Bess


The Passion of the Hausfrau
The Passion of the Hausfrau
© 2009 Photo by Darren Setlow
Bess Welden has been making theater professionally for more than 20 years. One major focus of her work is solo performance, which began with her creation of THE BOND based on Shylock from Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice while still in graduate school at the National Theater Conservatory. During her time in NYC, Bess collaborated with director/writer Annette Jolles to create three other one-woman shows, KEEPING THE WORD, THE HANDSHAKE, and ELLIE AND THE WEARABLE TIME MACHINE. After relocating to Portland, Maine, she went on to co-write (with Annette Jolles and Nicole Chaison) and perform THE PASSION OF THE HAUSFRAU, which premiered at Portland Stage Company in 2009 and has toured throughout the country. (www.thehausfrauplay.com). BIG MOUTH THUNDER THIGHS is her latest solo creation.


Swimming in the Shallows
Swimming in the Shallows
© 2013 Photo by Emily Delamater
Bess has also appeared in numerous plays at the Denver Center Theater Company, Williamstown Theater Festival, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, Hangar Theater and in readings of new works at Mabou Mines and New York Theater Workshop. In Maine, she has performed with Portland Stage (A Comedy of Errors, Manifest, A Christmas Carol), the Opera House at Boothbay (Twelfth Night, Indoor/Outdoor), Mad Horse Theatre Company (The Cryptogram), Freeport Shakespeare Festival (Macbeth), the Portland Symphony Orchestra (Ellis Island), Dramatic Repertory Company (Swimming in the Shallows), and Fenix Theatre Company (A Bright New Boise).

As a writer, she has had two successful collaborations with composer David Stock as the librettist of A Little Miracle (Lincoln Center premiere) and Eagle Girl,

Eagle Girl
Eagle Girl
Illustration by Leticia Plate



for which she narrated the premiere at the Strings Music Festival in Steamboat Springs, CO. She recently wrote a children's theater script, MAGIC IN THE ATTIC, which has been through development at Portland Stage's Theater for Kids and the Children's Museum and Theater of Maine.

Bess is also an accomplished theater educator with extensive teaching experience in a broad range of organizations and institutions. On the college level, she has served on the faculty at Vassar College, The School for Film and Television, University of Southern Maine and currently Colby College where she teaches courses on vocal production, dialects, solo performance and acting Shakespeare. She has been a guest artist/workshop presenter at Ohio State, Kent State, University of California - Santa Cruz, Stern College/Yeshiva University, Hofstra University, among others. She has worked with younger students at Breakwater Creative Arts and is a regular teaching artist with Portland Stage's Theater for Kids since its inception. She has also directed productions and staged readings with student actors: A Midsummer Night's Dream for Freeport Shakespeare Festival and Tartuffe and The Importance of Being Earnest at Colby.

Bess has also worked on the administrative side of the arts, producing the BIG MOUTH THUNDER THIGHS premiere in collaboration with Portland Stage's Studio Rep program, and as the former Associate Artistic Director at Portland Stage, Education Director for L/A Arts, and the Executive and Artistic Director of the Maine Jewish Film Festival.