2011 Master Teacher: Olympia Dukakis

Olympia Dukakis

“I am proud to be a part of this program, which is so important to the future of American theatre, and am eager to work with the selected 2011 Lunt-Fontanne Fellows. With Chekhov, our hearts will open with compassion and reverence for life in all its contradictions. Olympia Dukakis, 2011 Master Teacher


Actress Olympia Dukakis, who is widely celebrated as one of the greatest American masters of interpreting and teaching the work of playwright Anton Chekhov, was the Master Teacher for the 2011 Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship Program. Ms. Dukakis has been a master teacher of acting and directing, with special emphasis on Chekhov, at Columbia, NYU, Yale, and universities and studios around the United States and Europe.

Olympia Dukakis is best known as an Academy Award-winning film actress, garnering great popular and critical acclaim in movies such as Moonstruck, Steel Magnolias, and Mr. Holland’s Opus – as well as on the epic miniseries Tales of the City. Ms. Dukakis is also a revered, award-winning stage actress, with New York and London credits including: The Marriage of Bette and Boo, A Man’s a Man, Curse of the Starving Class, Electra, Hecuba,Mother Courage, Peer Gynt, Titus Andronicus, Social Security, Six Characters in Search of an Author, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, and Rose. She has starred in and directed multiple productions of The Cherry Orchard, The Seagull, Three Sisters, Uncle Vanya, and other plays by Chekhov. For 15 years, Ms. Dukakis was the Artistic Director of The Whole Theatre Company, which she co-founded with her husband, actor Louis Zorich. In addition to Chekhov, her prolific directing credits include Orpheus Descending, A Touch of the Poet, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – and she has adapted plays including Mother Courage and The Trojan Women.

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Ten Chimneys, the estate lovingly created by theatre legends Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, is open to the public as a world-class house museum with a progressive mission to serve the arts.

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