Gina Kaufmann

I grew up in the center of Iowa, in the center of this country.  Music was the glue that held my family together  -- leading the singing at church every Sunday, Christmas caroling every year, and daily harmonizing around the guitar or piano. So, after a year as an exchange student at a music school in Stockholm, Sweden, I began as a music major at The University of Iowa.  But when I switched to theater I began to thrive in a new way.  Music was still a strong part of how I experienced performance, but so much else was included as well.

In 1989, I graduated with a BA in Theatre and, in 1990, founded The Unusual Cabaret in Bar Harbor, Maine, where we produced new musical work and innovative adaptations of classics for five years.  (It was a place where we could turn Ben Jonson’s The Alchemist into a musical and have a full house of tourists enjoy it six nights a week.)  My other new play development work includes three years as a guest director with Paula Vogel and the New Play Festival at Brown University, directing a production of Vogel's own play, Hot 'N' Throbbing at Wellfleet Harbor Actors' Theatre, and a season as the director of the Frost Festival at Dartmouth College.  Most recently, I have worked with playwrights on staged readings as part of the Studio Festival of Plays at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA. 

In 1999, I earned an MFA in Directing from The University of Texas at Austin.  In 2003, I participated in the month-long acting intensive at Shakespeare & Company, which was a turning point for me as an artist.  Compelled by the search for vocal and physical truthfulness in tandem with tools that brought language alive in rich ways, I then continued to foster my connection with artists at Shakespeare & Company.  After working as a teacher for three consecutive intensives, I worked as the Assistant Director to Founding Artistic Director Tina Packer on All’s Well That Ends Well in 2008.  The following summer, I assisted the new Artistic Director, Tony Simotes, on Othello and in 2010 and 2011 I was the Associate Artistic Director for the Studio Festival of Plays.  In 2012, Tony asked me to direct Tartuffe in their season, which I adapted and, with my collaborators  (including playwright Constance Congdon), turned it into a 1960s-style musical.

In addition to my recent work at Shakespeare & Company, I’ve worked as a director and acting coach in numerous regional venues, including The Williamstown Theatre Festival, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in Toronto, Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival and Sacramento Theatre Company.  In New York, I directed for SoHo Rep, HOME for Contemporary Theatre and Art, Wings Theatre, and Dixon Place. 

In grad school I began my love affair with teaching.  After two years at The University of Louisville and four years on the faculty of Sacramento State University, I now live in Amherst, Massachusetts, with my husband, Miguel, and our six-year-old son, Niko.  I teach in the  performance area of the theater department at UMass, Amherst, and am the Co-Director of the MFA Directing program.

In 2011 I was a guest artist at the Hollins University New Play Festival.  Below is a link to an interview focusing on collaboration that I did while I was there:


Member of SDC, The Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers

Assistant Professor of Acting and directing at The University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Co-Director of Directing MFA Program at UMass Amherst

RECENT Productions

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My Life in the Theatre


MARTA THE DIVINE at the 35th Annual Siglo d’Oro Festival in El Paso Texas, 2010