Karen Libman

Faculty Photo

Title: Professor

Field of Study: Theatre

Office: 223 LSH

Phone: 616-331-3510

Email: libmank@gvsu.edu


Karen Libman is a stage director, theatre professor, writer and storyteller. A prolific author and workshop leader, Libman's recent work focuses upon themes such as theatre for social justice, feminism in youth theatre, faculty development, and, of course, storytelling. She is also a professional storyteller, performing frequently at festival, museums, and schools such as the Kansas City Storytelling Festival, The Nebraska Storytelling Festival, the Grand Rapids (MI) Art Museum, and the Community School of Music and Arts in Ithaca, NY.   She is active in many organizations including the American Alliance for Theatre in Education (AATE) and the International Drama Education Association, where she currently serves as the Executive Committee Secretary. Libman is the former editor of the journal STAGE of the Art, the quarterly journal of AATE.  Directing credits include Crackerbarrel! (Nebraska Theatre Caravan tour production); The Princess and the Pea, Aladdin (Nebraska Repertory Theatre); A Christmas Carol (Ithaca, New York); The Snow Queen (Mesa, Arizona); and the world premiere of the award-winning play, Rachel’s Night (Bloomington, Illinois). Her directing work has been seen in Michigan at Heritage Theatre (Special Grand Award winner for ensemble in Heritage Theatre’s Metamorphoses; The Taming of the Shrew), Grand Rapids Civic Theatre (Piano Lesson, Of Mice and Men), and Aquinas College. She has directed frequently for the Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival (The Merchant of Venice, The Comedy of Errors, A Midsummer Night’s Dream), and her other GVSU productions including Antigone, Oedipus, Big Love, Mother Courage and Children, and the award-winning Angels in America, Part 1. Libman conceived the Family Audiences series for Nebraska Repertory Theatre, the SOC-It-To-Me Players, a peer-theatre outreach group, at GVSU, and she helped to conceive the GV Shakespeare Festival’s Bard to Go (BTG) touring program.  She has taken students in BTG to Jamaica and China to perform, and will take the current BTG cast to Nassau, the Bahamas, to perform at the 2011 Shakespeare in Paradise Festival.   Libman received the 2008 American Alliance for Theatre in Education Lin Wright Special Recognition Award for her work with Bard to Go, and her directing work has received a meritorious achievement awards from the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival.  Cambridge University Press just published Diane Rayor’s new translation of Antigone, with a directing essay by Libman, and they have contract with Rayor and Libman for a version of Medea in 2012. In 2010, she was named Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year by The Presidents Council of State Universities of Michigan.


B.F.A., Virginia Commonwealth University; M.F.A. in Theatre, Arizona State University.