Kevin Asselin, a former cast member of Montana Shakespeare in the Parks and who is now a professor of acting at Oklahoma City University, has been named executive artistic director of the company following a national search.
"Montana Shakespeare in the Parks is one of the most notable cultural outreach programs in Montana," said Nancy Cornwell, dean of the Montana State University College of Arts and Architecture in making the announcement. Montana Shakespeare in the Parks is an outreach program of the college. "With Kevin joining us as executive artistic director, we will not only insure the future of our mission to bring Shakespeare to the communities of Montana and the Northern Rockies continues, but now MSIP will be poised to grow in exciting new ways - reaching new audiences with educational programs and expanding our impact locally."
Cornwell said Asselin will join the company Jan. 13.
Asselin is currently professor of acting and movement at Oklahoma City University, where he serves as Head of Movement. Asselin holds an MFA degree in acting from the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign and a bachelor of science in music and theatre from Plymouth State University. A member of Actors Equity, he has Chicago acting credits including more than eight productions with the Tony Award-winning Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, the Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Writers Theatre, Defiant Theatre, Rising Moon Theatre, Shakespeare on the Green, Dolphin Back Theatre, The Chicago Symphony and others.
While with Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, he appeared in "Henry IV, Part One," "The Comedy of Errors," "As You Like It," and "She Stoops to Conquer." He also toured with Montana Shakespeare in the Schools and was the co-creator of Montana Shakes!, Montana Shakespeare in the Parks’ elementary school touring program. He directed "The Two Gentlemen of Verona," currently on tour for Shakespeare in the Schools. Asselin is a two-time Joseph Jefferson-nominated fight director and has staged fights for more than 40 theatres. He is the resident fight director for the American Players Theatre, The Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival, Theatre-OCU at Oklahoma City University, and holds actor combatant certifications with the Fight Directors of Canada and the Society of American Fight Directors.
"We are thrilled to welcome Kevin to the team," said Susan Dickerson, managing director of Montana Shakespeare in the Parks. "Kevin's history with Montana Shakespeare in the Parks matched with his experience at world class theaters across the country makes him an excellent choice to lead the company as it grows into the future."
Asselin replaces Joel Jahnke, who retired as artistic director of Montana Shakespeare in the Parks last summer after 36 years with the company.
Montana Shakespeare in the Parks is an outreach program of MSU's College of Arts and Architecture. Performances each summer are supported by grants and corporate sponsorships as well as hundreds of individual donors who give what they can to keep the performances free and available to everyone in the touring area.
Nancy Cornwell, 994-4405, firstname.lastname@example.org