Co-Artistic DiRectors

Elizabeth Murphy

Co-Founder, Managing and 

Co-Artistic Director

Jesse MacLean

Co-Artistic Director

Elizabeth Murphy is the Co-Artistic director and Co-Founder of Shakespeare by the Sea.  Trained as an actor, she has worked from Vancouver to Halifax.  For Shakespeare by the Sea she has directed THE MERCY SEAT, THE TAMING OF THE SHREW, OTHELLO, LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST, TWELFTH NIGHT, THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, ABRIGED,  MEASURE FOR MEASURE, THE AGONY AND ECSTACY OF STEVE JOBS, THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR, MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, THE MERCHANT OF VENICE,  ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA ,I AM MY OWN WIFE, AS YOU LIKE IT, ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL and OTHELLO for a second time. She was nominated for a Merritt award for her direction of OTHELLO and THE MERCHANT OF VENICE.   She received the Mayor’s Award for contribution to the Arts.  She currently serves as the Chair of Theatre Nova Scotia.  

Elizabeth can be reached at

Jesse MacLean is a director, performer and sound designer based in Halifax. He has served as Co-Artistic Director of Shakespeare By The Sea for six seasons and has directed over 30 productions for SBTS including Hamlet, Comedy of Errors, Julius Caesar, and King Lear. Since 2003, Jesse has led the company’s collective creation efforts, developing hit musical adaptations such as Robin Hood, Alice in Wonderland, Wizard of Oz and Pinocchio. His work has been acclaimed by critics as “Electrifying”... “Epic and imaginative”… “a potent combination of wide-screen spectacle and hushed, intimate drama”... “daring, thoughtful, with an extraordinary dedication to the text.” 


Jesse has toured extensively across North America and Asia with the internationally acclaimed Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia. His evocative sound designs have been used in productions for Neptune Theatre, SBTSHalifax, The Chester Playhouse and Eastern Front Theatre. Jesse has been a guest faculty member at Bishop’s University in Quebec, directing productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Richard III. In the fall of 2019, he was named the Programming Director of the The Chester Playhouse, in Chester NS.

Jesse can be reached at