Visiting assistant professor of theatre Jeff Grace brings passion and many new ideas to the Knox theatre program.
“The theatre has many traditions—fantastic traditions—that we should uphold,” Grace said. “But we also need to change the theatre.”
Grace first became interested in acting in junior high and added directing to his repertoire in high school. He earned his BA from Brigham Young University in Utah, then taught high school for five years before attending Indiana University for a master’s degree in education and a PhD in theatre history. After being told about the opening at Knox by one of his professors, he wound up in Galesburg.
“[Knox] is a really nice community,” Grace said. “It’s small, so you get to know people really well.”
Grace’s main areas of interest are American alternative theatre and the role of sexual orientation on stage. In his dissertation, he explored the beginnings of gay and lesbian theatre in the U.S.
“It started in a tiny coffee shop in Greenwich Village called Caffe Cino. It was a breakthrough venue because it was the first place to portray homosexual characters as ‘good’ rather than villains,” Grace explained.
Grace hopes to later incorporate his research into a special topics course. He currently teaches Beginning Acting and European Drama and Theatre: Rise of Realism to 1945. He will also direct a play in the studio theatre in the spring that, he hopes, will involve postmodernism and lots of ensemble work. The title is currently unannounced.
“I still want to meet with more students to see what they might be missing and help them discover that,” Grace said. “I hope to bring something new to the table.”