ASC - Jim Warren


Jim Warren is the Artistic Director and Co-Founder of the American Shakespeare Center.  He directed ASC’s first show, Richard III (in which he played Buckingham), and, by the end of the 2016/17 artistic year he will have directed 120 ASC productions, including 31 of Shakespeare’s 38 plays.  Non-Shakespeare directing credits include:  last year’s Arms and the Man, Wittenberg, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (three times), The Roaring Girl, Tartuffe, The Santaland Diaries, his own adaptation of A Christmas Carol, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Saint Joan, She Stoops to Conquer (twice), The Knight of the Burning Pestle (twice), The CompleteWorks of Wllm Shakespeare (abridged), The Three Musketeers, Greater Tuna, Return to the Forbidden Planet (twice), Cyrano de Bergerac (twice), The Rehearsal, Wild Oats, The Fair Maid of the West, The Importance of Being Earnest, Tamburlaine the Great, ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore, The Lion in Winter, The Duchess of Malfi, and the world premiere of The Twelve Dates of Christmas by ASC alumnus Ginna Hoben.

Jim co-founded the ASC in 1988 as the traveling troupe:  Shenandoah Shakespeare Express.  Jim led the growth of the ASC touring season from fourteen performances of Richard III in Virginia to over two hundred performances of three full-length Shakespeare plays and one modern classic in six countries during 1995; in addition, by the end of the millennium, the ASC had performed in 47 US states, the District of Columbia, and one US territory.  In 2001, the ASC opened the Blackfriars Playhouse, the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre.

Jim has worn many administrative and artistic hats with the ASC throughout its quarter-of-a-century history.  Early on in the ASC’s development, Jim acted, directed, booked the shows, and ran the office out of his apartment.  Now he’s part of the management team that runs the company while he also oversees the artistic endeavors of the ASC and its Blackfriars Playhouse.  He conducts auditions across the country; casts actors for a touring troupe and two resident troupes; directs several plays each year; hires guest directors, and oversees the direction of all the shows in each repertory once the shows begin their performance runs.

In 2008, Governor Tim Kaine awarded Jim Warren and Ralph Alan Cohen the Virginia Governor’s Award for the Arts for their work with the American Shakespeare Center, which they founded in 1988. The Virginia Governor’s Awards for the Arts have been presented only three times, first by Governor John Dalton in 1979, by Governor Charles Robb in 1985, and most recently in 2000 by Governor Jim Gilmore. The 20 winners in 2008 were selected from 345 nominations, including artists, arts organizations, and supporters of the arts.