Nancy Meckler is joint artistic director, with Polly Teale, of Shared Experience, a touring production company renowned for both its adaptations of literary classics and its knack of giving physical form to characters' inner lives. Since joining Shared Experience in 1987, Meckler's many award-winning productions have included Mother Courage and Her Children, Anna Karenina, War and Peace, True West, Heartbreak House and The Bacchae.

In 1999, Meckler also directed Olympia Dukakis, making her UK debut, in Martin Sherman's Rose at the National Theatre. The play subsequently transferred to Broadway. Prior to her time at Shared Experience, Meckler was an associate director of the Hampstead Theatre and the Leicester Haymarket and was a founder member of the Freehold Theatre.

Shared Experience's Mill on the Floss, adapted from George Eliot's novel, was last seen in 1995. The production, which is co-directed by Teale, opens next week at the West End's New Ambassadors Theatre following a UK regional tour and prior to international engagements in Washington DC and China.

Place of birth
Born in Syracuse, New York, USA

Next of kin
David Aukin, husband

Professional training

  • Bachelor of Arts in Drama
  • Acting classes, Herbert Berghof Studios, New York City
  • Masters degree, New York University
  • London Academy of Musical & Dramatic Arts (LAMDA)

    First big break
    A fringe production of Antigone which played in Edinburgh and went on to open at the Berlin Festival.

    Career highlights

  • Being the first woman to direct at the Royal National Theatre (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in the Lyttelton).
  • Directing Ian Holm and Nigel Hawthorne in Uncle Vanya.
  • Having Shared Experience's Anna Karenina play New York.
  • Directing Olympia Dukakis in Rose at the National and on Broadway.

    Favourite actor/actress you've worked with
    Annabelle Apsion and Olympia Dukakis to name a few.

    If you were an actor/actress, what role would you most like to play?
    "Frankie" in Member of the Wedding. I was obsessed with this role when I was 14.

    Favourite playwright
    Anton Chekhov

    What play would you most like to direct?
    Three Sisters

    What's the best thing currently on stage?
    I've been rehearsing so haven't seen anything recently, but I did love Mamma Mia!.

    What advice would you give to government to secure the future of British theatre?
    Make cheap seats available.

    If you could swap places with one person, living or dead, who would it be?
    A research scientist who finds a solution to global warming.

    Favourite book
    Currently, anything by Carol Shields.

    Favourite holiday destination

    Why did you want to adapt Mill on the Floss?
    Because it's a brilliant story about a passionate young girl denied an education.

    What's your favourite line from Mill on the Floss?
    "Yes, because you are a man and have power and can do something in the world."

    What was the most notable thing that happened during rehearsals for Mill on the Floss?
    Eight strangers came together to form a true ensemble.

    What do you think differentiates Shared Experience from other production companies?
    We put the actor at the centre of the work.

    What's the key to your working relationship with Polly Teale?
    Shared aesthetic and values.

    What's on the horizon for Shared Experience?
    The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter and The Clearing by Helen Edmundson (who also adapted Mill on the Floss).