Tina Shepard graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 1963, bounced around NYC for a few years working as light-board op, lighting designer, actor, mime; by some miraculous good fortune she landed in The Open Theater in the Fall of 1967, working on The Serpent, the company’s first collaboratively developed show. She was a member of The Open Theater until the company disbanded in 1973.
In 1974 she teamed up with fellow Open Theater actors Paul Zimet and Ellen Maddow to form The Talking Band, initially dedicated to continuing exploration of the theatrical interplay of image, language and music in which they had been engaged in The Open Theater. She has worked as an actor/collaborator in most of the plays the company has created. In 1988 she was awarded an OBIE for her performance in The Talking Band production The Three Lives of Lucie Cabrol.
Shepard was one of a group of actors, designers and musicians who, starting in 1976, joined together with director Joseph Chaikin and dramaturg Mira Rafalowicz for a few months each year for theater explorations. As The Winter Project they created and performed four shows at La Mama Annex.
In 1987, The Talking Band collaborated with The Otrabanda Company and director Anne Bogart to create No Plays, No Poetry. . . , a show based on the theoretical texts of Bertolt Brecht which won an OBIE in 1988. Tina continued working with Anne Bogart in several projects, among them American Vaudeville – in which she played both Mae West and Harpo Marx – at the Alley Theater, Houston; and Charles Mee’s Orestes, performed at Tadashi Suzuki’s theater in Togamura, Japan.
Shepard has also worked extensively with Brian Jucha/Via Theater; Brooke Oharra/Theater of a Two Headed Calf; and David Herskovits/Target Margin Theater.
She has taught acting, directing, voice & movement for actors at Princeton University, Smith College, and Williams College. She directed eleven productions at Williams, most of them original pieces created in collaboration with her students.
Tina is currently teaching acting and movement (aikido) at Experimental Theater Wing/ NYU. In the Fall of 2008 she directed a production of Plays, a script she made from Gertrude Stein’s essay ‘Plays’ and developed with her ETW students.