Beth Frances Milles

Associate Professor


Beth Milles is a Director and Associate Professor in the Department of Performing and Media Arts at Cornell University Recent directing work includes TIMEBOMB by Carson Kreitzer (Kitchen Theatre), FELT SAD, POSTED A FROG  (international pandemic collaboration Cherry Arts) FAREWELL CHRIS YEE (NYC). AUGUST OSAGE COUNTY (Hangar Theatre) Beth directed the world premiere of Serbian playwright Iva Brdar’s RULE OF THUMB at the Cherry Artspace (Ithaca, NYC) and mounted recent collaborations with award winning poet/playwright/performer Ruth Margraff TEMPTATIONS OF THE FRESH VOLUPTUOUS (a virtual/aural performance evocation (Iowa and Chicago/digital) and LOCKET ARIAS in Chicago (RED TAPE, ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO) Beth directed Judy Tate’s FAST BLOOD (Civic Ensemble/broadcast nationally/hosted by American Slavery Project).  Other recent work includes the world premiere of Judy Tate’s IN THE PARLOUR (Civic Ensemble) SERIAL BLACK FACE by Janine Nabors (Long Wharf Theatre) and THE DRILL by Sierra Blanco (Cherry Lane, Young Playwrights Inc.) Beth developed and directed the world premiere of IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT (an adaptation of Charlie Chaplin 1916 Mutual film short One Am) devised with students at Cornell University. Other recent work includes Nano Performances (13 site-specific multi media installation created in collaboration with visual artist/animator Lynn Tomlinson) and THE INFINITE INFINITESIMAL a clown piece interrogating moments of fragility and bombastic hyperbole . Other recent work includes the premiere of Lauren Feldman’s play A PEOPLE, THE CHERRY ORCHARD (a site specific installation production (both at Cornell University)), DEAD MAN’S CELL PHONE (Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, RI), THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST (Trinity Repertory Company) and LAZARUS DISPOSED (Perishable Theatre). Other directing work includes writer/director Tim Robbins and Adam Simon's CARNAGE for The Actor's Gang 20th anniversary season in Los Angeles, a new adaptation of Moliere’s THE BOURGEOIS GENTLEMAN with her students at Cornell University in collaboration with composer Lewis Flinn, and Carson Kreitzer’s FLESH AND THE DESERT for the Summer Play Festival in New York City. Beth directed the world premiere of NERO: ANOTHER GOLDEN ROME at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco developed in collaboration with playwright Steven Sater and composer Duncan Sheik (workshopped initially with her students at Cornell). She directed the West Coast premiere of Carson Kreitzer’s SELF DEFENSE at The Actor’s Gang Theatre in Los Angeles (3 LA Weekly Awards), Julia Sweeney's "GOD SAID HA” on Broadway at the Lyceum Theatre, SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER at Shakespeare Santa Cruz, A CERTAIN LABOR DAY, written by and starring Carroll O' Connor at The Union Square Theatre in San Francisco. Beth adapted and directed THE IMAGINARY INVALID at the Actors Gang Theater in LA which toured at The Rushmore Festival (4 LA Ovation Awards including Best Adaptation)

Beth is the founder of Banter Company, which focuses on the adaptation of classical theatre for the modern audience. She specializes in physical theatre and development of new and devised work as well as the tradition of farce and the contemporization of the Commedia dell'Arte. With Banter she directed and developed an adaptation of Carlo Gozzi’s THE LOVE OF THREE ORANGES, which premiered in Los Angeles (3 LA Ovation Nominations) inaugurating the outdoor performance space at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica, CA. Other work includes the world premiere of PRIVATE BATTLE; Lynn Manning's adaptation of Woyzeck with The Actor's Gang and the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (3 LA Weekly Nominations) and Lisa Loomer's MARIA MARIA MARIA, MARIA for the Mark Taper Forum’s New Works Festival in Los Angeles.For 2 seasons at the HBO New Writers Project, Beth directed over 10 new works.

For LA Theatreworks and National Public Radio, Beth has directed the radio versions of AN AMERICAN DAUGHTER with Mary McDonnell, THE YOUNG MAN FROM ATLANTA with Shirley Knight, and her own adaptation of THE IMAGINARY INVALID with The Actor's Gang. She was the recipient of the prestigious Walt Disney Television Fellowship in Directing.

Additional credits include new works by Wendy Wasserstein at Naked Angels, Will Scheffer, John Ford Noonan, Steven Sater, Max Mayer at New York Stage and Film and Lynn Martin. She has developed new work at many well known theatres including Playwrights Horizons, The Juilliard School, The Sundance Theatre Institute, American Repertory Theatre, Young Playwrights, Inc., New York Stage and Film, The Mark Taper Forum, New York Shakespeare Festival, ASK Theater Projects and South Coast Repertory Theater. Other work includes The Guthrie Theater, The Classical Theatre Lab, The Two River Theater, The Kitchen Theater, and Williamstown Theatre Festival.

She is currently developing HEADING INTO NIGHT: a clown piece about (forgetting)  with longtime collaborator and clown conceptor (Cirque du Soleil/CAL ARTS) Daniel Passer.

A graduate of Cornell University, Beth joined the faculty in 2001. She has guest lectured at Harvard University, Brown University, The University of Texas, Austin, Southern Connecticut State University and Loyola Marymount College. While on leave from Cornell she served as Head of the Directing MFA at Brown University and as an Associate Director at Trinity Repertory  and as the Director of Education at Long Wharf Theatre. She has been an adjunct professor of Theatre at The University of Redlands. Beth is also a graduate of the ART Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University.

Research Focus

Experimental performance. Improvisational Theatre. Street performance.

Adaptation of theatre from alternate source material. Writing for performance.

Interaction with audience.




Director Beth Milles and performer Daniel Passer on WHCU

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PMA Courses - Spring 2024

PMA Courses - Fall 2024