The faculty are the core of Centre College. Of all the College’s constituencies, they are the ones who are here the longest. It is they who nurture the culture of the place—the sense of common purpose, the collegiality and the passion and energy—and that they share so enthusiastically with their students. This spring, seven of our most venerable professors retired. Before moving on to new adventures, they took time to answer a few questions for our summer issue of Centrepiece.
I suppose you could say that Art drives me. I am known as a theater artist, but I also paint and write. Art expresses who we are as individuals, but it also speaks to who we are as a community, as a people, as an age. I love theater because it is the most communal and collaborative of all art forms.
When I first heard about a possible job at Centre, I called the then dean, John Ward, to find out if the position was still open. We ended up talking for nearly two hours. I knew from that first conversation that Centre and I would be a “fit.”
I have been teaching at the college level since 1973—44 years’ worth of memorable moments both as a teacher and director. Theatrically, I remember creating plays with students, performing at the Edinburgh Festival, building complex musicals, or making a plea for tolerance for refugees through the performance of a Classical drama.
As a teacher, I am always stimulated by my students. As a natural storyteller, I like to teach through narrative. Recently a former student told me how he understood my approach to teaching and was modeling his own teaching style on mine.
I hope that I have been a mentor to my students and have helped them in the way that others have helped me. I hope that I have encouraged their curiosity while maintaining my own curiosity about the world and how it works.
As for the future, freelance professional acting and directing will be a start. Working on plays that are half written and can move to the front burner will be a close second. I also hope to do some teaching and directing in England—and to continue my connection with Rose Bruford College, where I am now a fellow. Locally, I will continue to be involved with Scarlet Cup Theatre in Danville as founding director.
And at Centre? I would hope, that as a professor emeritus, I can continue to offer the College whatever help I can as a teacher, as an artist, and as one committed to what Centre has to offer to its students.
by Anthony Haigh