Joanne Zipay is a director, dramaturg, teacher, actor, writer, speaker, and producer.
She is best known as the founder and Artistic Director of NYC’s award-winning Judith Shakespeare Company (1995-2015). During her tenure, she expanded the boundaries for women in classical theatre, presenting over half of Shakespeare’s canon, including the entire 10-play history cycle, with groundbreaking gender-bending casting in every show.
Joanne received her MFA from the Old Globe Theatre/University of San Diego professional classical training program, and has an undergrad degree from SUNY Oneonta in Education (English) and Theatre. She has also studied with Stella Adler, John Barton, Patsy Rodenburg, Cicely Berry, Larry Moss, and Gail Cronauer.
She has taught at Pace University, City College of New York, Stella Adler Conservatory/NYU, National Shakespeare Conservatory, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Theatre for a New Audience, Dallas Theatre Center, Princeton Repertory Shakespeare Festival, SUNY Orange, Mount Saint Mary College, the Old Globe, and Collin College.
In 2008, she directed the Off-Broadway premiere of Timothy Findley’s Elizabeth Rex for Nicu’s Spoon Theatre, and in 2009 she was sponsored by the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of America to serve as Master of Verse for the Richmond VA outdoor summer production of Henry IV Part 1.
Originally from New York, her long career in the theatre has included teaching multiple subjects to students of all ages, backgrounds, and experience levels. Starting as an actor and teacher in Dallas in the 80’s, she later returned to New York, but has continued to return to the Dallas area in the summers to teach her popular Shakespeare intensive at Collin College, and to direct several shows there, including Comedy of Errors and The Taming of the Shrew. She has just relocated to Dallas once again as of the summer of 2019, and will continue her association as a teacher with Collin College.
As a director, she has also worked at Stephens College/Okoboji Summer Theatre (The Importance of Being Earnest), Pace University (Macbeth), Stella Adler Conservatory/NYU (Pericles, The Cover of Life, Time and the Conways, Marriage a la Mode, The Tempest), Children’s Shakespeare Theatre (Love’s Labours Lost, All’s Well That Ends Well, Much Ado About Nothing, The Learned Ladies, A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Theatre of the Open Eye (Twelfth Night), SUNY Oneonta (The Yeomen of the Guard), in addition to her above-mentioned work with Judith Shakespeare Company (25 productions), Collin College, and Off-Broadway.
Joanne’s words and work are featured in two recent books: Directing Shakespeare in America: Current Practices by Charles Ney (Arden, 2016), and Shakespeare and Gender in Practice by Terri Power (Palgrave/Macmillan 2015). She is also a writer, co-authoring Come, You Spirits!: The Supernatural World of Shakespeare – A Guide for Critical Thinking and Creative Activities (Puck Press, 2016), and as a speaker, she presents lectures on Anne Hathaway and other Shakespeare-related subjects.
In the summer of 2020, she will direct Into the Breeches! for Stage West.
“Ms. Zipay has a passion and mastery of the text which is awe-inspiring.”
--British Theatre Guide, 2002