Folder - Neglected Writers

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Neglected Writers

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  • Undated (Creation)

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(1953-2006)

Biographical history

Betsy Carpenter taught in the Department of Performing Arts and then in the Department of Writing, Literature and Publishing at Emerson College. Carpenter was born Mary Elizabeth van der Cross in Bennington, Vermont on December 6, 1953. Betsy grew up in Hoosick Falls and Scotia, New York. In 1977, she graduated from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York with a classical studies degree. Carpenter was the first artistic director of Emerson Stage’s New Play Festival which is now called Emerson Stage NewFest New Works Festival. As an adjunct faculty member she taught graduate playwriting and literature programs at Emerson for 15 years. Later in her life she started to use a different medium of art expression. She was a fiber artist. She also served as the web master for Harvard University. She passed away after a timely battle with cancer on December 11, 2006.

Betsy was devoted to the development of new plays and exclusively sought to support first productions and developmental readings at major theaters. Her participation, direction, and creation of organizations demonstrate her support for new work. In 1984 she won the Governor Award for Artistic Excellence for founding the Renegade Theater in Hoboken, NJ. The Renegade Theater Company is a not-for profit cultural organization that serves as a laboratory for developing new works. She co-founded Theatrics! with Amy Merill which was a nonprofit theater organization that presented developmental readings, produced plays, and offered workshops. As director of the Clauder Competition for over 10 years, Betsy received, reviewed, and provided feedback for a number of play submissions by New England playwrights. The competition awards include full production of a play that has not been professional produced and a cash prize. Winners of the competition are included in the collection. In the Boston area, Betsy has directed projects for Emerson College, Theatrics!, New Voices, The Women in Theatre Festival, Boston Theater Marathon, and Coyote Theatre.

Before Emerson, Carpenter was the assistant artistic director and literary manager at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, Illinois. While there she made her directorial debut and met Goodman’s artistic director, David Mamet who recently started his own theater company. Carpenter and Mamet remained and contact as evidenced by her assistance with a number of Mamet’s productions in varying capacities. She acted in Sexual Perversity in Chicago, managed The Duck Variations, assistant directed The Woods, and directed the world premiere of Dodge.

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