Biographical information


Edward Cornell


Edward Cornell (1944- ) was an early associate of Joseph Papp at the New York Shakespeare Festival. He was the first managing director of the Festival’s experimental wing, The Other Stage, where he directed No Place to Be Somebody, the Festival’s first Pulitzer Prize winner.

After graduating Williams College, he attended Yale Drama School where he met Joseph Papp and came to New York as his assistant at The Public Theater. He currently resides in the Adirondack Park where he has established a career as a painter and sculptor.


William Shakespeare’s Naked Hamlet, Joseph Papp assisted by Ted Cornell; The McMillan Co., 1969

Not Since Edward Albee, Walter Kerr, The New York Times, May 18, 1969, Section 2, p.1, ff.

No Place to be Somebody, Charles Gordone; Bobbs-Merril Company, Inc., 1969

Enter Joseph Papp, Stuart W. Little; Coward, McCann and Geohegan, Inc., 1974

A Dream Grows in Brooklyn, Jack Kroll, Newsweek, March 17, 1980, pp. 85, 86

Joe Papp, An American Life, Helen Epstein; Little, Brown and Company, 1994

A Visit to Crooked Brook, an art farm, Lee Manchester, Lake Placid News, January 6, 2006, p 21ff.

Art Farm Creations, Kim Smith Dedam, Plattsburgh Press-Republican, September 7, 2006, C1ff.

Edward Cornell, the Change Artist, Elizabeth Ward, Adirondack Life, January/February 2007, p.19ff.

Sculptor Ted Cornell Reinvents Self, Brian Mann, North Country Public Radio, Interview, October 25, 2007

Previous Works


1965 – 66
Montserrat Summer Festival Theatre, Montserrat, British West Indies – co-founder, co-producer, director, actor, designer

1967 – 68
New York Shakespeare Festival – assistant to Joseph Papp, playreader, assistant director, co-author with Joseph Papp, The Naked Hamlet

“Shakespeare’s language remains undisturbed in this version, but Papp’s imaginative scissoring and repasting has sculpted a Hamlet of crystalline tensity.” Time, January 5, 1968, p.55

New York Shakespeare Festival – first managing director of the Other Stage, experimental wing of the NYSF

New York Shakespeare Festival – directed No Place to be Somebody
which won the Pulitzer Prize for drama, the first off-Broadway play to receive that honor.

“Let’s be simple about this. Charles Gordone is the most astonishing new playwright to come along since Edward Albee, and with ‘No Place to Be Somebody,’ now running in the Public Theatre’s downstairs tryout room he lurches at us…like the ripe and roaring Albee of ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’… Everything, under Ted Cornell’s strict and vigorous stage direction, is extremely well performed; the cast has been immaculately selected, and the interplay is the easiest and most effective since ‘The Boys in the Band.’ ” Walter Kerr, The New York Times, May 18, 1969, Section 2, p.1, ff.

1967 – 1991
Director of more than 70 theatre productions for The New York Shakespeare Festival, The Long Wharf Theatre, Arena Stage, The Hartford Stage Company, The Indiana Repertory Theatre, Playwrights’ Horizons, The Actors Studio, and The Brooklyn Academy of Music among others.

1972 – 1973
New York Shakespeare Festival – Associate Director for Television – one of my
responsibilities was to coordinate the production of Sticks and Bones by David Rabe,
directed by Robert Downey, as a television film produced by the NYSF for CBS as one of a series of specials. We devised an original production technique employing one of the portable video cameras, then used on the sidelines at football games, which had been specially equipped to accept film lenses.

“I don’t think plays and novels should be movies; I’m really against it. What I tried to do in ‘Sticks and Bones’ was to overcome that inherent impossibility. I think tape is the answer to every fantasy a filmmaker ever had!” Bob Downey, Sticks and Bones by Ted Cornell, Peter Powell and Bob Downey, Filmmakers’ Newsletter, Volume 6, Number 7, pp. 20-26

1975 – 90
The Franklin House Tenants Union – co-founder and first helmsperson of a tenants’ group which organized a rent strike and gained control of an historical building on the
Brooklyn waterfront. My sons continue to live in this landmark hotel under the Brooklyn Bridge.

1978 The Penn Central Railroad – freight brakeman
1978 – 79 The Actors Studio – co-coordinator of the Playwrights and Directors Unit
1980 The Brooklyn Academy of Music – directed Johnny On a Spot for the BAM Theatre Company.

“…you can’t help dreaming about the ideal cast, including James Cagney, Pat O’Brien, Raymond Walburn and Joan Blondell. But under Edward Cornell’s lickety-split staging, the Bamsters do nicely…and it’s the funniest play in New York…” Jack Kroll, Newsweek, March 17, 1980, pp. 85, 86

“Stage View, Selected Highlights of the Season, …Directors – Edward Cornell lighted the hidden fires of ‘Johnny on a Spot.’ Peter Brook did everything that could be done to transcend the trite spiritual message of ‘Conference of the Birds,’ and Hal Prince did another kind of snazzy confidence job in sugarcoating Eva Peron.” Frank Rich, The New York Times, June 8, 1980, Section D, p.1, ff.

1981 – 91
Ohio University, Hofstra University, New York University (Circle in the Square) – Visiting Professor and Acting Instructor, variously, repeated visits

Crooked Brook Studios – purchased and renovated an early twentieth century farmhouse, barn, and outbuildings on a 140 acre tract of land in the Adirondack Park in upstate New York. The land is now part of an undesignated wildlife corridor within the park and is managed under a 480a New York State logging agreement. Two wetlands and ponds were created on the property in 1995 by the United States Department of the Interior under a continuing Fish and Wildlife Restoration Agreement. The house and barns are my living quarters and studios and the nearby lands on Crooked Brook are the site of my environmental sculptures.


Best known for

Directing No Place to Be Somebody.


director, artist, sculptor, community activist