Training Program Productions:

1999 - 2012


Webster University Conservatory of Theatre Arts

Connecticut Repertory Theatre

University of Delaware/PTTP

Nevada Conservatory Theatre at UNLV

University of Utah/PATP

Vanecia J, John Maltese

Lady Windermere’s Fan

Webster University Conservatory of Theatre Arts

April, 2012

“Highly satisfying and delightful Lady Windermere’s Fan at Webster Conservatory.  

“The Conservatory cast handled those lines with aplomb and accomplishment, from the smallest part to the primary roles, a testament not just to the meticulous guidance of Barnes as well as dialect coach Sigrid Sutter.  Wilde, Barnes, and the richly talented students of the Conservatory combine their resources for an engaging and entertaining production; one the master playwright himself may well have enjoyed.”

    KDHX Theatre Reviews


Connecticut Repertory Theatre

February, 2007

“Winning combination of persuasive acting and excellent staging. . .  Maximum impact with a minimalist stage. . .”

    Daily Campus News


University of Delaware/PTTP

April, 2007

“Guest director Paul Barnes manages to mix some fine physical comedy into the fast-paced verbal humor.  This is very much a play about language, but the bawdy sight gags and pratfalls lighten the action and help keep things moving briskly.”

    Newark News Journal

Love’s Labour’s Lost

Nevada Conservatory Theatre at UNLV

March, 2005

“Paul Barnes keys into the script’s affectionate indictment of posturing intellectuals, as well as its romance.  The result is an evening of humorous surprises, if you’re able to keep up with the verbal ping-pong.”

    Las Vegas Review-Journal

The Rimers of Eldritch

University of Utah/PATP

January, 2003

“Guest director Paul Barnes handles Rimers with his usual skill and flare.  Staged with a simplicity reminiscent of Our Town, Wilson’s Rimers digs deeply into the dark, decaying underbelly of Eldritch.  The 20-member, all-student cast is well-honed. . . .  Wilson’s fascinating script is beautifully staged. . .  But it’s not for the faint of heart,  Rimers of Eldritch simmers with pent up emotions.”

    Deseret News

“The Babcock production of Rimers, with its 20person ensemble, is a good vehicle for developing the skills of many young actors, and most in this production rise to the challenge.  Guest director Paul Barnes immerses these students in ‘60’s-style deconstructed theater through his staging.  The best reason to see the play is for the performances by this fine group of young actors, who demonstrate considerable craft as they crawl into the skins of these not-so-lovable Middle Americans.”

    Salt Lake Tribune

“The presence of the town is felt all the time.  All characters stay onstage at all times, out of the way and conducting their business, but felt never the less.  It’s a town where everyone knows everyone and watches everyone and most of the time pretends not to.  The others onstage rarely pay attention to the action in play, making it all the more effective that they do.  No furniture ever moves, everyone but a few crucial players sticks to their respective areas.  It all creates the feel of a small town no one in their right mind would want to live in.”

    Red Magazine

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Webster University Conservatory of Theatre Arts

April, 2003

The good news is that the best Midsummer Night's Dream I've ever seen is in town.  The bad news is that it closes Tuesday night.  Paul Barnes directs the students of Webster University in a highly engaging production filled with sense and humor.  Charming actors, clear story-telling, and just the right balance of tension and teasing make this about the shortest two hours-twenty five minutes I've spent in a theatre in quite a while.  So much sense, so much clarity, rings in ths production that you may feel as though you're hearing it for the first time.

    Richard Green

    KDHX Theatre Review


University of Delaware/PTTP

January, 1999

“Guest director Paul Barnes gets sterling performances not only from his principals but from the rest of his carefully chosen cast as well, while keeping nearly three house of stage action moving so swiftly and clearly that it seems to unfold in only half that time.”

    Newark News Journal


What I learned. . .

Inevitably – and fortunately – a typical year of free-lance directing has included at least one assignment at a university BFA or MFA training program somewhere in the country.  I’ve been blessed with assignments at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, University of Delaware/PTTP, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, University of Utah/PAPT, University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theatre, and Webster University Conservatory of Theatre Arts programs, and have always grown from the experience, possibly more than have the students with whom I’ve worked.

Directing at a training program often means slowing down a bit so that you can examine and articulate your own process.  It’s especially important and helpful with student designers, who are really finding their way and often figuring out how to communicate with directors; learning how to take what is abstract and imagistic for them and turn it into concrete, achievable design work.  As with all directing, the lesson becomes about specificity. . .  being clear about your vision for the production, your ideas about the play, while not being dictatorial. . .  welcoming ideas and being patient as young designers develop their process.

Which is to say it’s not all that different from directing on a professional level (and part of the goal in any training program setting or situation is to not condescend, to always be collaborative, and to maintain professional standards and expectations no matter how accomplished a design team may be).

Same goes with the actors.  I find I don’t alter my process in any radical way when working with actors in training, but I do alter the time-line arc of a production’s development.  It just takes a little more time. . .  but that’s why students seek training. . .  to take time so they can grow, so they can acquire a process. . .  their own way of working.

All of the programs for which I’ve directed have been canny enough to make sure that their students are being challenged with great scripts.  Although the bulk of my experiences directing on the BFA or MFA level has been with plays by Shakespeare, I’ve also gotten to work on Wilde, Moliere, Peter Barnes, and Lanford Wilson.  The lesson remains the same, professional or educational setting: we all grow, we all get better whenever we’re supported by the work of an excellent playwright.