Bob Rumsby | Artistic Director
Bob Rumsby grew up in England and became interested in theatre during his teenage years. He studied Shakespeare extensively in secondary school, travelling to London and Stratford to see live performances by some of the great actors and actresses of the 70’s and 80’s, including Laurence Olivier, Derek Jacobi, Ian McKellen, Judi Dench, Helen Mirren, Anthony Sher, and Alan Howard. In 1978, he joined the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain, appearing in Julius Caesar directed by Sir Michael Croft. In 1982, he graduated from the University of Birmingham with a B.A. in Drama and Theatre Arts, having acted in several shows there, including productions of King Lear, Twelfth Night, and Measure for Measure.
Bob was awarded a scholarship through the Education Abroad Program and received an MFA in Acting from the University of California at Davis in 1984. During his two years at Davis, he acted in several plays directed by Granada Artists in Residence, including well-known professional British directors Frank Hauser, Stuart Burge, and William Gaskill. Bob continued acting through the 80’s, including a professional contract with the Alley Theatre in Houston, but drifted away from the theatre during the 90’s after moving to the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife Barbara.
For the past 24 years, Bob has worked as a technical writer, editor, and trainer for several Silicon Valley companies. San Jose Youth Shakespeare was formed in late 2003, when Bob and Barbara brought together a group of homeschooling families to rehearse a full-length production of As You Like It. Since then Bob has directed two Shakespeare plays every year, with a growing community of young actors and actresses taking part, including his three daughters, Audrey, Jeanette, and Evelyn.
Chris Langland | Technical Director
Chris Langland has worked with San Jose Youth Shakespeare since 2010, starting with Much Ado About Nothing. Although serving as lighting designer and occasional fight choreographer, he views his role as being that of a mentor to the technicians and other backstage personnel. He started his theatre career as a student technician at Gunn High School’s Spangenberg Theater in 1988 as a freshman, learning lighting, stage carpentry, and sound over the course of four years. He also performed in minor roles in several shows at Gunn, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream and As You Like It, where he found his love for Shakespeare’s plays.
Chris was admitted to the School of Theater, Film, and Television at UCLA in 1992. While there, he continued to work on the technical side of theatre as well as the design and directorial areas. He was the assistant director for a graduate production of Titus Andronicus, stage manager for several plays, and directed a one-act for the UCLA Office of Residential Life.
Audrey Rumsby | Associate Artistic Director
Audrey Rumsby is a graduate of the London Academy of Dramatic Art (LAMDA), and serves as both the Associate Artistic Director and Director of Development for San Jose Youth Shakespeare. She was a featured performer at the London 2012 Olympics, and acted in several London productions before deciding to spend more of her time in California. She is a director, choreographer, and dialect coach for companies ranging from the Colorado Shakespeare Festival to the Jewel Theatre in Santa Cruz, and appears regularly onstage in the Bay Area and abroad. Every week, she directs Shakespeare workshops for HOPE Services in San Jose. She is currently directing and producing a feature-length documentary about Vaudeville.
Barbara Rumsby | Chief Cook & Bottle-washer
Barbara works behind the scenes throughout the year to manage the company and support each production in several critical capacities. Barbara completes all of the official business for the company, such as working with the City Parks and Recreation Department to secure our rehearsal space, scheduling and running board meetings, paying the bills, and accounting for all of our income and expenses. When we established the company as a California non-profit over ten years ago, Barbara did all of the research and completed all of the incorporation paperwork.
On the creative side, Barbara is a great influence and contributor in the costume department. She is an experienced seamstress and has developed a keen eye for fabrics and colors that are appropriate for our ambitious Shakespeare productions. Over the years, she has sewn several beautiful gowns for our leading ladies (Lady Macbeth, Rosalind, Hermione, Adriana, Portia, to name a few) and countless doublets for the gents.
As each show approaches, Barbara is the company’s main contact with our audience, spending many hours talking to families over the phone, responding to emails and keeping track of ticket sales. During the shows, you can usually find Barbara running around in her role as House Manager, chatting with audience members and making sure that each production runs as smoothly as possible.