Kevin began working at ISF in 2009 as an actor, and has appeared in such roles as Puckin A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, Richard in RICHARD III, and Porthos in THE THREE MUSKETEERS. Additional experience includes Milwaukee Shakespeare, ChicagoShakespeare, Kentucky Shakespeare, Shakespeare and Company, Portland Center Stage, San Jose Rep, Yale Rep, and the American Theatre Company. His series of Shakespeare abridgements, The Billy Shakespeare Project, will be a centerpiece of the educational and community outreach effort here at ISF. Kevin is also a member of the acting faculty at Illinois State University; previous teaching experience includes Kenyon College, Carthage College and the University of Wisconsin at Parkside. In 2008, he formed his own workshop company, and he continues to facilitate workshops in colleges, high schools, and theatre festivals around the country. He is member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA, a Certified Associate Teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework®, the 2010 ISF John Stephens Equity Actor, and a recipient of the Oliver Thorndike Acting Award at the Yale School of Drama.
Dr. Poole was awarded a doctoral degree in theatre history from the University of Georgia in 1995 where he studied African-American theatre practice and the Federal Theatre Project. His essay "Producer, Benefactor, and Playhouse Maker: David Geffen" appears in Angels in American Theatre: Patrons, Patronage, and Philanthropy, edited by Robert A. Schanke. He is also published in Theatre History Studies ("Making a Tree from Thirst: Acquiescence and Defiance in the Negro Federal Theatre Project in Birmingham, Alabama") and in Theatre Symposium ("Black Audience Dynamics in the Buzzard Roost of the Deep South"). Dr. Poole"s other publications appear in Theatre Studies Journal and in Theatre Journal. A past president of the Mid America Theatre Conference, Dr. Poole was recognized as MATC Fellow in 2009; that same year he was also accepted into the National Theatre Conference. Dr. Poole served as the Interim Director of the School of Theatre and Managing Director of the Illinois Shakespeare Festival, 2007-2010.
Janet Wilson is the Producer of the Illinois Shakespeare Festival and Director of the School of Theatre and Dance at Illinois State University. She was a Founding member, Co-Artistic Director and Director of Education for the Firehouse Theatre Project, a professional theatre in Richmond, where she produced and directed numerous productions. She has produced the Illinois State University School of Theatre and Dance Actor Showcase & Design Exhibit in such venues as Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Victory Gardens Theatre. Committed to guest artists and social justice issues, Ms. Wilson has spearheaded residencies at Illinois State for social activist Yvonne Bezerra de Mello, Holly Hughes and Curt L. Tofteland. Ms. Wilson is a professional actor (AEA, SAG and AFTRA) and is the producer/director of the ISU faculty production that has toured nationally which features School of Theatre colleague Lori Adams as Fanny Kemble.
James E. Major is the Dean of the College of Fine Arts at Illinois State University. Professor Major completed eleven years as conductor of Madrigal Singers and Artistic Director of the prestigious ISU Madrigal Dinners, which observed its 50th anniversary in December, 2005. He served for over eight years as Director of the School of Music. In addition to his administrative and choral responsibilities, Professor Major has taught graduate and undergraduate conducting and advised students in the MM program in choral conducting. Under his direction ISU’s Concert Choir and Madrigal Singers have given concert tours of Europe (1997, 1999 & 2001) and of Eastern and Southwestern United States (1998, 2000, 2004), and performed at ACDA, MENC, and IMEA conventions. Dr. Major was honored by the students in the School of Music as the Teacher of the Year in both 1996 and 1997. Prior to joining the Illinois State University faculty in 1995, he served for twenty-one years as professor of choral and music education, and chair of the Music Education Division, in the School of Music at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, where he continues to hold emeritus status. At Ohio State, Professor Major received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, M.A. from the University of Iowa, and B.M.E. degree from Western Illinois University. Dr. Major is originally from Meredosia, Illinois.