BONNIE J. MONTE enters her 23rd season as Artistic Director in 2013. Under her leadership over over more than two decades, the Theatre has evolved into one of the largest and most respected classical theatres In the nation. Ms. Monte has garnered national recognition for her highly successful revitalization of the institution and for her commitment to arts education. Ms. Monte has made The Shakespeare Theatre one of the nation's leading training grounds as well.
During her leaderhship, the institution successfully completed a major capital campaign resulting in the massive renovation and expansion of the F. M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre in 1998, and in 2002, the Theatre's 40th anniversary year, she initiated a new partnership with the College of Saint Elizabeth, thereby attaining a second major performance venue for the organization: the Outdoor Stage. That same year, The Star-Ledger named the company "Regional Theatre of the Year," and The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation awarded The Shakespeare Theatre a prestigious Strategic Partnership Grant in the amount of $1 million. In its January 2003 issue, New Jersey Monthly named Ms. Monte one of "40 New Jerseyans We Love." She has received numerous awards and honors including a Women of Achievement Award, sponsored by the New Jersey General Assembly; an Alumni Achievement Award from Bethany College in West Virginia; and a Person of the Year Award from the National Society of Arts and Letters, for her longtime efforts to nurture young artists. She has also been named Professional Artist of the Year by the Arts Council of the Morris Area, and one of the 25 Most Influential People in the Arts in New Jersey by The Star-Ledger.
Prior to arriving in New Jersey, Ms. Monte was a casting director at the prestigious Manhattan Theatre Club in New York City. From 1981 to 1989, she was associate artistic director at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts, working closely with renowned artistic director Nikos Psacharopoulos. While there, Ms. Monte helped initiate and implement many new programs, including a second stage and an outdoor free theatre. In 1982, she was part of a writing team, which included Psacharopoulos and Tennessee Williams, collaborating on an eight-hour, two-part production, Tennessee Williams: A Celebration a retrospective tribute to Mr. Williams' entire literary canon. During her tenure at Williamstown, Ms. Monte also cast and helped produce joint ventures with other major theatres, including Sweet Bird of Youth at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto, A Streetcar Named Desire on Broadway at Circle-in-the-Square, The Glass Menagerie at The Long Wharf Theatre, Arms and the Man at The Pasadena Playhouse.
Since 1990, she has directed more than 45 productions for The Shakespeare Theatre, including acclaimed stagings of numerous Shakespeare plays, as well as a number of plays from the Russian classic canon with a focus on Chekov and Ostrovsky. Her special affinity for Tennessee Williams resulted in highly acclaimed productions of A Streetcar Named Desire, Camino Real and Sweet Bird of Youth. She also directed shows for the Theatre's Shakespeare LIVE! touring company including The Myths of Ancient Greece: Old Echoes, New Ears, which she also authored. She has created a number of original translations/adaptations for the Main Stage including Pride and Prejudice, Marivaux's The Triumph of Love, Pirandello's Enrico IV, Ostrovsky's Artists and Admirers, Maeterlinck's The Blue Bird, Around the World in Eighty Days, and Goldoni's The Servant of Two Masters, which was recently published by Playscripts, Inc.
Ms. Monte has been actively involved in the training of new talent for the American stage through numerous training programs for 28 years, and has also engaged in residencies at the University of South Carolina, where she directed The Trojan Women, and the University of Notre Dame, where she directed The Bacchae. She has been on the faculty of Drew University and The New School in Manhattan. Ms. Monte obtained a post-graduate conservatory degree in directing from The Hartman Conservatory and a B.A. in theatre from Bethany College in Bethany, West Virginia. She has Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees from Drew University and the College of Saint Elizabeth. She is originally from Stamford, Connecticut.