Glenn Stuart, associate professor of theatre, was honored with the 2006 Robert A. Kilgore Faculty Award at New England College. The award, which was presented by Mr. Kilgore, a trustee of NEC, was made at the College’s Commencement ceremony in May.
Celebrating his twenty-second year at the College and over 40 years in the theatre, Stuart expressed his appreciation for the award. “This took me by surprise,” he said. “I suspect I have a devoted group of students who played a role in this. When I look around, I see faculty who have mentored me, so I don’t see myself as a senior faculty member. I see myself as a teacher who continues to learn how to teach. Teaching is an ongoing process.”
According to Stuart, the special quality of intense collaboration that is found in the theatre not only contributed to the award, but accounts for his devotion to teaching and his students’ positive experience with acting. “What makes me lucky is the sheer amount of time I spend with my students – in the classroom, in rehearsals, and in the shop. I get to know students on a different level and they get to know me as a person. Perhaps that helps them make a connection with me. We interact as human beings and we create together – that’s exciting. All of our energies are channeled into creating the same thing – we share the artistic activity and we share the collaboration.”
Stuart is extremely proud of NEC’s theatre program. “What we’ve done here is to create a really solid theatre community within the theatre program. We want to develop a theatre company where all individuals really believe in the concept of collaboration and value the community dynamic. It makes me happy to hear what employers and other professionals say about our program – it’s always positive.”
The success of the program is reflected in the number of students who have been accepted into the prestigious Actor’s Studio in New York. Stuart notes that more and more students from NEC are applying and getting in. To date, seven have been accepted – more than any other college in the country. A representative from the Actor’s Studio recently came to NEC to investigate the origin of this phenomenon. “What professional companies like about our students is what they don’t bring with them – a sense of entitlement,” said Stuart. “They roll up their sleeves and they work.”
Stuart maintains that the skills learned by students studying the theatre are valuable to employers. “In my experience, every student who has pursued a career in the theatre has had success.” For his part, Stuart is careful to teach his students that what they do has worth in society.
The admiration that Stuart feels for his students is evident when he says, “They work hard and they do well. I have found that NEC students are not only creative but they are risk takers as well. They’re really fearless. They’ll try anything. They never fail to surprise me.”
The secret to Stuart’s longevity in both teaching and in the theatre is the energy he derives from his work. “I love the energy,” he said. “It’s a gift my students give to me. That’s what keeps me going.”