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Shakespeare & Company

STA Honors Packer's Lifetime Achievements

Shakespeare & Company logoTina Packer, founding artistic director of Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Massachusetts, has been honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Shakespeare Theatre Association (STA). She received the Douglas N. Cook Lifetime Achievement Award while attending the 2019 STA Conference in Prague last month. The award honors STA members who have made and are still making significant contributions to the field of Shakespeare theater.

"It was one of the greatest pleasures of my life to introduce Tina for the presentation of the Cook Award at the Lobkowicz Palace at the STA annual banquet in Prague," STA Executive Director Patrick Flick said in a Shakespeare & Company press release. "The first sentence of my introduction was, 'This year, the Douglas N. Cook Award goes to the woman who founded Shakespeare & Company.' I didn't get any further into my speech as the entire room broke into a roaring applause. Tina Packer is a woman who needs no introduction. I am proud to call her my friend and colleague."

Production photo of Tina Packer in Women of Will.
Tina Packeer performs in Women of Will, her show with Nigel Gore exploring the roles of women in Shakespeare's Play. Photo by Matthew Murphy, Women of Will.

"Tina has been a profound inspiration to countless actors and directors for decades," Shakespeare & Company Artistic Director Allyn Burrows said in the release. "She shares her expertise, expansive knowledge, and deep love of the craft freely, and for that we can all count ourselves the luckiest of beneficiaries. Most of all, it is a joy to be in her company, because she is a humanist in the truest sense of the word. Many thanks to STA for this worthy recognition of her."

Packer has directed all of William Shakespeare's plays, some several times, acted in eight of them, and taught the entire canon at over 30 colleges, including Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and New York University. At Columbia University, she taught in the MBA program for four years, resulting in the publication of Power Plays: Shakespeare's Lessons in Leadership and Management with Deming Professor John Whitney for Simon and Schuster. She wrote the children's book Tales from Shakespeare for Scholastic and received the Parent's Gold Medal Award. Most recently Packer's book Women of Will was published by Knopf, and she has been performing Women of Will with Nigel Gore, in New York, Mexico, England, The Hague, China, and across the United States. She's the recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees, including the Commonwealth Award.

"Tina Packer is a force of nature," Guy Roberts, founding artistic director of the Prague Shakespeare Company, said in the release. "She has influenced and inspired generations of theater makers and theater goers. Tina has been a major part of the Prague Shakespeare Company for many years and we hope many more to come. I can think of no better ambassador for Shakespeare than Tina Packer and no better recipient of the STA Lifetime Achievement Award."

STA is a 27-year-old member service organization that convenes annually to provide support and mentorship as well as share best practices with colleagues from within the United States and internationally. The association was established to provide a forum for the artistic, managerial, and educational leadership for theaters primarily involved with the production of Shakespeare's works; to discuss issues and methods of work, resources, and information; and to act as an advocate for Shakespearean productions and training. Membership currently includes 124 theaters and 30 associate members.

"The selection of Tina for this award had nothing to do with age or stage in her career, but rather the impact her life and work has had on so many others," Flick said. "Her grace onstage and off, her willingness to share of herself sans reservation with not only STA colleagues but with students and other actors, and her sense of herself in the world has inspired so many of us. Hers is the essential spirit of the Douglas N. Cook award personified."

STA created the Douglas N. Cook Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015 to honor members who have made and are still making significant contributions to the field. It is awarded periodically when the executive committee feels it is warranted. The first Award went to Fred C. Adams of the Utah Shakespeare Festival for his monumental achievements there.  The second award was coincidentally presented to R. Scott Phillips, also of the Utah Shakespeare Festival, upon the occasion of his retirement in 2017.

February 20, 2019

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