Dr. Kevin Ewert
Director Interdisciplinary Arts Program, Associate Professor of Theatre
Division of Communication and the Arts
Ph. D. Shakespeare Studies, The Shakespeare Institute 1997
M. A. Shakespeare Studies, The Shakespeare Institute 1992
B. A. English, Trinity College, University of Toronto 1987
Dr. Ewert teaches Introduction to Theatre, Play Analysis, Movement and Stage Combat, Basic and Advanced Acting, Shakespearean Performances, and he directs the student production each semester.
Kevin's major research interest is Shakespeare. His Shakespeare Handbooks: Henry V was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2006. From 1997-2003 he was an artistic associate and regular director for the Unseam'd Shakespeare Company in Pittsburgh; in 1999 their Ewert-directed production of Coriolanus was hailed as Pittsburgh's best theatrical production. Kevin was recently on sabbatical for the spring term 2007 in Durham, NC where he was directing Martin McDonagh's The Pillowman at Manbites Dog Theatre.
What do you think the purpose or benefit of a higher education is?
For traditional students coming straight out of high school, doing an undergraduate degree gives you the opportunity to grow up while being exposed to new, challenging and exciting ideas.
What are the benefits, in your opinion, for students studying in a small campus setting rather than on a large/urban campus setting?
For those interested in the arts, a small rural campus can be a bit of a liability – you have to be vigilant about getting out, exploring, and getting exposed to new and challenging work. In the theatre, we don’t have anything like Netflix or iTunes that can come to us – we’ve got to go and seek theatre out! Luckily, we’re not that far from Buffalo, which has a vibrant theatre scene, we take trips to the Shaw Festival in Canada, and we have our yearly New York City Trip.
How would you describe your approach to teaching?
Committed, hands-on, and often out of left field.
How would you say your field of teaching is incorporated into your life outside of the university and vice-versa?
These things go together. Whether it is directing professionally, continuing my training, participating in conferences or seeing live theatre, all of it ends up in the way I teach and constitutes the desire and the information I’m trying to convey to my students. This work never ends, it never stays the same, and it always has the potential to surprise.
What is an interest or hobby of yours that really doesn’t have anything to do with the teachings of your academic field?
Just at the moment, archery. My father was in the 1972 Olympics in Munich, and he has recently picked his bow up again, so we shoot together on the target range in my parents’ woods when I’m home. Just this summer we shot at a meet together – he shot quite well, and I shot rather badly.
Are you currently working on any research, publication, or project? What does it consist of?
I recently contributed a chapter to THE ROUTLEDGE COMPANION TO DIRECTORS’ SHAKESPEARE, which should be out in the next year or so. I directed a play with a wonderful theatre company in Durham, NC, in April, and plan to be working with them again in the near future.
What kind of movies do you most enjoy? Why?
My Netflix queue is mostly populated by foreign and independent films. I’ll be quite happy if I never see another predictable, overproduced and underimagined Hollywood film ever again.
What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book?
I can usually only get through a select handful of novels in a year, but I’m always reading any new play I can get my hands on. My favorite writing is always the play I’m directing at that time. Desert Island Book? The Collected Works of William Shakespeare, of course!
What do you think about today’s pop music?
I’m not entirely sure what constitutes “popular” music right now, but I’m very happy in my little musical world with its soundtrack by Andrew Bird, The New Pornographers, Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, Devotchka, Feist, Mates of State, Neko Case, The Frames, Nick Cave, Destroyer, Laura Viers and Nina Simone.
Who do you admire? Why?
I admire all the good people I’ve worked with in the theatre over the years. I admire the students of mine who have challenged themselves to go places they hadn’t been before. I admire anyone who chooses kindness over spite.