Charlene V. Smith

Charlene is a director, actor, and scholar living in the DC area for fifteen years. She has a BA in English and Theatre from the College of William and Mary and an MLitt and MFA in Shakespeare and Performance from Mary Baldwin University in partnership with the American Shakespeare Center. She is the head editor of Rogue Shakespeare: Stagecraft and Scholarship in an Ensemble-Based MFA Company. Her article "Margaret of Anjou: Shakespeare's Adapted Heroine" appears in The Palgrave Handbook of Shakespeare's Queens. This volume won the Royal Studies Journal Book Prize for 2020. Charlene is an Equity Member Candidate, a member of the Shakespeare Theatre Association, and a former board member of the Actors' Center. She also volunteers on the working committee for Not In Our House DC.


Charlene is the Artistic Director of Brave Spirits Theatre. Founded in 2011, BST stages visceral and intimate productions of Shakespeare and his contemporaries with a focus on female artists and feminist perspectives. BST focuses on verse and violence, actor, audience, and the presence and stories of women and female characters in early modern drama. BST is also committed to producing rarely seen gems of the era, by the playwrights unfortunately ignored in the wake of Shakespeare’s genius.

Charlene recently directed the Henriad for Brave Spirits Theatre: Richard II, 1 Henry IV, 2 Henry IV, and Henry V. Closed early due to COVID, the productions were originally part of the company's two-season plan to stage Shakespeare's eight history plays in repertory. This epic project, and the closing of the company due to the pandemic, was featured in the New York Times. As the company's final project, Charlene is overseeing the eight-play cycle as audio dramas, expected to be available for listening in late 2021. 

Read Charlene's blog here.

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