Saint Mary's Professor Wins Kennedy Center National Teaching Artist Grant

Professor Rebecca Engle.
For Immediate Release
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Saint Mary's Professor Wins Kennedy Center National Teaching Artist Grant

MORAGA, CA (Feb. 11, 2009) – Saint Mary's College Professor Rebecca Engle has been awarded a Kennedy Center National Teaching Artist Grant for 2009. Professor Engle is one of seven recipients nationwide to receive a Teaching Artist Grant from the Kennedy Center for this year. The honor recognizes Engle's achievements as a theater faculty member and teaching artist, and places her among the finest college directors in the entire country. As a theater teacher and director, Professor Engle says she pushes her students to listen for the silence in the story, "I've spent many years at Saint Mary's College exploring ways to hear voices and texts from the edges of our institution and culture."

The national grant follows another recent recognition of Engle by the Kennedy Center. Engle was named a Region VIII Teaching Artist by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival last October, which acknowledged her as one of the top college theater directors in the Western United States.

Engle consistently delivers high-caliber theatrical performances from her students. Her 2007 production of Nilo Cruz' "Lorca in a Green Dress" was invited to perform in Cedar City, Utah, where it was named a regional winner and a national finalist in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. "She is a great talent nestled in a small program. She pushes her students really hard creatively," said Gregg Henry, Artistic Director of the Kennedy Center's American College Theater Festival Education Department. "She makes dynamic choices and makes no excuses that Saint Mary's theater department is small."

The Kennedy Center's $2,000 professional development award funds a three-week residency next summer at the Artists' Repertory Theatre in Portland, Ore. Professor Engle is collaborating with the theater company to develop "The Hillsboro Story," a spoken-word movement memoir evoking the turmoil in a small Ohio town over school desegregation, a struggle that gained national attention through a 1950s U.S. Supreme Court case. The Hillsboro Story workshop is part of Artists' Repertory Theatre's new series, PlayLab.

Professor Engle's theatrical experience includes working with Bay Area institutions such as the Berkeley Shakespeare Festival, the Eureka Theatre and the Bay Area Playwright's Festival. Before joining Saint Mary's College, she taught at San Jose State, UC Berkeley and the Drama Studio of London at Berkeley.