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Full Bio

 2022  COMPLETE BIO      TIMOTHY NEAR, DIRECTOR                 


Timothy Near (Theatre Director) has directed plays and musicals at major professional theatres around the U.S.:  The Guthrie Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Arizona Theatre Company,  Cal Shakes, Portland Center Stage, Union Square Theatre and The Public Theatre in NYC, Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, La Jolla Playhouse, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Ford’s Theatre in D.C., L.A.’s Tiffany Theatre, Seattle’s A Contemporary Theatre, Seattle’s Intiman Theatre, Berkeley Rep, Z Space Below, Berkeley’s Aurora Theater and Dance Mission in S.F.  She directed several operas at Opera San Jose.  At Center Rep in Walnut Creek she recently directed her own adaptation of Goldoni’s Mirandolina! Mistress of the Inn, an 18th century comedy.


EARLY LEADERSHIP TRAINING:  Near served as a one year Interim Artistic Director at The Alliance Theatre in Atlanta and also one year at Stage West in Springfield, Ma. 

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR:  From 1987 to 2008 Ms. Near was Artistic Director at San Jose Repertory Theatre, a 550 seat theatre where she produced over 120 plays, including 20 world premieres.  For 6 years she produced a new play festival where she developed new plays that The Rep then premiered on the main stage such as Las Meninas by Lynne Nottage, The Wind Cries Mary by Phillip Kan Gotanda, Thunder Knocking on the Door by Keith Glover with a new score by blues icon Chris Cain and Michael Butler, The Haunting of Winchester by Mary Bracken Phillips and Craig Bohmler, and Sugar Plum Fairy by Sandra Tsing Loh.  

THEATER DESIGN:  Near has participated in design, funding and opening of two midsize theaters.  One for Stage West in Springfield, Massachusetts and one for San Jose Rep.  While she was Artistic Director at SJ Rep, she contributed significant leadership as well as artistic and technical guidance to the design and construction of a 560-seat state of the art theater facility named The Hammer Theatre. 

COLLABORATIONS: Near has been developing and directing Kathryn Grody’s The Unexpected 3rd in workshops at Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor, the Rosendale Theatre, NY., Dodger Studios in New York City, the Kiln at People's Light Theatre, and upcoming in June, 2024, at the New Ground Theatre Festival at Cleveland Playhouse.

At SJ Rep Near worked with and presented such talents as Holly Hunter, Lynne Redgrave, James Avery (“Fresh Prince of Bel Air”), Chris Rich (“Murphy Brown” and “Reba”), Sandra Tsing Loh (“This American Life”), Lucy Liu, Rene Auberjonois (“Boston Legal” and “Star Trek”), Jill Eikenberry and Michael Tucker (“LA Law”), Holly Near, Ronnie Gilbert (The Weavers), The Bacon Brothers, Ireland’s band Lunasa, San Jose Taiko, Deaf West and the Latino comedy trio Culture Clash.  Through her work with San Jose’s sister city Dublin, Ireland, Timothy was able to bring the internationally renowned Abbey Theatre to San Jose to be in residence and perform in her 1999-2000 Season.  Near co-produced the World Premieres of The Sisters Matsumoto and also Woody Guthrie’s American Song with Berkeley Rep.  

AWARDS:   Timothy is the recipient of the Woman of Achievement Award in the Arts given by the San Jose Mercury News/Women’s Fund and The Janet Gray Hays Award for Women in Leadership. She was named one of the “Top 100 List of  Most Powerful People in Silicon Valley”  three years in a row by San Jose Magazine.   Near lives in the Bay Area and has received multiple local awards such as BATCC, TBA, Dean Goodman for her direction and productions.  She received Hollywood Drama-Logue awards for her direction at the Mark Taper Forum and at La Jolla Playhouse as well as a recent Louis Award for her direction of Clybourne Park.  For list of more awards see the Awards folder.

ACTING:  Near began her theatre career as an actress.  After studying for a year in London, she returned to the Bay Area to join the cutting-edge Circus Theatre, performing leads in such plays as Futz, Tom Paine and Marat-Sade.  In the 1970’s and 80’s she played featured roles in the TV series “The Odd Couple” and appeared in Kris Kristofferson’s film “Cisco Pike.”  She toured Australia and much of the U.S. with The National Theatre of the Deaf where she became fluent in American Sign Language.  

Near acted in many prominent theaters around the U.S. such as The Mark Taper, The Guthrie, Rep Theatre of St Louis, The Hudson Guild and The Public Theatre in NYC, The Goodman Theatre, San Jose Rep and Stage West in Springfield, Ma.  She won the coveted OBIE Award in 1981 for her performance in the Off Broadway production of Still Life written by Emily Mann and co-starring Mary McDonnell and John Spencer.  This production then moved to LA for a successful run.  

SIGN LANGUAGE:  In the early 1980‘s, making use of her sign language skills that she learned during her two years acting with NTD, she was a regular guest artist on Sesame Street where she played ‘Linda’s hearing friend Timi who knew sign language’.  She conceived, directed and performed poetry by deaf poets for ABC Captioned News in Boston.  Before any events were hiring interpreters for the deaf, Near introduced the concept of signed interpretive song and the importance of accessibility to large numbers of hearing audiences while touring with her sister Holly Near, interpreting songs for Melissa Manchester and Graham Nash at Survival Sunday at the Hollywood Bowl and through her choreography for Wallflower Order Dance Collective.  

PANDEMIC:  In 2020, Near was scheduled to play Betty in The Foreigner and to direct Little Women.  The Pandemic brought these 2 projects to a halt.  During 2020/2021/2022 Near worked as a script consultant and director for Molly Bell's new musical, How To Be Sick: a Manic Musical Comedy, directing two workshop performances.  Near served as Vice President and Governance Chair on the board of directors of the visual arts organization, Sebastopol Center for the Arts, from 2018-2021.




Artistic Director for San Jose Repertory Theatre              1987-2008 

Directed over 35 plays and workshops:  here are some highlights


The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, William Finn, Rachel Sheinkin 2008

Iphigenia at Aulis, Euripides, in collaboration with San Francisco’s Dance Brigade  2005

Major Barbara, George Bernard Shaw 2004

By the Bog of Cats, Marina Carr, 2001, Starring Holly Hunter (American Premiere)

Legacy; Book/Lyrics by Ronnie Gilbert with Jon Marans, 1999, (WP) with Joan Roberts, Carlton Carpenter 

Thunder Knocking on the Door, Keith Glover. Music/lyrics by Cris Cain, M. Butler, T. Near  1997 

Wallflowering, Peta Murray, 1997 (American Premiere)

Miss Julie, August Strindberg, Adapted by Emily Mann, 1996 

The 1940’s Radio Hour, Walton Jones, 1995, 1991, 1988

The Seagull, Anton Chekov, adaptation by Frank Dwyer, 1994 (WP) 

Fire in the Rain, Singer in the Storm, Holly Near, 1991, Starring Holly Near (WP)

Oedipus The King; Sophocles, 1991 Collaboration with San Jose Taiko.  Starring Ronnie Gilbert (Weavers) 

The Geography of Luck, Marlane Mayer, 1990

All My Sons, Arthur Miller, 1988, starring Chris Rich, Joyce Van Patten


Freelance Director

Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

Dolls House, Part 2, Lucas Hnath, 2018

Clybourne Park, Bruce Norris, 2012    

Race, David Mamet, 2012

The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams, 1997, 1983, Starring Rosemary Prinz

True West, Sam Shepard, 1997, Starring John Spencer

Born Yesterday, Garson Kanin, 1995 

A Walk in the Woods, Lee Blessing, 1989

The Little Foxes, Lillian Hellman, 1987 

All My Sons, Arthur Miller, 1986

Buried Child, Sam Shepard, 1983, Starring Holly Hunter, John Spencer, and Ray Barry

The Aurora Theatre, Berkeley, CA

Master Harold...and the boys, Athol Fugard, 2016

The Real Thing, Tom Stoppard, 2017

Dance Mission, San Francisco

The Proud, Aaron Loeb, 2012, a collaboration with Krissy Keefer’s Dance Brigade, with workshop at NYU 2011  Starring Stacy Ross and Lucas Near-Verbrugghe 

Arizona Theatre Company

Enchanted April, Matthew Barber, 2008

California Shakespeare Theatre

Uncle Vanya, Chekhov, 2008

Mrs. Warren’s Profession, GB Shaw 2009

Center Rep, Walnut Creek, CA

The Diary of Anne Frank, adapted by Wendy Kesselman,  2019 

Mirandolina! Mistress of The Tuscan Inn, adapted from Carlo Goldoni by Timothy Near,  2015

Sweet Charity, Cy Coleman, Dorothy Fields, Neil Simon,  2012  

Born Yesterday, Garson Kanin. 2016

The Mousetrap, Agatha Christie 2008  

Rumors, Neil Simon, 2012

Noises Off,  Michael Frayn, 2010      

Z Below at Z Space, San Francisco

The Road to Mecca, Athol Fugard, 2023

A Lesson From Aloes, Athol Fugard   2018

Cincinnati Playhouse In The Park

The Mousetrap, Agatha Christie, 1996

Portland Center Stage

Bad Dates, Theresa Rebeck,   2007

Intiman Theatre, Seattle

Moonlight and Magnolias, Ron Hutchinson, 2006

A Contemporary Theatre, Seattle

Talley’s Folly, Lanford Wilson, 2007

New York Shakespeare Festival/ The Public Theatre

A Mom’s Life, Kathryn Grody, 1990 (World Premiere) Subsequently moved to The Tiffany Theater in L.A.

Falling Apart ............Together, Kathryn Grody, 2013  New Works Now   

Stage West, Springfield, MA   1978-1985  

Interim Artistic Director 1984-85

A Christmas Carol, adapted from Charles Dickens by Timothy Near and Rae Allen

Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck, Starring Chris Rich (Murphy Brown/Reba) 

Artichoke, Joanna Glass, starring Holly Hunter 

A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams 

The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams, starring Rosemary Prinz

The Doll’s House, Henrik Ibsen, translation by Kathleen Tolan (World Premiere) starring Holly Hunter

The Rainmaker by Richard Nash, starring Antonio Vargas (Starsky and Hutch)

La Jolla Playhouse 

Ghost on Fire, Michael Weller, 1985, Starring Holly Hunter, William Russ, Helen Shaver, and Bill Cobbs (W.P.)

Alliance Theatre, Atlanta, GA / Interim Artistic Director 1985-1986 

Dolls House, Henrik Ibsen, 1986, Starring Lorraine Toussaint, Michelle Shay, Michael O’Neill

Annula; An Autobiography, Emily Mann, 1985

Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Berkeley, CA

Good Person of Setzuan, Bertolt Brecht (Co-directed with Sharon Ott) 1986

Mother Jones, by Ronnie Gilbert 1993 (World Premiere)

Guthrie Theatre, Minneapolis

The Rainmaker, Richard Nash, 1986 Main stage, Starring Jacqueline Knapp and Peter Francis James

I Never Saw Another Butterfly, adapted by Jacqueline Bertrand with T. Near.  Taped for PBS in St. Paul, MN.    

Mark Taper Forum, L.A./ Stage Door Theatre, S.F./Union Square Theatre, N.Y.

Fire in the Rain, Singer in the Storm, Holly Near, 1992-1993, starring Holly Near

Ford’s Theatre, Washington, DC

A Christmas Carol, Dickens, adaptation by Near & Allen: 1981 to 1984.  Starring David Strathairn/Jarlath Conroy/Ron Bishop 

Opera San Jose, San Jose, CA                                                                                                                                    

La Boheme, Puccini, 2011

Lucia di Lammermoor, Donizetti, 2008

The Crucible, Robert Ward, 2006

Wallflower Order Dance Collective, Eugene Or.

Writer, theatrical advisor, acting coach and director 1980-81 national and international tours of this early radical feminist dance company.

Sacramento County Office of Education, Northern California Tour 1991

A Thing Called Love, consultant/co-director of a play about fetal alcohol syndrome.

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