In Memory of Shakespeare Dallas’ Founder

Robert Glenn (1925 – 2018)

 

The founder of Shakespeare Dallas, Robert “Bob” Glenn was an actor, director, author and producer in the theater for more than 40 years. He directed plays in New York, St Louis, Houston, Atlanta, and internationally in Canada and at the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy. As an actor, he played featured roles in films such as “The Last Picture Show”. The primary focus of his career, however, was in Dallas theatre, and especially, Shakespeare Dallas.

 

After receiving dramatic training at Columbia College of Drama in Chicago, Bob came to Dallas in 1949 and was active in the post-war revival of the Dallas Little Theatre, serving as Actor-Director for many years.  He acted at the Margo Jones Theater and in the Dallas Summer Musicals and he directed at the Dallas Black Theater, Courtyard Theater in Oak Lawn and the Pearl Chappell Playhouse on Knox Street, where he brought to Dallas first-time productions of “The Three-Penny Opera,” “The Fantasticks,” and “A View from the Bridge,” featuring a young Brenda Vaccaro.

 

As a result of his pioneering work in Dallas theatre, Bob received a Ford Foundation grant which took him to New York to work with Cyril Ritchard and Noel Coward.  His off-Broadway credits include “Shakespeare in Harlem,” “The Legend of Charlie Parker” and “The Long Valley”—each of which he adapted for the stage and directed, to critical acclaim.  While in New York, Bob also appeared on national television in several episodes of “The Guiding Light.”

 

After serving as the Artistic Director of the Citadel Theater in Edmonton, Canada, for two years, Bob returned to Dallas, where he founded Shakespeare Dallas in 1972. Beginning with a one-night reading with Peter Donat as “Hamlet,” Shakespeare Dallas developed into a stable offering of professional, outdoor productions of Shakespeare’s plays, starting at the Fair Park Band Shell and later relocating to its permanent home at Samuell Grand Park. Bob served as its Producer for 17 years, bringing such actors as Peter Donat, Michael Learned, Earl Hyman, Sigourney Weaver, Patrick Stewart, Ron Leibman, and Morgan Freeman to act in the free summer festival and in other festival productions such as “The Hollow Crown” and Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” Bob also guided the beginning of Shakespeare Dallas’s educational programs. A grant from the Dayton Hudson Foundation (Target Stores) supported actors presenting Shakespeare to high school students throughout the Metroplex and guiding talented and gifted students in productions of scenes from Shakespeare’s plays.

 

Between 1952 and 1990, Bob directed the Junior League Follies for 17 years and 35 Gridiron Shows for the Press Club of Dallas. In 1998, Bob received the Key Bryant “Creative Vision Award” from the 500, Inc.  He received the 2000 Leon Rabin “Standing Ovation Award” for lifetime achievement in theatre.

 

A celebration of Bob’s life will occur at a later date. Memorial contributions may be made in his name to Shakespeare Dallas at www.shakespearedallas.org/give.