Theatre Chair, Associate Professor, and Artistic Director of Theatre Programs (2008)
Karen Berman is excited to be here at Georgia College in her home state of Georgia. Karen holds a BA in Theater from George Washington University, an MFA in Directing from Catholic University of America, and received her Ph.D. in Professional Studies in Education with a dissertation on Creativity and Cognition. Prior to coming to GC Karen taught for 15 years at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. where she also served as Artistic Advisor to four Student Theater Groups and mentored 150 mainstage student directed projects.
Karen is an April 2008 inductee into the College of Fellows of the American Theatre. She served as President of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) from 2004 to 2007. At ATHE Karen brought together the nation's theatre organizations in a Summit which resulted in the formation of the Coalition for Theatre Education and also initiated a Katrina Project-Alliance formed by ATHE and Black Theatre Network to support devastated New Orleans high school drama programs.
Karen is co-founder and Artistic Director of Washington Women in Theatre, a theatre company founded to give voice to new women playwrights, and which has produced at the Millennium Stage of the Kennedy Center, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts.
Karen was Director of SourceCast where she cast some 400 Washington, D.C. area actors in commercials, industrials and films. Karen also collaborated with David Young on the book How to Direct a Musical: Broadway Your Way published by Routledge.
Karen has directed over 70 productions for venues ranging from the Smithsonian to off-Broadway. Her off-Broadway credits include, at the American Theatre of Actors, Ziggy and Ballet Russes, which starred Twyla Tharp Company member Petter Jacobsson as Nijinsky. At Source Theatre, in addition to receiving the "Most Valuable Player Award", she directed numerous plays, including Cynthia Heimel's A Girl's Guide to Chaos. Karen directed Tony Kushner's new adaptation of Ansky's A Dybbuk. Other plays she has directed include Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, David Mamet's Revenge of the Space Pandas, The Country Wife, Sam Shepard's Chicago, her co-adaptation of Russell Baker's Growing Up, and the premiere of the recently published Polka Dot Conspiracy at Metro Stage. She has assisted in the development of over 30 new plays.
Karen has also directed numerous university theatre productions, including Woyzeck, Six Characters in Search of an Author, Ah! Wilderness, The Glass Menagerie, The Balcony and Dr. Korczak and the Children. Her teaching areas of focus include acting, Lessac voice-movement, directing, and improvisation for social change. She partnered with health education and sociology faculty in order to develop a play in the lowest median income high school in Washington DC. through oral history and ethnography. Her keynote speech for the Association of Hispanic Classical Theatre (AHCT) was "Translations, Transgressions, and Reinterpretations: 21st Century Questions Regarding Zayas."