MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The former longtime producing artist director of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival has died, the ASF confirmed Tuesday.
Geoffrey Sherman, who held the position from 2005 until his retirement in 2017, died in New York earlier in the day. ASF said he died “after a heroic battle against cancer.”
According to ASF, Sherman was born, educated, and trained as a theater and television director in England at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, The University of Bristol, and the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. He arrived in the United States in 1978 and directed plays around the country before serving as artistic director at Boarshead Theatre in East Lansing, Michigan, Meadow Brook Theatre in Rochester, Michigan, Portland Theatre in Oregon, and the Hudson Guild Theatre in New York.
During his time at ASF, Sherman is credited with leading the festival through the Great Recession and staging some of its most beloved productions.
“During his tenure at Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Geoffrey created magic on stage by producing and directing beloved musicals, invigorating Shakespeare, adaptations of classics, and original works,” ASF officials said.
“He looked at everything through a magnifying glass,” said ASF’s Development Director Even Loeb. "The community probably would speak to Geoffrey’s impact with our big family musicals. He brought Disney to ASF and Disney was impressed with the productions that Shakespeare had on its stages under the direction of Geoffrey. Regional theaters across the United States would produce Disney and I believe they looked at our productions, Geoffrey’s productions, as really high marks in what they expect to have on stages.”
Sherman is survived by his wife, actress and director Diana Van Fossen, and his daughter, actress Alice Sherman.