International Shakespeare Center Santa Fe Advisory Board
ISC Santa Fe is honored that the following internationally renowned artists and scholars have graciously joined our Advisory Board. Their commitment to excellence in their fields inspires us as we work toward making Santa Fe a destination for all things Shakespeare.
Dr. Robert Benedetti, as President of Ted Danson’s Anasazi Productions at Paramount Studios and as an independent screenwriter and producer, has won three Best Picture Emmys, two Humanitas Prizes, and a Peabody Award for producing Miss Evers’ Boys and A Lesson Before Dying, both for HBO, among other films. He holds a Ph.D. from Northwestern University and was an early member of Chicago’s Second City Theater. He served as the Chairman of the Acting Program at Yale University, and was Dean of Theater at CalArts. In 2012, Dr. Benedetti was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Theater at the Kennedy Center. Among his many distinctions, he is now a member of ISC’s Advisory Board. For more information, please see: RobertBenedetti.com
Rodney Cottier, Head of the Drama School at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA) has joined the ISC Advisory Board. Mr. Cottier has more than thirty years’ experience as a stage director and has trained some of the finest actors currently working, including Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, The Imitation Game, Star Trek Into Darkness), Ruth Wilson (The Affair, Saving Mr. Banks), Chiwetel Ejiofor (The Martian, 12 Years a Slave), Anna Maxwell Martin (Bleak House, Philomena), and David Oyelowo (Selma, Nightingale). The ISC is bringing Mr. Cottier, along with two colleagues, to Santa Fe in February when he will offer a workshop on the First Folio and King Lear. For more information, please see: London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
Ben Crystal is an English actor, author, and producer, best known for his work on performing and promoting Shakespeare in “Original Pronunciation,” or OP. He is the artistic director of “Passion in Practice” and its Shakespeare Ensemble, and is the co-author of Shakespeare’s Words (Penguin 2002) and The Shakespeare Miscellany (Penguin 2005) with his father, David Crystal.
Natalie Elliot is a faculty member at St. John’s College, where she teaches cross-disciplinary courses in classics, history of science, mathematics, English literature, philosophy, and music. Natalie’s research focuses on early modern literary works that explore the cultural and philosophical significance of scientific discovery and technological change. Her past research has uncovered Francis Bacon’s mythological teaching on life-extension and explored the conflicts between classical tragedy and scientific progress. At present, she is at work on a book that explains Shakespeare’s poetic engagement with early modern science. Natalie holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of North Texas, where she specialized in political theory and focused on the study of politics through literature. In addition to her appointment at St. John’s College, Natalie has held research and teaching positions at The Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics and American Institutions, Indiana University’s Hutton Honors College, and Southern Methodist University.
Megan’s roles include associate director, director of stage and film productions, drama teacher, actor, stage manager, and costume designer. Her regional work includes acting with The Shout and The Hen Haus in Oakland, CA; costume and fashion design with Armor Sans Anguish Fashion Design in Berkeley; and working with the Flux Factory artist collective in New York City.
A local theater artist since 2001, Megan has instructed children and adults in performing arts and drama and directed more than fifty plays and several film productions. She has worked in the Santa Fe Public Schools’ Artists in the Schools program and is co-founder of the Santa Fe artist collective Meow Wolf. Megan plays the lead character Piper Pastore in the narrative aspect for Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return large-scale, multimedia exhibit.
Dr. Lynn Robson of Oxford University in the U.K. has also joined the ISC Advisory Board. Her primary area of research is in early modern print culture, and she teaches a range of early modern topics, including Shakespeare. She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in the U.K. Dr. Robson received the prestigious “Oxford University Teaching Award” and also was voted “Most Acclaimed Lecturer in the Humanities” at Oxford. On a recent visit to Santa Fe, Dr. Robson led a brilliant discussion with the Santa Fe Shakespeare Close Readers on Othello. For more information on Dr. Robson, please see: Lynn Robson.
Director and actor, Mark Rylance, double 2016 Golden Globe nominee for the movie Bridge of Spies and the PBS Masterpiece series Wolf Hall, as well as the Artistic Director at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London for its first ten years, was the first artist to lend his expertise to the ISC. Mr. Rylance’s career spans film, television, stage, and publishing. He has been awarded the Olivier Award, a British Academy Television Award (BAFTA), Tony Award, and Emmy, among others. From January to March of 2016, Nice Fish, a play he co-wrote and stars in will be on stage in Boston and New York City. For more information, please see: Mark Rylance.
Krishnan Venkatesh studied English literature at Magdalene College, Cambridge, and subsequently spent more than four years in research on Shakespeare at the University of Muenster, Germany, as a wissenschaftlicher mitarbeiter for the great Shakespeare scholar Marvin Spevack. From 1986–89 he taught literature and philosophy at Shanxi University, People’s Republic of China. Both his personal and academic background make him well suited to being a “bridge” between various traditions.
Since 1989 Mr. Venkatesh has taught at St. John’s College, Santa Fe, both in the two Western Great Books programs, and he was one of the shapers of the unique Eastern Classics Master’s program, in which he has taught for more than twenty years, being fluent in Chinese and Sanskrit. From 2003-2008 he was the dean of graduate studies at the college.
With Socrates in the Phaedrus, he is skeptical of the value of writing and therefore of publication, and believes strongly in conversation as the most powerful mode of learning—the “writing in the heart.” St. John’s College has been an ideal academic home for him because of the shared belief in the power of discussion within a sincere community of learning.
His recent areas of work have included the Pali Canon of the Buddha, the Japanese philosopher Dogen, and the mathematical books of Johannes Kepler. The lifelong companions at his bedside include Montaigne, Chaucer, Thomas Hardy the poet, Blake, Wordsworth, Zhuangzi, Chekhov, Tolstoy, Austen, Balzac, and Laxness—a beautiful fellowship. Shakespeare is always close at hand.