Director and writer Beverly Blankenship grew up in Europe and the United States. She trained as an actress at the Max Reinhard Seminar in Vienna. After her first contract at the Salzburger Landestheater she went to Australia, where she started to direct and write. Beverly Blankenship returned to Europe in 1992 where her productions can now be seen at major Drama Theatres and Opera Houses.
In theatre Beverly Blankenship prefers the work of living authors. For her production of Howard Barkers Scenes of an Execution she received the Skraup Prize of Vienna´s Volkstheater for Best Production. She also directed Barker´s Hang of the Gaol in Sydney and 7xLear for Vienna´s Theater in der Drachengasse. For Theater in der Josefstadt (Vienna) she produced Alan Ayckbourn´s Relatively Speaking and Tom Stoppard´s The Real Thing. The production of John Godber´s Bouncers at the Theater in der Drachengasse was invited to Moscow. She directed Dacia Maraini´s Maria Stuarda twice and performed the role of Maria in a third production. She produced Merlin or the Waste Land by Tankred Dorst and Ursula Ehler twice (Staatstheater Saarbrücken, Landestheater Salzburg).
Beverly Blankenship also worked as a dramaturg (Playworks Sydney) and script editor (Australian Film Council). She was a member of the Australia Council`s Arts Funding Board, supporting the development of new authors. She founded a new company, Dramatic Services, in order to develop and produce new work. Dramatic Services´ first venture was the production of Vivace: The result of five authors, five composers and six performers collaborating to create innovative, narrative music theatre. A new music theatre piece led her to Hanoi. With a libretto by Dorst and music by Pierre Oser, the Goethe Institute produced PARZIVAL in January 2011.
The “classics” are fun too, as long as there are plenty of new plays to produce. Quite a few of the classics have come her way more than once. These repeat productions of a classic are created anew with different teams according to the demands of new spaces and different audiences. Shakespeare has been a constant companion: she has directed Hamlet in Sydney, As You Like It at the Staatstheater Saarbrücken and the Salzburger Landestheater, Measure For Measure annd Much Ado About Nothing for Vienna´s Volkstheater. The Volkstheater also asked her to direct Racine´s Phèdre. Schiller´s St Joan of Orleans was produced by Beverly Blankenship for the Staatstheater Saarbrücken. The Festspiele Reichenau gave her the chance to work on Arthur Schnitzler´s major plays: Das weite Land, Zwischenspiel, Der einsame Weg, Professor Bernhardi. She has directed Lessing´s Minna von Barnhelm at the Theater St. Gallen and the adaptation of Stefan Zweig´s novella Rausch der Verwandlung as well as Hauptmann´s Before the Sun sets for Festspiele Reichenau. In February 2008 Schiller´s Dom Karlos premiered in Meiningen at the Südthüringisches Staatstheater. In January 2010 Nestroys Lumpazivagabundus opened at the Salzburger Landestheater. Since summer 2012 Beverly Blankenship is the Artistic Director of Festival Schloss Weitra. Her first production in Weitra was Aphra Behn´s Feigned Courtesans. In summer 2013 she will premiere the German Version of John Fletcher´s The Tamer Tamed.
Beverly Blankenship started directing opera some years ago. Big stories, mythic landscapes, large casts and the power of music have proven irresistible. She directed Mozart´s Don Giovanni four times, each time with a different concept for the new setting: at the Landestheater Linz, Städtische Bühnen Osnabrück, Festival Reinsberg and Oper Dortmund. Hans Werner Henze´s Der junge Lord was her first contemporary opera. She produced the Henze at the Landestheater Linz, where she also directed Rossini´s La Cenerentola, Strauss´s Der Rosenkavalier and Prokofiev´s Love of the Three Oranges. The Love of the Three Oranges premiered for a second season at the Staatstheater Nürnberg im May 2006 and Gounod´s FAUST in March 2007. Nürnberg had already seen her interpretation of Offenbach´s Tales of Hoffmann. She directed La Cenerentola for Städtische Bühnen Osnabrück and Verdi´s Un ballo in maschera at Theater Bielefeld. Her second Verdi, Don Carlo, premiered at the Staatstheater Saarbrücken. Lehar´s Merry Widow in Graz, Bizet´s Carmen in Dortmund and the musical Cabaret in Salzburg followed. In February 2008 she directed Lehar´s Land of Smiles for the Volksoper in Vienna and in December 2008 Rimsky-Korsakov´s The Tale of Tsar Saltan opened at the Theater am Gärtnerplatz in Munich. In April 2010 Falstaff premiered at the opera in Dortmund. She followed up with Der Freischütz in Hagen in Mai 2010. In September 2010 her second production of Der Freischütz premiered in Munich at the Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz. The productions were created with two different teams, the focal point resting on two different characters, while still being woven together in vital story telling points. A truly rare event in a director´s work!
In June 2011 an evening of Puccini operas (LE VILLI and SUOR ANGELICA) opened in Opera Krefeld.
Beverly Blankenship is intensively involved in Film and Television.
She gave her directing debut in film with Der Hund muss weg (That dog has got to go) for the ORF (televised November 2000). She also writes film scripts. Her first script Shame (with Michael Brindley) was a big success, shown internationally, garnering many prizes, including Best Script (Critic´s Choice 1988, Australia). Gray Pictures produced an US remake with Amnda Donehue in the lead. Her second filmscript is in the works: Charles Darwin and the Question of Frontal Sex.
Master Classes and Workshops have been part of Beverly Blankenship´s curriculum for a long time. She has taught at the University of New South Wales, the University of Sydney, for the Australian Arts Council, at the Universities of Zurich and Innsbruck as well as at the Prinzregenten Akademie in Munich and the KTU in Linz. She has held many master classes and workshops all over the world, for both beginners and advanced students, for actors as well as singers. Her work has been published by wtv “World-Stage Vienna”.
In July 2011 she directed COSI FAN TUTTE with a student cast for the Jeunesse in Schloss Weikersheim.
Beverly Blankenship is Professor at University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna (mdw). She runs one of the opera classes for singers studying for a Masters Degree or Postgraduate Studies.
Department of Voice and Musical Theatre
Univ.-Prof. Beverly Blankenship
Tel.: +43 1 711 55 - 27 01
Fax: +43 1 711 55 - 27 99
Tel.: +43 1 711 55 - 27 02
Fax: +43 1 711 55 - 27 99