DR. JUDITH W.B. WILLIAMS served as Chair/Artistic Director of the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Florida from 1989 to 1997. Professor Williams, a University of Michigan PhD, is an internationally recognized producer, director, actor and teacher. She taught acting and/or directing at the Universities of Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, Vermont and West Virginia before coming to the University of Florida in 1989. From 1981 to 1985, Dr. Williams served as Producer/Artistic Director of the Champlain Shakespeare Festival, in Burlington, VT. She has been actively involved on a regional and national level with the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival since 1969, when she was first nominated for an Irene Ryan Scholarship. Professor Williams received the Amoco Gold Medallion for “Excellence in American Theatre” in 1985 and the Kennedy Center Medallion in 1986 for “Outstanding Service to American Theatre.” Dr. Williams is a former member of the Board of Directors of American Theatre in Higher Education, as well as having had a leadership role in ATHE’s Forum for Theatre Chairs and Deans. Williams also served ATHE for twelve years as Chair of the National Committee to select the Outstanding Teacher of Theatre in Higher Education. She has been a member of the National Association of Schools of Theatre and served as chair of the Committee on Ethics. Williams has directed over 90 professional and university productions, in addition to several productions and directing colloquia in London, Winchester, and Yorkshire, England, as well as Austria, Scotland, Germany, Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Russia, Greece, and South Africa.
Since coming to UF, she founded the popular improvisational theatre troupe, “Theatre Strike Force,” a cabaret troupe, “Formal Attire” (now known as GatorTones), and the International Theatre Production Program. Dr. Williams was elected as a member of The College of Fellows of the American Theatre in 1997 along with playwright Edward Albee. As of fall 1997, Professor Williams returned to teaching full time in the areas of acting, directing, and ballroom dance. In March 2000, Dr. Williams served as one of three faculty members for the prestigious Salzburg Seminar in Austria for a weeklong seminar on American Drama, which included professionals from 27 countries. Having directed Agnes of God in 1994 and performed in Love Letters in 1995, Dr. Williams returned to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with a dance drama adaptation of Strindberg’s Miss Julie in August 2003. She continues to serve as Director of the International Theatre Production Program and most recently directed a production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in June 2011, which performed on amphitheatres in Athens and Spetses, Greece.
New plays are another of Williams' passions, having directed Loaded for Bear in New York City in 2009 and Fatima and Maama in Los Angeles in 2010. In August 2011, she was invited to Chicago to direct The Loyalist, a new play set in the American Revolutionary War.
In 2005, Dr. Williams was invited to tour an aerial production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Novorossiisk, Russia. Based on the success of the Midsummer tour, Williams' upcoming production of Oliver Goldsmith's She Stoops to Conquer has been invited to perform in St. Petersburg and Novorossiisk, Russia, and Kiev in the Ukraine.