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Chicago Shakespeare Theater Artistic Director Barbara Gaines Receives Honorary Doctorate of Letters from United Kingdom’s University of Birmingham. Strengthens Ties with the Shakespeare Institute.

Chicago—July 22, 2013—Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) announced today that Artistic Director Barbara Gaines was bestowed an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the United Kingdom’s University of Birmingham in a ceremony presided over by Chancellor Sir Dominic Cadbury on Wednesday, July 10, 2013. The event took place in the University’s historic Great Hall and was witnessed by over 1,000 guests including leadership from the City of Birmingham and distinguished members of the University faculty. The honor contributes to the growing partnership between Chicago Shakespeare Theater, The University of Birmingham and the University’s Shakespeare Institute, located in neighboring Stratford-upon-Avon, birthplace of William Shakespeare. The alignment of these institutions complements Chicago’s partnership with the City of Birmingham, a Chicago Sister City since 1993.

Artistic Director Barbara Gaines is the founder of Chicago Shakespeare Theater, where she has directed more than thirty of Shakespeare’s plays. In addition to the Theater’s 2008 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre, Ms. Gaines has been awarded the prestigious Honorary OBE (Office of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of her contributions strengthening British-American cultural relations; and numerous Joseph Jefferson Awards for artistic excellence, including awards for Best Direction and Best Production. In addition to serving on the Shakespearean Council of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, Barbara Gaines is a Life Trustee of Northwestern University.

Inaugurating this international partnership in 2012, Director of Education and Communications Marilyn Halperin was in residence at the Shakespeare Institute, in a week dedicated to the exploration of creative approaches to the scholarly study of Shakespeare. Ms. Halperin worked closely with Professor Michael Dobson, Director of The Shakespeare Institute, and Dr. Jacquelyn Bessell, a foremost expert on the study and performance of Shakespeare. A nationally regarded leader in the field of arts education, Marilyn Halperin guides the Theater’s youth-engagement initiatives. Ms. Halperin’s twenty-year tenure as the chief architect and head administrator of CST’s transformational programs was honored by The Folger Library in 2012 with the prestigious Shakespeare Steward Award.  

The creative exchange between CST and The Shakespeare Institute continues when the first graduate  from the University of Birmingham, Alana Tomlin, begins an internship with Ms. Halperin and CST’s Education Department later this month.

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