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2009.08.19 > For Immediate Release
contact: Tim Kaldahl - University Relations
phone: 402.554.3502 - email: tkaldahl@unomaha.edu

Phaneuf to Step Down from Nebraska Shakespeare Artistic Director Post

Omaha - The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) and Creighton University announced today that Nebraska Shakespeare Festival Artistic Director Cindy Melby Phaneuf will step down from her position on January 31, 2010.

Phaneuf, a co-founder of Nebraska Shakespeare, is the Isaacson Professor of Theatre at UNO and serves as the Graduate Program Chair for the Department of Theatre. In addition, Phaneuf serves as Secretary for the National Theatre Conference, a cooperative association of distinguished leaders of the American theatre.

“Dr. Phaneuf, by any standard, has raised the artistic and cultural profile of the city with her dedication,” said John Christensen, UNO chancellor. “Cindy has led by example. The time and effort she has invested have shone through during the nearly 25 years of Shakespeare on the Green productions.”

Before leaving the artistic director role in February, she will produce this fall’s Nebraska Shakespeare on Tour that will travel to a wide range of Nebraska cities and towns. Immediately afterward, Phaneuf will be planning the Conference for the Shakespeare Theatre Association of America (STAA) at Shakespeare’s Globe in London; directing Romeo and Juliet Meets West Side Story with the Omaha symphony; continuing her work with Cirque du Soleil; and making plans to initiate a series of international theatre exchanges with Lithuania, England, and other Omaha sister cities.

A celebration event honoring Phaneuf and her work with Nebraska Shakespeare will be announced in the near future.

“Cindy Phaneuf has provided many opportunities to the Omaha region through her work with Nebraska Shakespeare,” said The Rev. John P. Schlegel, S.J., president of Creighton University. “Her long-term commitment to the Festival helped make it a success. She has given local students the chance to appear in Shakespeare productions with professionals from across the country; created a tremendous base of community support; and made great theater accessible to the public.”

The idea for an outdoor Shakespeare festival in Omaha was first conceived in the mid-1980s at Creighton University. In 1986, Alan Klem, assistant professor of theatre at Creighton, approached Phaneuf about creating a summer Shakespeare offering for the city. The two developed the idea and gained the mutual support of Creighton and UNO, which have jointly sponsored Shakespeare on the Green ever since. The festival is held annually in Elmwood Park and attracts thousands.

“I am proud of the many accomplishments of Nebraska Shakespeare and wish the organization much success in its future,” Phaneuf said. “My deep appreciation goes to Andy and Marian Andersen, Mike and Gail Yanney, UNO, Creighton, members of the Board of Trustees, Community Board, and our staff who have supported our vision of professional Shakespeare accessible to all.”

The Nebraska Shakespeare Board will begin looking for a new artistic director.

For more information, contact UNO’s Tim Kaldahl at (402) 554-3502 or Creighton University’s Cindy Workman at (402) 280-2969.

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Follow UNO on Twitter at http://twitter.com/unomaha and become a fan of UNO on Facebook at www.facebook.com/unomaha.

UNO is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The celebration recognizes the partnership among the City of Omaha, its citizens and UNO to build a vibrant and dynamic community. The centennial theme is “UNO: Central To Our City Since 1908.” This theme acknowledges the past contributions of UNO to the community and sets the stage for great things to come.

UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908. For Centennial information, go to http://www.unomaha.edu/100/.

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