Gordon in the News: last updated 07/20/2016

BCA Celebrates 10 Years: Critically Acclaimed Theatre Artist/Alumna to Speak and Direct Greek Comedy

August 3, 2009

Jo Kadlecek
Office of College Communications

WENHAM, MA—From her important production of Henry VI at the Joseph Papp Public Theater in New York City to her work as the founding director of Compagnia de' Colombari—an international theater company based in Orvieto, Italy—critically acclaimed director Karin Coonrod ’75 has never wandered far from her love of theatre. And Gordon College.
Now Coonrod will bring her expertise and enthusiasm back to the Wenham campus as part of the 10-year anniversary celebration of the Barrington Center for the Arts (BCA) and in partnership with the Center for Christian Studies. She will present a unique lecture on the significance of the Greek comic chorus using scenes from Aristophanes’ The Birds. Gordon College theatre students who participated in her four-day summer workshop will perform scenes under her direction. Coonrod’s talk and performance is free and open to the public on Wednesday, August 26, at 7 p.m. in the BCA Margaret Jensen Theatre, Exit 17 from Route 128 on the North Shore of Boston.

“Our entire focus this year is comedy, so what better way to start than with a Greek comic chorus?” said Jeff Miller, professor and chair of theatre arts. “To have Karin be a part of this is exciting and fitting in many ways.”

Coonrod—who is a lecturer at the Yale School of Drama—was also an integral part of Gordon’s dedication of the BCA in 1999, when her production of three stories by Flannery O’Connor, developed at the prestigious Iowa Writers Workshop, was first produced. Last April the play was presented in Rome for the Flannery O’Connor conference hosted by the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross.

“As a theatre artist Karin is exceptional, attracting the acclaim and invitations of world renowned acting companies and schools,” said John Skillen, director of the Gordon in Orvieto program where Coonrod directs re-imagined medieval mystery plays. “As an alumna Karin is an exemplary example of one who pays attention to the moments and the people who are generally never noticed, including both in her work. She brings invaluable insight to our campus and community.”

Coonrod has also been a guest artist/teacher at Stanford, Harvard, NYU, University of Iowa, Fordham, and California Institute of the Arts. Considered "prodigiously inventive" by The New York Times and "clear-eyed imaginative intelligence" by The New York Observer, Coonrod’s work integrates a range of periods, styles and casts, including the audience as participants in some productions.

She is the founding director of the critically acclaimed Arden Party Theatre Company in New York City where she has produced, directed and designed texts by classical greats, including Shakespeare, Beckett, Wilde, Brecht and Sophocles.  And Coonrod won Encore’s Outstanding Director award for her direction of Roger Vitrac's Victor or Children Take Over, and was invited by the Joseph Papp Public Theater to direct Shakespeare’s Henry VI as part of its long-term project of producing the entire Shakespearean corpus. Coonrod has an M.F.A. from Columbia University.

For more information on this or any of the events scheduled for the Barrington Center for the Arts anniversary celebration, please contact the Office of College Communications, 978.867.4752.


Gordon College is a Christian college of the liberal arts and sciences on Boston’s North Shore. The College offers majors in 37 fields and has graduate programs in education and music education. Leading the way in Christian college merit, Gordon is nationally ranked for its excellence in academics and its role in character building. These achievements recognize Gordon as one of the nation’s top Christian colleges