• Barger-Barclay Professor of Theater

    Johns Auditorium, 201
    (434) 223-6266

Shirley Kagan has taught theatre at Hampden-Sydney for over 25 years. Kagan is also an Advisory Board Member for Education at Arizona's Southwest Shakespeare Company. Elsewhere in the world of theatre, Kagan directed Richmond Firehouse Theatre's "The Picture of Dorian Gray" noted by the New York Times for being one of thePremière post Covid live theatre productions.


M.F.A., University of Hawaii at Manoa
B.A., Williams College

Teaching Interests

  • Directing and acting with particular interest in Beckett, Brecht, Pinter and Shakespeare. While at H-SC I have developed two courses that I particularly love: American History Through the Musical and The Theatre of Law. 
  • I also enjoy collaborative work with colleagues across the disciplines.

Committee Assignments & Service to the College

  • Kagan has served on many of the college committees most recently on the Academic Master Planning Committee and as Chair of the Department of Fine Arts. 
  • She is pleased to serve as the American Director of the Virginia Program at Oxford and as advisor to Alpha Psi Omega Dramatic Honors Society.

Most Recent Professional Activity

  • Presenter of paper "A Tale of Two Noras" at the South Atlantic Modern Languages Association, November 2023

  • Director, staged reading of Timothy Findlay’s “Elizabeth Rex” independent production, Tokyo, Japan, June 2023

  • Presenter of paper "Children of Assimilation" at the South Atlantic Modern Languages Association, November 2022

  • Presenter of talk The Virginia Program at Oxford Model for roundtable panel on global education at the South Atlantic Modern Languages Association, November 2021

  • Director, “The Picture of Dorian Gray" original adaptation.  Firehouse theatre, Richmond, VA, June 2020

  • Actor in Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive Preview Screening: a WCVE Community Ideas Stations event at the Poe Museum, Richmond, VA,  October 2018

  • Director of Po'okela award winning The Comedy of Errors for the Hawaii Shakespeare Festival, Honolulu, HI, July 2017 

Other Interests

  • Cooking
  • Gardening
  • Traveling
  • Karaoke

Research Interests and potential topics for students

Acting, Directing, Dramatic Literature, Shakespeare studies.