Upon the 60th anniversary of Shakespeare Institute Players, we look back at the life of an inspiring Alumni.

Posted on Thursday 21st March 2013

Back in 1953, the Shakespeare Institute Players’ inaugural performance, A Yorkshire Tragedy, featured Robert Loper, a Fulbright scholar who went on to become one of our most respected alumni.

Jacqueline MacDonald, a Shakespeare Institute alumni, and Robert Loper's former student at the University of Washington's School of Drama, is pleased to support a modern rendition of A Yorkshire Tragedy for the 60th anniversary of the Shakespeare Institute Players and in remembrance of this inspiring alumni, lecturer and practitioner. A Yorkshire Tragedy will be staged by Shakespeare Institute alumni and students.

Robert's doctorate in Elizabethan Theatre at the institute launched him into his successful career within Shakespeare studies and acting. Robert took a teaching job at Stanford University, before becoming Head of the Drama department there in 1963. He later became the Master Acting Teacher at the University of Washington, School of Drama in 1968 before retiring in 1990.

He acted in, and directed, a variety of productions including at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Seattle Repertory Theatre (SRT), the Empty Space Theatre, Intiman Theatre and A Contemporary Theatre (ACT). His work gained much recognition and his obituary in The Seattle Times in 2000 commemorated his achievements: “Thanks to the influence of Mr. Loper and his colleagues, Seattle in the 1970s and 1980s by many accounts ranked among the top five theater towns in the United States. It regularly introduced plays and playwrights while giving the classics a right-now relevance.”

Robert Loper is remembered, not just for his acting and directing work, but for his teaching which inspired many. Jacqueline MacDonald writes, “Bob was an incredibly gifted acting teacher and was very influential on my acting work." This anniversary production seems a fitting and personal way to mark his achievements as well as the anniversary of the Players.

If you would like to share your story, or that of another Alumni you might know, please contact cal-artsalumni@adf.bham.ac.uk