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Jan Powell

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Dr. Jan Powell is a theatre director, public speaking coach, scholar, actor and singer with a special interest in Shakespeare, music theatre, original work, and English-language classics.

Zoe V. Speas, Ingrid Alli in MACBETH.
Richmond Shakespeare. Photo credit: B.J. Wilkinson

Now serving as Artistic Director for
Richmond Shakespeare,
Jan has been the Artistic Director of the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, Founding Artistic Director of the Tygres Heart Shakespeare Company

(resident in the Portland Center for

the Performing Arts), and past president of the Shakespeare Theatre Association. 

She’s directed most of Shakespeare’s works including all the history plays, and will no doubt make it through the entire canon, given enough time and rope.


Davi Santos in MARAT/SADE.

Theatre 54, Off-Off Broadway, NYC.

Photo credit: Kim Shipley Photography

  Most recently, she directed MACBETH for Richmond

  Shakespeare (Virginia); MARAT/SADE at Theatre 54 in NYC

  (Off-Off Broadway), and THE TAMING OF THE SHREW at

  Kingsmen Shakespeare in Los Angeles. Other regional

  directing credits include the American Shakespeare Center,

  Mendocino Shakespeare Festival, San Francisco

  Shakespeare Festival, Boston’s Stoneham Theatre, Nevada

  Repertory Theatre, Artists Repertory Theatre, Chamber Opera

  Oregon, Stark Raving Theatre, Portland Baroque Orchestra,

                                                        and Third Angle New Music Ensemble, among others.

                          Jan has also been a public speaking and executive

                          coach for over twenty-five years, working with business

                          professionals of all kinds, ranging from political

                          candidates to board chairs, executive directors,

                          attorneys, and ministers. 

Caroline Kinsolving, Brett Ellliott in
Kingsmen Shakespeare
Photo credit: Brian Stetham


May-June 2012: Red Light Winter garners great reviews!

Theater review: 'Red Light Winter' features strong performances

By Holly Johnson, Special to The Oregonian 

"Director Jan Powell has carefully measured each beat of movement and motive of this long but compelling production of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize finalist.

The cast is excellent, and if the play doesn't appeal to you, the actors are worth seeing for their merit alone. Powell has them working seamlessly together as a sort of esthetic unit. Bray, an actor who has worked in major musicals in Portland, finds all the right nuances for Matt, who is as powerful and compelling when he listens as when he speaks. 

Allard grabs the role of Davis and runs with it, careful not too make him too appealing. Yet his villainy has a quirky tenderness to it when it comes to Matt, although he feels no guilt in purloining Matt's girlfriend. 

Gartner embraces the complexity and mystery of her mutable, uneven character: Most impressive is her marvelously quiet, statuesque presence in the first act...Her Christina is a credible, even memorable, object of desire.

For full review and link to article, see the "Reviews" tab.

March-August 2012: Interim Artistic Director, Richmond Shakespeare

Jan Powell named Interim Artistic Director 

Jan Powell

Richmond Shakespeare announces Jan Powell, PhD as Interim Artistic Director through summer 2012. Powell's official start date is March 15. 


Powell is based in Oregon, where she was founder and Artistic Director of the Tygres Heart Shakespeare Company in Portland, and where she received her PhD in Theater Arts from the University of Oregon in Eugene. Her professional résumé includes serving as the Artistic Director of the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival from 2007 through 2008, and past president of the international Shakespeare Theatre Association. She has extensive experience in education, training and professional development, theater consulting, community engagement, and leadership in the professional theater community. Powell's artistic credits are also extensive, most recently as director of Richmond Shakespeare's highly acclaimed production of Macbeth last month in the Gottwald Playhouse at CenterStage. Other recent direction includesMarat/Sade at Theatre 54 in New York City, and The Taming of the Shrew for Kingsmen Shakespeare in Los Angeles.


Board President Brendan Williamson expressed enthusiastic support for the appointment. He said, "Richmond Shakespeare is fortunate to have someone of Jan's talent and credentials to lead the organization during this period of transition. I am confident her experience will be invaluable to our efforts to position Richmond Shakespeare for a successful future, and I am looking forward to watching the positive impact she has already had on the company and the community carried forward into the coming months."


June-Aug 2012. Interim Artistic Director for Richmond Shakespeare Festival at Agecroft Hall.

May-June 2012. Directed RED LIGHT WINTER for Bad Badger Productions in Portland.

Apr-May 2012. Appeared as the Baroness in CANDIDE for Portland Opera.

Jan-Feb 2012. Directed MACBETH for Richmond Shakespeare in Richmond Virginia.

Aug-Dec 2011. Adjunct faculty at Linfield College, George Fox University, and Pacific University, directing CHEKHOV ONE-ACTS (The Bear and The Proposal) and STEEL MAGNOLIAS, and teaching Acting and Theatre History.

Jun-July 2011: Directed THE TAMING OF THE SHREW for Kingsmen Shakespeare in Los Angeles.

Apr-May 2011: Directed MARAT/SADE for Theatre 54 in NYC (Off-Off Broadway)

For details click:

Theatre Direction

Public Speaking


Coaching Actors and Singers



For more, see Bio or Full CV.

Reviews & Testimonials

"...before long the lights turn red, passions ignite and violence blazes... For this "Macbeth," visiting director Jan Powell conjures a world of breathtaking intensity. ...she (Powell) engages the audience in every moment of the play's two hours..." - Susan Haubenstock, Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The company now has lured Oregonian Jan Powell for "The Tragedy of Macbeth," and she's produced a lean, mean and downright spooky staging of the infamous Scottish play that will keep viewers' attentions riveted... It is Powell and her innovative direction that make this Macbeth a winner.
-David Timberline, STYLE WEEKLY, Richmond, VA.
Director Jan Powell succeeds beautifully in her first production for the Kingsmen Shakespeare Company.
- Jenny Lower, VC Reporter.

One more night to see "Shrew" -best crowds in history of Festival - @KingsmenShakes tweet, Los Angeles 

Director Jan Powell...[has created] the best production of the season, with a wonderful blend of creativity and discipline. 
- Charles Culbertson, News Leader, Shenandoah Valley
(A Midsummer Night's Dream, American Shakespeare Center, Staunton, VA)


The Jan Powell Studio
321 SE Alder St.
Portland, OR 97214