Tina Packer's WOMEN OF WILL Makes NYC Debut, Beginning Today

The New York premiere of Women of Will, Shakespeare & Company Founding Artistic Director Tina Packer's groundbreaking exploration of Shakespeare's canon arrives Off-Broadway at The Gym at Judson later this month for an ambitious five month run. Women of Will begins preview performances tonight, January 29 with the official press opening slated for February 3 at 7:00pm and running through June 2.

Eric Tucker (Pinter's Mirror at S&Co.), who directed Packer in the world premiere of Women of Will at Shakespeare & Company in 2010, returns to direct. Nigel Gore (Hamlet, Antony and Cleopatra), a longtime Company member and collaborator on Women of Will, stars alongside Packer in the Off-Broadway debut.

"I am so pleased to finally have the opportunity to perform Women of Will in front of NYC audiences," stated Tina Packer. "It has been a long journey - partly because I spent the last 30-plus years building Shakespeare & Company and partly because Women of Will isn't just one play - it's six separate plays, and I - along with my wonderful collaborators Eric Tucker and Nigel Gore - have been working tirelessly to fine-tune the work before our NY debut. There is a special joy for me to be able to play the parts I missed because I was building Shakespeare & Company - parts in plays I have directed, but now can approach again from the inside not looking from the outside."

A tour de force performance, Women of Will is the masterful summation of Tina Packer's 40-plus years spent investigating all things Shakespeare. Produced by Sarah Hancock, it is an engrossing exploration of the Bard's art and psyche through his female characters, and portrayed by two of Shakespeare's greatest modern interpreters - Ms. Packer and Mr. Gore. If Shakespeare had "bonus content," this would be it. Women of Will explores the Bard's characters, focusing on the "women of will," from Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing to Viola in Twelfth Night and everyone in between, giving a unique and exciting perspective on some of the most well-known classics in the English language.

"As a company, we couldn't be more thrilled for Tina," says Artistic Director Tony Simotes. "Tina has put her heart and soul into cultivating Women of Will over many, many years. I've had the immense pleasure of seeing the piece in its Early Stages, witnessing it grow into the dynamic work it is today. It's thrilling for me to know that New York audiences will see the Shakespeare & Company aesthetic reflected in Tina's work, and that Women of Will will receive a well-deserved run on theater's greatest stage, New York City."

Additionally, Ms. Packer's Women of Will: The Complete Journey - her fully-expanded, five part, in-depth exploration of Shakespeare will be presented in marathon weekends, every other week later this season. More details on Women of Will: The Complete Journey will be announced at a later date.

Women of Will was developed during a 15-year period while Tina Packer was Artistic Director at Shakespeare & Company, where both Women of Will and Women of Will: The Compete Journey received their world-premiere productions.

Subsequently, Women of Will has been presented in the Boston area, by The Nora Theatre Company; the Denver area, by the Colorado Shakespeare Festival; and most recently in Prague, Czech Republic, presented by The Prague Shakespeare Festival.

In celebration of the Off-Broadway debut of Women of Will, Shakespeare & Company will hold a special event in New York, the details of which will be released in the coming weeks.

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