Maryville University and Shakespeare Festival Honor Local Educator

Lee Anne Mathews

Lee Anne Mathews

[St. Louis, Mo.] – Lee Anne Mathews, director of theater at Crossroads College Preparatory School, has been selected as the Maryville University Shakespeare Teacher of the Year. The announcement was made by Rick Dildine, artistic and executive director of Shakespeare Festival St. Louis and Catherine Baer, dean of the School of Education at Maryville University. This marks the first year Maryville University has sponsored the award, which has recognized an outstanding teacher of Shakespeare since 2011.

“Maryville University applauds the ongoing success of Shakespeare Festival St. Louis to help teachers introduce students to William Shakespeare and ignite their interest in his literary masterpieces,” said Bear. “We are pleased to recognize Lee Anne Mathews as an excellent ambassador of Shakespeare’s genius and his enduring importance.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Maryville University to recognize innovative theater teachers throughout Missouri and Illinois,” Dildine said. “Our In the Schools programming is such an important part of our work in educating our students in the works of this great playwright, and Lee Anne Lee Anne serves as a terrific example of the continued relevance and power of Shakespeare’s work.”

Mathews’ involvement in the theater includes directing, acting, teaching, stage management and producing. She received her BFA in theatre from the University of Nevada, Reno, her hometown, and has performed in venues from Toronto to Tokyo and from Alaska to Florida. In St. Louis, she has taught at COCA, and in 2010 she became the director of theatre at Crossroads College Preparatory School. The school’s annual program features up to 10 performances, which may include main stage plays, musicals, student-directed pieces, Improv, theater for young audiences, and Shakespeare. In recent years, Crossroads students have also participated in Shakespeare Festival programs, including SHAKE38, MetroYouth Shakespeare and Shakespeare Squadron.

“Shakespeare was a master of the English language,” said Germaine Murray, PhD, professor of English at Maryville University. “His artistry in presenting the issues four hundred years ago is insightful, to say the least. Bullying, leadership, revenge and war are issues people have grappled with no matter the genre, the culture or the century. It’s crucial that today’s students continue to have the opportunity to be exposed to this author, his works and these issues in a theatrical environment.”

Shakespeare Festival St. Louis’ In the Schools Education Tour productions, workshops and study materials have a 13-year legacy of bringing to life the Bard’s characters and their deeds of gallant (and not-so-gallant) behavior for more than 250,000 students, earning accolades from educators throughout the region. The Festival’s education program helps demystify Shakespeare for participants as they read, watch and perform his works. Programs and materials are developed to align to the common core state standards accepted by 48 states, including Missouri and Illinois.

About Shakespeare Festival St. Louis
In the past 13 years, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis has attracted more than 600,000 people to its annual free performances in Forest Park. In 2010, SFSTL launched SHAKE 38, a marathon citywide presentation of Shakespeare’s entire 38-play canon. Since 2011, Shakespeare in the Streets has worked in St. Louis neighborhoods, shutting down streets for performances that present the combined talents of professional actors alongside local residents to tell unique community stories. With support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Regional Arts Commission, launched on April 23, 2014, Shakespeare’s 450th birthday.

About Maryville University
As a private, independent university, Maryville enrolls more than 5,000 students and offers more than 75 degrees at the undergraduate, master’s and doctoral levels. Maryville has forged its outstanding reputation based on academic outcomes, small classes, individualized student attention and academic excellence.