Karen Ruch is a director, actor and stage manager. She has worked in regional theatre since 1995. In addition to working on Free Shakespeare in the Park in Harrisburg, Pa., for more than 20 years, she is dedicated to producing original works and creating more opportunities for women on stage. Ruch is a founding member of the Stage Door Series Ensemble at Gamut Theatre in Harrisburg, which focuses on taking a fresh approach to classic works. For the Ensemble, she worked with playwrights, composers and choreographers from central Pennsylvania to create and direct two shows that were collections of original short pieces that reinterpreted Shakespeare’s works: Sonnet Inspirations (2011) and As She Likes It (2016). In 2001, directly after 9/11, she collaborated with three women to produce Courtesans to Queens, a showcase of scenes from classical theatre that focused on the themes of love, marriage, family and the impact of war and politics on our lives. In 2018, she directed the Pennsylvania premiere of Jen Silverman’s Collective Rage: A Play in 5 Betties at Open Stage of Harrisburg. Ruch has also directed The Tempest, Lysistrata, Romeo and Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Importance of Being Earnest and The Girlhood of Shakespeare’s Heroines. Some of her favorite on-stage roles include a witch in Macbeth, Eleanor in The Lion in Winter, Falstaff in Henry IV, Corryn in Gideon’s Knot and Gertrude in Hamlet.