Director and writer Beverly Blankenship grew up in Europe and the United States. She trained as an actress at the Max Reinhardt Seminar in Vienna. After her first contract at the Salzburger Landestheater she went to Australia, where she started to direct and write. Beverly Blankenship returned to Europe in 1992. Her productions can be seen at many major theatres and opera houses.
Blankenship directed ROMEO AND JULIET for the Hanoi Youth Theatre (November 2019) just before the Pandemic locked down theatres. Instead of directing she wrote a book:
In October 2022 her first book DER SINGENDE KÖRPER IN BEWEGUNG, a handbook for students of music theatre, will be published by OLMS Verlag, Germany.
In theatre Beverly Blankenship prefers the work of contemporary authors. For her production of Howard Barkers Scenes from an Execution she received the Vienna Volkstheater Skraup Prize for Best Production. Her production of Clara S. by Elfriede Jelinek premiered at the same theatre. She also directed Barker´s Hang of the Gaol in Sydney and 7xLear for Vienna´s Theater in der Drachengasse. For Theater in der Josefstadt (Vienna) she produced Alan Ayckbourn´s Relatively Speaking and Tom Stoppard´s The Real Thing. Her production of John Godber´s Bouncers at the Theater in der Drachengasse was invited to Moscow. She directed Dacia Maraini´s Maria Stuarda twice and performed the role of Maria in a third production. She directed Merlin or the Waste Land by Tankred Dorst and Ursula Ehler twice (Staatstheater Saarbrücken, Landestheater Salzburg).
Beverly Blankenship also worked as a dramaturg (Playworks Sydney, founded by Ros Horin) and script editor (Australian Film Council). She has been a member of the Australia Council for the Arts´ Funding Board, which supports the development of new authors. She founded a new company, Dramatic Services, in order to develop and produce new work. Dramatic Services´ first venture was the production of Vivace: A collaboration between five authors, five composers, six performers and two directors (the other director was Thea Brejzek) who created innovative, narrative music theatre. In January 2011 a new music theatre piece led her to Hanoi, where the Goethe Institute produced PARZIVAL, composed by Pierre Oser to a libretto by Dorst/Ehler.
Together with her daughter Jessica Gerger, Beverly developed My Year without Sex, which has been performed in Vienna, London, the Adelaide Festival, the Melbourne Comedy Festival. Their latest work, Mrs T and the Problem of Plastic, is currently touring Melbourne schools.
There have always been plenty of new plays to produce, but the “classics” have been fun too. Quite a few of them have come her way more than once. She creates such repeat productions anew according to the different teams, the demands of new spaces and different audiences.
Shakespeare has been a constant companion: she has directed Hamlet in Sydney, As You Like It at the Staatstheater Saarbrücken and the Salzburger Landestheater, Measure For Measure and Much Ado About Nothing for Vienna´s Volkstheater, where she also directed Racine´s Phèdre. Schiller´s St Joan of Orleans was produced by Beverly Blankenship for the Staatstheater Saarbrücken.
The Reichenau Festival gave her the opportunity to work on Arthur
Schnitzler´s major plays: Das weite Land, Zwischenspiel, Der einsame Weg, Professor Bernhardi. The adaptation of Stefan Zweig´s novella Rausch der Verwandlung as well as Hauptmann´s Before the Sun Sets was also directed for this festival.
She also directed Lessing´s Minna von Barnhelm at the Theater St. Gallen.
In February 2008 her production of Schiller´s Dom Carlos premiered in Meiningen at the Südthüringisches Staatstheater.
In January 2010 Nestroys Lumpazivagabundus opened at the Salzburger Landestheater. For the Festspiele Reichenau she produced Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (2016), Das Spiel der Sommerlüfte (2017), A Streetcar Named Desire (2018). Her most recent theatre production: Das Mädl aus der Vorstadt was for the Festival in Kobersdorf, Austria (July 2019).
Blankenship´s next production (with Rebecca Blankenship) will be DIALOGUES DES CARMELITES for the Opera Mönchengladbach (April 2022).
Beverly Blankenship started directing opera some years ago. Big stories, mythic landscapes, large casts and the power of music proved irresistible. She has directed Mozart´s Don Giovanni four times, each time with a different concept, at the Landestheater Linz, Städtische Bühnen Osnabrück, Festival Reinsberg and Oper Dortmund. Hans Werner Henze´s Der junge Lord was her first contemporary opera. She produced this opera at the Landestheater Linz, where she also directed Rossini´s La Cenerentola, Strauss´s Der Rosenkavalier and Prokofiev´s Love of Three Oranges. Her second production of the Love of Three Oranges premiered at the Staatstheater Nürnberg im May 2006 followed by Gounod´s FAUST in March 2007. Nürnberg had already seen her interpretation of Offenbach´s Tales of Hoffmann. She directed La Cenerentola for the Städtische Bühnen Osnabrück and Verdi´s Un Ballo in Maschera at the Theater Bielefeld. Her second Verdi production, Don Carlos, premiered at the Staatstheater Saarbrücken. Lehar´s Merry Widow in Graz, Bizet´s Carmen in Dortmund and the musical Cabaret in Salzburg followed. In February 2008 she directed Lehar´s Land of Smiles for the Volksoper in Vienna and in December 2008 Rimsky-Korsakov´s The Tale of Tsar Saltan opened at the Theater am Gärtnerplatz in Munich. In April 2010 her production of Falstaff premiered at the opera in Dortmund. She followed up with Der Freischütz in Hagen in May 2010. In September 2010 her second production of Der Freischütz premiered in Munich at the Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz. These two productions were created with two different teams, the focus being on the two different main characters, woven together in the vital narrative of the story. The opportunity to explore this approach is truly a rare event in any director´s work!
In June 2011 an evening of Puccini operas (LE VILLI and SUOR ANGELICA) opened in Opera Krefeld. In May 2015 she produced MÜNCHHAUSEN for the State Opera Hannover.
THE FLYING DUTCHMAN is the third production which she co-directed with her sister Rebecca Blankenship. Their first team effort BARUCHS SCHWEIGEN was nominated for the Vienna Fringe Music Theatre Award in 2017. Their next joint production was: DIALOGUES DES CARMELITES in Krefeld January 2019 and DER FLIEGENDE HOLLÄNDER for the opera houses Rennes/Angers/Nantes May 2019.
FILM AND TELEVISION
Beverly Blankenship is intensively involved in film and television.
She gave her directing debut in film with Der Hund muss weg (That dog has got to go) for the ORF (televised November 2000). She also writes film scripts. Her first script Shame (with Michael Brindley) was a big success, was shown internationally, and was awarded many prizes, including Best Script (Critic´s Choice 1988, Australia). Gray Pictures produced a US remake with Amanda Donahue in the lead. Her second film script (in German): Charles Darwin and the Question of Frontal Sex (with Harald Posch).
Master Classes and Workshops have been part of Beverly Blankenship´s professional life for a long time. She has taught at the University of New South Wales, the University of Sydney, for the Australian Arts Council, at the Universities of Zurich and Innsbruck as well as at the Prinzregenten Akademie in Munich and the KTU in Linz. She has held many master classes and workshops all over the world, for both beginners and advanced students, for actors as well as singers. Her work has been published by wtv “World-Stage Vienna”. In July 2011 she directed COSI FAN TUTTE with a student cast for the Jeunesse in Schloss Weikersheim.
Beverly Blankenship held a Professorship at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna (mdw) from 2011- 2018. She ran one of the opera classes for singers studying for a Master’s Degree or Postgraduate Studies. She produced BOHEME, MAGIC FLUTE, FLEDERMAUS, COSI FAN TUTTE, TALES OF HOFFMANN, CARMEN and GIANNI SCHICCHI and many other operas for the University.
STUDIOBLANKENSHIP3 was founded by Beverly Blankenship, Rebecca Blankenship and Sawako Yamada-Blankenship.
This studio offers voice, acting and musical coaching, for individuals or groups.