Willamette theatre alumna earns prestigious national fellowship

Shana Cooper '99 was recently named a Princess Grace Theater Fellow, a national award that will allow her to build on her foundations with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and define herself in the artistic community.

The fellowship, distributed by the Princess Grace Foundation-USA, is awarded each year to continue the legacy of Grace Kelly, who anonymously assisted emerging young artists.

Winners from 18 states and 11 organizations were recognized this year in the fields of theater, dance, choreography and film. Students are eligible for scholarships, and artists working in their careers may receive fellowships or apprenticeships.

Cooper earned a theatre degree at Willamette and an MFA in directing from Yale School of Drama. She was associate artistic director of the California Shakespeare Theater from 2000 to 2004, and she co-founded New Theater House with Yale School of Drama alumni in 2008.

She was named an Oregon Shakespeare Festival Killian Fellow in 2009, and during the 2011 season, she will direct "Love's Labour's Lost" on the Elizabethan Stage, the festival's largest stage. In past seasons, she was the assistant director for the OSF productions of "Macbeth" and "Equivocation," and she produced the "Twelfth Night" parking lot project.

"From an early age, watching plays at the OSF instilled in me the importance of performance as a vital artistic form able to bridge social divides and access our common humanity," says Cooper, who grew up in Ashland, Ore., site of the festival. "The Princess Grace Foundation will support my bringing these life-changing stories to audiences in my hometown and throughout the country."

Learn more about Cooper on the OSF website.