Jeff Watkins: Artistic Director, Board President

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Jeff Watkins was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. He studied theater with Paul Baker at Trinity University where he received his degree in 1978. After training and working throughout the United States and Europe, Jeff brought his Elizabethan expertise to Georgia. Since 1984, he has been Artistic Director of the Atlanta Shakespeare Company (ASC).

ASC is a theater company dedicated to performing Original Practice productions of Shakespeare plays and other classics complete with live, Renaissance music, live organic sound effects and hand-made, period costumes. In 1990, Jeff designed and built America’s Only Shakespeare Tavern┬«. The Shakespeare Tavern is the southeast’s only Elizabethan playhouse. Simply put, it is a place to eat, drink, and nourish the soul. In 1995, under Jeff’s direction, ASC became the first American Company to perform on the stage of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, England. In 1999, Jeff oversaw ASC’s $2.1 million dollar capital campaign to purchase, renovate and expand ASC’s performance facility. In October of 1999, Jeff and ASC opened the doors on the New American Shakespeare Tavern, an even better Original Practice playhouse┬« that includes a Globe-inspired balcony. In September 2001, Jeff was recognized as a Lexus Leader of the Arts. In 2003, he staged a southeast first, directing four Shakespeare history plays in chronological order with the same company of actors playing their characters throughout all four plays. ASC’s “Shakespeare History Extravaganza” consisting of Richard II, Henry IV: Part 1, Henry IV, Part 2, and Henry V played to sold-out houses over a stunning five week period. ASC and this project received national attention with articles in the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times in addition to being named Critic’s Choice for “Best Theatrical Mini-Series” by the Creative Loafing. Jeff is a leader in the field of Original Practice performance in America.

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