Richard D. Batchelder, Jr. is a partner in the Boston office of the global law firm Ropes & Gray, which he joined over 30 years ago. Richard has a lifelong interest in Shakespeare and the theater, and is a direct descendant of several characters in the canon, including Sir Walter Blount from Henry IV, Part 1. He recently received a Tony Award for co-producing The Inheritance, which won Best Play, and is co-Executive Producer of the upcoming feature film Lilly, which tells the life story of Fair Pay Act icon Lilly Ledbetter. Richard serves on several boards, including the USS Constitution Museum, and is also a Councilor of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, a Proprietor of the Boston Athenaeum, and on the Advisory Council of the Massachusetts Historical Society.
Ayanna Thompson is a Regents Professor of English at Arizona State University and Director of the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, where she created RaceB4Race. She is the author of many books including Blackface and Shakespeare in the Theatre: Peter Sellars. Thompson is a Shakespeare Scholar in Residence at The Public Theater, chairs the Council of Scholars at Theatre for a New Audience in Brooklyn, and serves on the Boards of the Royal Shakespeare Company and Play On Shakespeare. She served as the President of the Shakespeare Association of America, one of Phi Beta Kappa’s Visiting Scholars, a member of the Board of Directors for the Association of Marshall Scholars, and in 2021 she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
# # #