Libby Appel, the fourth artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, served for 12 years and directed more than 25 plays. She championed ethnic and gender diversity in casting, and she placed a strong emphasis on production of new works before retiring in 2007. She continues to guest direct at the festival.
We visited one afternoon in her exquisite home overlooking the Ashland hills. This is the first of a two-part interview; the second will publish in this space on March 27.
EH: When you began directing theater, there were very few women directors.
LA: When I was young, women didn’t do a lot of things. The role of women in the ’50s and early ’60s was just terrible. I can see that now, but I don’t know that I understood that then. My mother’s motto for me was always to “fulfill your potential,” and that’s what it was about. I had to do the best I could. It’s only when I look back, that I see what the challenges and the glass ceilings were.