Posted May 11, 2011
Part of Abbie Killeen’s work as a theater artist is a commitment to building local audiences through powerful theater. This summer she will work in Portland, collaborating with Professor Roger Bechtel on the US professional premiere of Adriano Shaplin’s Switch Triptych at the Portland Stage Studio Theater, as well as playing the Princess of France in Shakespeare’s Love’s Labor’s Lost outdoors in Deering Oaks Park with the Fenix Theatre.
While living in New York she helped found Connecticut Free Shakespeare, an acting company whose mission is to provide full productions of Shakespeare’s work free-of-charge to at-risk communities. Investing artistically in those communities involved her spearheading an after-school program for troubled youth. That program developed plays inspired by the students’ life stories.
Thanks to the support of Janice Jaffe and the McKeen Center, Abbie has been able to prioritize bringing her students’ theatre work to the surrounding community since coming to Bowdoin. In the past her students led a Shakespeare performance workshop for Brunswick High School, and her current students will be presenting six theatrical adaptations of children’s stories for the preschool classes from Family Focus Early Learning Center in Brunswick.
"As theater artists commit to developing high-quality theater for local audiences we help untangle the commercialization and celebrity-obsession that can hinder risk-taking and original thought in the American theater."
“Theater is for the audience. It is an artistic act that can only be completed in community.”