Brendan O'Shaughnessy | June 25, 2020
Paul Rathburn, a beloved Notre Dame English professor who died in February, retired from teaching in 2000 only to step up his efforts to bring William Shakespeare to life on campus.
A fervent believer that Shakespeare can’t be learned on paper alone, Rathburn’s favorite phrase was “page to stage,” meaning that the best way to truly understand the Bard was to experience the poetry of his words in performance as they were meant to be. The works are both literary texts and theatrical scripts.
Rathburn’s core vision was to produce high-quality theatrical productions that bring together professional actors for the major roles but incorporate Notre Dame students in the supporting roles. The unique combination has borne fruit for the students, actors and community.
“It’s my legacy, my gift to Notre Dame,” Rathburn told The Observer in 2005 when he stepped aside after producing the first six shows. “We say we want to be known for more than football. How about Shakespeare?”
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