shannon Parks.
Since the company’s inception in 1999, Becky Kemper has spearheaded Maryland Shakespeare Festival’s growth from a bold idea into a staple of the cultural life of both Frederick and the state of Maryland. The company’s ensemble of professional actors, directors, and designers from around the country brings lively productions of Shakespeare’s best-loved plays to outdoor venues throughout Maryland, free of charge, as well as to middle schools where engaging workshops teach young people to interact with the classics as living and relevant stories.
The new leadership model follows the original practices of William Shakespeare and, according to Ms. Kemper, reflects his own “sharer” company model. She said, “It’s a model that has proven its merit in business as well as art. Shakespeare’s company was one of the most successful and artistic theater companies of all time, and I cannot imagine a better group of artist managers than Maryland Shakespeare Festival’s to take on this grand endeavor.”
“Maryland Shakespeare Festival is today a locally celebrated beacon of the Maryland arts community,” said Board President Judy Rice. “The board thanks Becky Kemper for her vision and artistry that made this possible, and we look forward to welcoming her back as a guest artist and board member.”
In announcing the leadership change, Judy Rice said, “MSF is already known for its exploration of Shakespeare’s original practices. This leadership model is an extension of our traditional way of playing Shakespeare, as a truly Shakespearean company.”
Becky Kemper is relocating to San Francisco, where she has been on sabbatical from MSF since June as a visiting artist at the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival.
Maryland Shakespeare Festival is supported by grants from the Maryland State Arts Council and the Frederick Arts Council, agencies dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive.
For more information about Maryland Shakespeare Festival, please call (301) 668-4090 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.