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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. She has essays published in The Palgrave Handbook of Shakespeare’s Queens (winner of the Royal Studies Journal Book Prize for 2020) and Arden Shakespeare’s The Changeling: The State of Play. Charlene is a member of the Shakespeare Theatre Association and a former board member of the Actors' Center. Advancing justice and equity in the theatre industry is important to Charlene. She was part of the working committee for Not In Our House DC and currently serves as co-chair of the IDEAA committee for the Shakespeare Theatre Association.


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

Charlene 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 oversaw the eight-play cycle as audio dramas, which will be available for listening in 2023.

Recently, Charlene directed Antony and Cleopatra for Theater at Monmouth. Currently, she is co-writing a chapter on The Bloody Banquet for the forthcoming The Theatrical Legacy of Thomas Middleton and directing A Midsummer Night's Dream for Hathaway Brown Upper School.

Read Charlene's blog here.

Download my CV.


You can contact Charlene at

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