A multi-disciplinary artist, Nancy Keystone is founder and Artistic Director of Critical Mass Performance Group, an ensemble dedicated to the collaborative creation of new works and reinterpretations of classic plays. A visual artist as well as director, she often designs the scenic environments for her productions. An interest in the poetics of space has led to productions in non-traditional environments, including houses, a jazz bar, parks, building exteriors, industrial spaces. She works regularly as a freelance director, designer and writer at regional theatres throughout the country.
Her most recent project with Critical Mass Performance Group was Apollo, for which she won a Garland Award for Best Play, and a Drammy Award for scenic design. Previously with Critical Mass, she wrote, choreographed, directed, set designed and produced The Akhmatova Project, named one of the Ten Best Productions in 2000 by Los Angeles Times. A movement-based performance piece, it is inspired by the life and writing of Russian poet, Anna Akhmatova. Other Critical Mass Productions include Suzan-Lori Parks's 365 Days/365 Plays (week 47), Aphra Behn's The Rover, Marlowe's Dr. Faustus, Brecht's Baal, and Shakespeare's Measure for Measure, all performed at non-traditional sites.
She has directed and designed productions at Portland Center Stage, Mark Taper Forum, Actor's Express, The Theatre @ Boston Court, Georgia Shakespeare Festival, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, and was Resident Director for The Continuum in Los Angeles. Other directing forays include opera (San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival, Long Beach Opera, Musica Angelica, Cal State Long Beach), festival performance events (Santa Barbara Summer Solstice Celebration), and film.
She was 2003 recipient of TCG's prestigious Alan Schneider Director Award and has receieve grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, ADAP/Doris Duke Ensembles Collaborations, TCG/Pew Charitable Trust, Durfee Foundation, Drama League of New York, and the California Community Foundation, among others.
Awards & Recognitions
- “Drammy” Award for excellence in scenic design, Apollo, 2009
- APAP/Doris Duke Foundation Ensemble Theatres Collaborations Grant, 2007
- Garland Award for Playwriting Apollo [Part 1]: Lebensraum, 2005