Ian Gallanar, founder of Chesapeake Shakespeare Company,
has been elected president of the Shakespeare Theatre Association (STA).  For Baltimore and Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, this is a leap onto the international stage and a tremendous leadership opportunity: The future of classical theater depends on the innovation, excitement, and accessibility of STA member theater companies like ours.

In the international spotlight:  Ian Gallanar and Chesapeake Shakespeare Company

PRAGUE (January 12, 2019)—Ian Gallanar, founder and artistic director of Chesapeake Shakespeare Company in Baltimore, was elected president of the Shakespeare Theatre Association (STA) today at the international organization’s 30th conference, taking place in the Czech Republic.

The association’s members are the artistic directors, managing directors, and education directors of nearly 150 theaters worldwide dedicated to producing the works of William Shakespeare.

“Live performances of Shakespeare are among our culture’s richest experiences,” Mr. Gallanar said. “It’s such a privilege to help share the conversation about great art with the entire world. It is an unbelievable honor for me to help steward this international organization. The Shakespeare Theatre Association is a remarkable peer-to-peer network for the leaders of the world’s Shakespeare theaters. I am so honored to be able to serve STA as its president over the next two years.”

As a resource for leaders of classical theaters, the association examines the practice, presentation, relevance, interpretation, and application of Shakespeare’s plays on public stages, in universities, and in middle- and high-school classrooms where theater artists support and supplement lessons in literature, language arts, and drama. Though their approaches and languages differ, association members are united in their commitment to explore, question, and even challenge the cultural, social, and political content in Shakespeare’s plays as they cast and direct them.

Many are innovators, pushing the boundaries of the performing arts on and off the stage. While some are devoted to original practices in classical theater, others are exploring and creating modern uses for Shakespeare’s words and works. Many are harnessing the power of the performing arts—and Shakespeare’s plays— in off-stage settings where storytelling creates opportunities for shared experience, common ground, and community.

The association’s annual conference is where the theater directors discuss leadership and management issues, and their nontraditional work in economically disadvantaged populations, in therapeutic programs, in prisons, in programs serving military veterans, in the social justice arena, and beyond.

Prince William Lobkowicz welcomed STA members to the Czech Republic.  Composer Patrick Doyle, who has often collaborated with Kenneth Branagh,  delivered an address about his music for Shakespeare films.  Topics addressed by members at the 2019 conference included how theaters use classical plays in schools to address issues such as bullying; casting and diversity;  and reflections on how America’s #MeToo movement may affect the public performance of some of Shakespeare’s plays.

“I am proud to represent Baltimore and the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company as part of the leadership of such an important group,” Mr. Gallanar said. His involvement with the association began in 1997 when he worked with Minnesota Shakespeare in the Park. In 2002, Mr. Gallanar founded Chesapeake Shakespeare Company in Maryland. Today, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company performs year-round in a Baltimore landmark building and each summer outdoors in the Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park in Ellicott City, Md. Current projects for Mr. Gallanar include directing Henry IV, Parts I and II, which will be presented in repertory in Baltimore.

During a conference session on theater leadership last week, Mr. Gallanar and Chesapeake Shakespeare Company’s Managing Director Lesley Malin told their peers about their company’s growth and success. Chesapeake Shakespeare Company was the conference host in 2017, introducing theater directors from around the world to the thriving arts scene in Baltimore.  Also with Mr. Gallanar in Prague are trustees of Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, representing the Baltimore business community’s support for the arts:  our board’s President Laura Boydston, and Trustees Scott Helm and Earle W. Pratt III.

Shakespeare Theatre Association member theaters and festivals large and small include Shakespeare’s Globe (England), Folger Theatre (United States), Stratford Festival (Canada), Bremer Shakespeare Company (Germany), Fundación Shakespeare Argentina (Argentina), Perchance Theatre at Cupids (Newfoundland), Teatro Shakespeariano all’aperto Licinium (Italy), and Seoul Shakespeare Company (South Korea), to name just a few. The 2019 conference host is Prague Shakespeare Company.   

Chesapeake Shakespeare Company was the host of the January 2017 conference in Baltimore, which introduced our city’s arts scene and our landmark theater to directors of theaters from around the world.   

PHOTOS  (from the top):  Ian Gallanar, delivering his first address to the membership of Shakespeare Theatre Association, during a banquet in the Lobkowicz Palace in Prague. 

At the association’s banquet,  a table of luminaries: Ian Gallanar with Irina Brook, Director of Theatre National de Nice (center), and Tina Packer, Founding Artistic Director of Shakespeare & Company, Lenox, Mass.

Ian with Shakespeare theater leaders Jay Rood, Lisa Tromovitch, Lisa Wolpe, and Patrick Spottiswoode.

Thank yous for departing STA President Melissa Nicholson, Executive Director of Gamut Theatre Group, Harrisburg, Pa.

Conference attendees approaching Prague Castle, and greetings at the conference from Prince William in Lobkowicz Palace, site of the banquet. (That’s Ian, seated front row.)

Lesley is seated with composer Patrick Doyle, a longtime collaborator of actor-director Kenneth Branagh. Mr. Doyle composed the film scores for Henry V (1989), Sense and Sensibility (1995), Hamlet (1996), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), Eragon (2006) and many others. His keynote presentation wowed the STA conference attendees.

Ian Gallanar with our Managing Director Lesley Malin in the palace.

Tina Packer, Founding Artistic Director of Shakespeare & Company, Lenox, Mass., receiving of one of STA’s top honors.

Patrick Spottiswoode of Shakespeare’s Globe, carrying his 2017 Baltimore STA conference bag in Prague: He says he takes it everywhere! Go, Baltimore!

Ian Gallanar at the palace with Mia Boydston, Lesley Malin, and composer Patrick Doyle.



CREDITS: Ian Gallanar’s portrait by Tamara Hoffer Photography.   Photos in Prague by Lesley Malin, Laura Boydston, and Ian Gallanar for Chesapeake Shakespeare Company.








Patrick Flick, Executive Director, Shakespeare Theatre Association,

Jean Thompson, Director of Communications, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, 410-244-8571, ext. 106 office and 443-845-6130 cell.