Fran Bennett



Bennett was Head of Acting/Director of Performance at CalArts School of Theater from 1996-2003. She earned a BS, MA and credit toward a Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She was the voice and movement director for the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis for 12 years as well as an actress in the company, acting in such plays as Pantagleize, Oedipus and House of Atreus. There she worked with the late Sir Tyrone Guthrie, Douglas Campbell, Mel Shapiro, Ed Payson Call, and Michael Langham. She was trained by Kristin Linklater in her first voice teacher training program, and is a Master Voice Teacher with Shakespeare and Company based in Lenox, Massachusetts, as well as an associate director of the Company of Women created by Kristin Linklater and Carol Gilligan. Under Rockefeller and Ford Foundation grants, she studied movement with the late Litz Pisk at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London. She has led voice production workshops throughout the U.S. including University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin, University of Mississippi, Iowa State University, Fisk University, Carnegie-Mellon, Joe Chakin's The Working Theater as well as teaching at the London Academy of Dramatic Arts in England. She is also a professional actress working in Theater, TV and movies and has guest starred in numerous TV shows and movies of the week, as well as Theater in Los Angeles, including LA Law, In The Heat of The Night, Quantum Leap, Some Kind of Love, Wes Craven's Newest Nightmare, Majority Rules, Crisis Center, Tempting Fate, Early Edition, 8MM, The Next Best Thing, The Crucible, Cherry Orchard, Happy End, Jar The Floor and The Things You Don't Know, winning Drama-Logue Awards for the last two shows. She is a member of Antaeus and the Los Angeles Women's Shakespeare Company, with whom she played Othello in Othello , Margaret in Richard III , the Duke in Measure for Measure, and Theseus/Oberon in Midsummer Night's Dream. For the CalArts Theater School's professional arm - The Center for New Theater, Fran played Lear in King Lear, both in its world premiere at the Brewery in Los Angeles in 2002 and for its subsequent production in France at the 2003 Frictions Festival, sponsored by Theatre Dijon Bourgogne. Bennett won an NAACP Theatre Award for Best Female Performance for her Lear. Also, for CNT at REDCAT, she played Madam Chastity Plum in Chen-Shi-Zheng's production of Peach Blossom Fan. For La Compagnia de'Colombari's production of Laude in Urbis, based on the Medieval Mystery plays, Bennett played God in Orvieto and in Forli, Italy. Fran Bennett is the recipient of the first AEA/AFTRA/SAG Diversity Honor Award. August 7, 2005 was named Fran Bennett Day by the Mayor of Malvern, Arkansas; the Governor of Arkansas proclaimed her an Arkansas Traveler. Bennett's newest TV work is a recurring role on The Book of Daniel, an NBC midseason hour show. In Summer of 2006, Bennett played the Nurse in Euripides' Hippolytos, the inaugural production at the Getty Villa's new outdoor Greek-style theater.