Women of Will

Women of Will

By Tina Packer

Women of Will 
October 24 – November 10, 2019

One Night Only Performance Events, November 6-10

Directed by Eric Tucker
Featuring Nigel Gore and Tina Packer*


Part masterclass / part performance: Funny, fierce, deep and accessible, Women of Will is the bonus content to Shakespeare’s plays that you have been searching for. Join master Shakespearean actor/dramaturg, Tina Packer as she conjures up and deconstructs William Shakespeare’s most famous female characters. Ace actor Nigel Gore plays the Romeo to Ms. Packer’s Juliet, the Petruchio to her Kate.

One Night Only Performance Events

Each “One Night Only” performance events takes a deep dive into the character development of Shakespeare’s more well-known women.

Wednesday, November 6
Warrior Woman, from Violence to Negotiation From Joan of Arc and Margaret in
Henry VI to Elizabeth in Richard III.

Thursday, November 7
The Sexual Merges with the Spiritual; New Knowledge reveals Shakespeare moving from projecting onto women to writing from within women, as if he were a woman himself, illustrated by Romeo and Juliet.

Friday, November 8
Living Underground or Dying to Tell the Truth Women become the voice of truth, but they either die for telling the truth or they disguise themselves as men. This performance juxtaposes scenes of As You Like It with Othello.

Saturday, November 9 
Chaos Is Come Again, the Lion Eats the Wolf Women desire the same power as men in society in with
Macbeth as the exemplary play.

Sunday, November 10
The Maiden Phoenix; The Daughter Redeems the Father  sees Shakespeare turn to women as the engines of social and cosmic healing.
Pericles is this topic’s featured play, and the production concludes with “The last woman Shakespeare portrayed,” says Packer, the infant Elizabeth in Cranmer’s prophecy from Henry VIII.

**Regular Season Ticket holders may choose to see Women of Will or one of the one night only events as part of their package. Season tickets holders get 20% single ticket prices for additional purchased performances.

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Together Packer and Gore’s stage alchemy creates the Shakespeare experience that Ben Brantley of The New York Times calls, “Marvelous!” and Jennifer Farrar of Associated Press hails as “Boundless and irresistible!”


Tina Packer* (actor/playwright) is the founding artistic director of Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Massachusetts. She has directed most of Shakespeare’s plays (some of them several times), acted in seven of them (never when directing) and taught the whole canon one way or another at over thirty colleges in the U.S., including Harvard, M.I.T. and NYU. At Columbia, she taught in the M.B.A. program for four years, resulting in the publication of her piece, Power Plays: Shakespeare’s Lessons in Leadership and Management with Deming Professor John Whitney. For Scholastic, she wrote Tales from Shakespeare, a children’s book and recipient of the Parent’s Gold Medal Award. She began her career in England, having trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where she won the Ronson Award for most Outstanding Actor. Following this, she became an associate artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company, performing at Stratford, in the West End, and on tour. She has worked at The Royal Court in London; Glasgow, Edinburgh, Leicester, Coventry and Hornchurch repertory companies. For BBC Television, she played Dora to Ian McKellen’s David Copperfield, was a love interest for Patrick Troughton’s Doctor Who (which she has never lived down), and also performed in several other TV plays and series. She came to the U.S. in 1974 when the Ford Foundation funded an eleven-month project for her to research the visceral roots of Elizabethan theater with five master teachers (Kristin Linklater, John Barton, B.H. Barry, John Broome, Trish Arnold), fifteen actors, and three managers. Out of these projects led by Tina throughout England and the US, her work has translated into the aesthetic and practical methods that Shakespeare and Company is based on, and still practices to this day. Tina then received two grants from the Ford Foundation to travel the world, looking at the relationship of mind, body, sacred texts, stand-up comedy, voice, and actor–audience relationship in her studies. The current company was founded in 1978 at Edith Wharton’s derelict mansion in Lenox, far from the cities of New York and London. Tina has returned to acting from time to time, most notably as Edith Wharton and a two-year stretch as Shirley Valentine, playing in Lenox, Boston and Louisville, and Lettice in Lettice and Lovage. For the Boston Shakespeare Company, she directed a season of twelve Irish plays, including the U.S. premiere of Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching towards the Somme. She has received the state of Massachusetts’s highest honor, The Commonwealth Award, and has six honorary degrees (which gives her great pleasure as she never went to regular college). During the mid-90’s, Tina conceived the idea for Women of Will, and subsequently received grants from the Guggenheim and Bunting fellowships to fund the project. This collaboration resulted in its first incarnation, at that time. In 2009, desperate to get back to WoW, Tina gave up the artistic directorship—though Shakespeare & Company remains her creative home and passion. She began work, first with Nigel Gore and then joined by Eric Tucker, to bring Women of Will to its present form of one Overview and five separate performances. This is Tina’s seventh creative collaboration with Nigel (including playing George and Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) and she would like to acknowledge the power of their work together over the past six years. The book of Women of Will was published by Knopf. 

Nigel Gore* (actor) played the title role in Macbeth and Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. He received the Eliot Norton Award for Outstanding Actor for his portrayal of George in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at the Publick Theatre in Boston. Recent work includes Richard in Richard III at Colorado Shakespeare Festival; Squeers, Hawke in Nicholas Nickleby at Lyric Stage Boston (Eliot Norton Outstanding actor nomination); Claudius in Hamlet at Prague Shakespeare Festival; Volumnia in Coriolanus at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester, UK; Mark Antony in Antony and Cleopatra; Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night (both with Shakespeare & Co.). Film: Last Knights. TV: seasons two and three of Brotherhood on Showtime. Mr. Gore is a founding member of AUREA, a performance ensemble whose mission is to explore the relationship between music and the spoken word. He is a published poet.

Eric Tucker (director) Directed Bedlam’s Sense and Sensibility at Portland Center Stage last season. – Off Broadway: Saint Joan (NY TimesBack Stage critics pick), The LibertineThe Belle of Belfast86’d. Off-Off Broadway: CloserThe Libertine16 East. Regional: Hamlet (with William Hurt, Stella Adler Theatre, Los Angeles); Mate (The Actors’ Gang, L.A.); Macbeth (nominated Best Overall Production and Best Director by LA Weekly); Uranium + Peaches (with Ed Asner, L.A.); Pinter’s MirrorBad DatesWomen of Will: The Complete Journey (Shakespeare and Co., Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Prague Shakespeare Festival, The Nora Theatre); Women of Will: The Overview (Shakespeare and Co. and Mercury Theatre in Colchester, England); Twelfth NightRomeo and Juliet (Trinity Repertory Company); Saint Joan (L.A. Critics Circle top 10); Antony and Cleopatra, HamletMeasure for Measure (Redlands Shakespeare Festival); Man of La ManchaSanctuary (North American premiere, Veterans Center for the Performing Arts); Watership Down (world premiere, Burning Coal); MacbethCloser (The Gamm); The Voyage of the Carcass (world premiere, Brown Playwrights Festival); Angels in America Parts I & IIThe TempestMuch Ado About NothingRichard III (Beowulf); The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (University of Utah). Eric’s Shakespearean acting roles include Hamlet, Iago, Henry V, Macbeth, Romeo, Malvolio, Orsino, Prince Hal, Master Ford, Benedick, Orlando, Laertes and Demetrius. Eric’s production of Shaw’s Saint Joan will return for another Off-Broadway run in February of 2013, running in rep with Hamlet, and then move to the Olney Theatre outside Washington D.C. Eric received his M.F.A. from the Trinity Rep Conservatory, and has been a proud member of Actors’ Equity since 1996. He resides in New York City, where he is the artistic director of Bedlam Theatre. Eric’s versions of St. Joan and Hamlet are currently performing at the Lynn Redgrave Theatre to enormous critical acclaim.

Appears as courtesy of Actor's Equity

Portland Playhouse Apprentice Company Member

Former Portland Playhouse Apprentice Company Member

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