Theatre Professor Judith Royer, C.S.J., who has taught at LMU for 35 years, was named the 2008 Outstanding Teacher of Theatre in Higher Education on July 3 by the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE). She received the award at ATHE’s national conference in Denver on July 30.
“Seeing a student succeed is worth all the effort I put into my work. It’s when I realize I am doing something right,” Royer said.
The ATHE award honors a college-level faculty member whose excellence as a teacher is recognized by students and colleagues. Also, the honoree must have had a significant impact on students as scholars and artists and on their lives as members of the theatre community. Royer received more than 100 letters of recommendations from LMU alumni, current students, grad students, colleagues, and members of ATHE.
Royer teaches acting, playwriting, dramatic literature/criticism. She also is a director and producer, and she founded the Playwrights Center Stage Series, a course designed to help students develop and perform new works with guest professional artists.
“You can sit and talk about theatre, or you can interact with people actually working in the business. My classes are created to serve as bridges into the professional world,” she said.
Royer has directed more than 35 plays and 40 original scripts in the United States and British Isles. She has worked as a producer, director and dramaturg with new play development programs sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, Playwrights Theatre, The Mark Taper Forum and Theatre Gallery in Los Angeles, of which she is the founder and former artistic director. Also, Royer was awarded a Kennedy Center Gold Medallion for her work in fostering new plays and playwrights around the country.
As for those considering a career path in theatre, Royer offered this advice:
“If you don’t have a strong passion for the arts, then you probably need to find another career path,” she said. “It’s a long road, but if you can’t conceive of doing anything else: Go for it!”
Photo: Sr. Judith Royer (right) and alumna Teresa Larkin (left)