Dr. Robin Bates, associate professor of English, was one of four finalists for the American Shakespeare Center’s “Words in Action” award, which recognizes teachers who have inspired their students to appreciate Shakespeare.
Students made more than 100 nominations for elementary school teachers, theatre practitioners, and university professors. The American Shakespeare Center, located in Staunton, Virginia, boasts the Blackfriar’s Playhouse, the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s London indoor theatre.
Dr. Bates takes students to see Shakespeare performed at Blackfriar’s Playhouse every year.
“I try to bring Shakespeare to life for my students, but they in turn bring these plays to life for me, each class in its own way,” Dr. Bates said. “Each class makes its own decisions about what the plays mean, and how they’re best staged, and that makes my job always new and exciting.”
Four students submitted enthusiastic nominations on behalf of Dr. Bates.
“Before Dr. Bates, if there was a Venn Diagram representing the relationship between what I was interested in and Shakespeare’s works, it would depict two separate circles very far away from each other,” wrote Paige Hammock ’14. “I took her Early Modern English Class as a literature requirement, but she roped me in with her enthusiasm and academic respectability, and I was quickly on board for both of her Shakespeare classes.”
“It is solely through Dr. Bates’ instruction that I have come to experience and truly love Shakespeare,” Emma Kinsey ’14 wrote. “Her passion for his work is unmistakable.”
“Because of Dr. Bates, I feel as if I know Shakespeare as a person and not as an elusive and serious writer,” Erin Gough ’15 wrote.
“Getting to see a production on stage, come to life, was phenomenal and getting to learn basic stage combat definitely gave me an appreciation for what actors have to do in stage-fights,” wrote Deirdre Scanlon ’15, who traveled to England on a study abroad trip with Dr. Bates and went to the Globe Theatre. “We got to see a rehearsal for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, have an acting workshop with a Globe actor, and see The Tempest performed on stage.”