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Robert BartonRobert Barton

Professor Emeritus
Former Head of Acting
University of Oregon
Born: Holland, MI , June 23, 1945

Publications: Theatre in Your Life (with Annie McGregor), book- Wadsworth Thomson, scheduled for late 2007 publication, Life Themes, play anthology- Wadsworth Thomson, scheduled for 2007 publication, "Gender Phone Speak" feature in column ‘Many Right Ways’ in The Voice and Speech Review, scheduled for August 2007, "Teaching Emotional Intelligence", article, Player’s Journal, Summer 2006, Acting: Onstage and Off (fourth edition), book- Wadsworth Thompson, 2006 , Preface to Competitive Improvisational Comedy (by Kevin Bradshaw), Mellen Press, 2005, "Shakespearean Selves" feature in column ‘Many Right Ways’ in The Voice and Speech Review, August 2005, "What Kind of Journal Do You Want?" The Beat, October 2003,reprinted in The Beat July 2004, "Vocal Emotional Intelligence" feature in column ‘Many Right Ways’ in The Voice and Speech Review, August 2003, review- "Two Legendary Actors in London", for Theatre Journal, December 2002, "The Voice Speaks, in book The Complete Voice and Speech Work-Out - Applause Books, 2002, Acting: Onstage and Off , third edition of book, Thompson Wadsworth, 2003, "Gogging: A Model for Theatre Pedagogy" (w/Janet Gupton), article, Theatre Topics September 2000, "Actor Modalities" feature in column Many 'Right' Ways in The Voice and Speech Review. June 2000, "Vocal Health for Actors" (w/Rocco Dal Vera), article, Voice in Violence, August 1999, "Director Modalities" feature in column ‘Many Right Ways’ in The Voice and Speech Review, June 1999, "Voice in a Visual World" , chapter in book The Vocal Vision - Applause Books, 1998, "Acting Access" (w/Amy Sarno), article, Theatre Topics, March 1996, "New Acting Research Topics" , article, The Beat, March 1996, Voice: Onstage and Off, (w/ Rocco Dal Vera) book plus tape/CD- Harcourt, Brace, 1995, "Therapy and Actor Training ", article - Theatre Topics, September l994, "N.L.P. for Actors", article - The Beat, March l994, "Acting Teachers-Giving Credit Where It is Due", article - The Beat, March, l993, Style for Actors, book- Mayfield Publishers, 1993, Acting; Offstage and On , book -Harcourt, Brace, second edition published 1993 (first edition 1989), A Voice for the Theatre (w/Harry Hill)), book - Holt, Rinehart and Winston, l985. Commissioned playscripts: Tales from Shakespeare: Macbeth and The Tempest (w/David Leong), funded by National Parks & Planning for professional touring company, Performed playscripts: English version of Anton Chekhov's The Three Sisters, Acting edition/adaptations for Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, The Merchant of Venice, Romeo and Juliet, The Winter's Tale, Love's Labour's Lost, As You Like It, King Lear, Twelfth Night, Two Gentlemen of Verona, and Julius Caesar.

Education: Ph. D. (actor training) Bowling Green State University, 1977, M.A. (Theatre Arts), B.G.S.U. 1968, B.A., Provisional Teaching Certificate, Western Michigan University,1967, Practitioner Certification, N.L.P. Institute of Oregon, 1999

Conference Presentations: "Acting, Creativity and Addiction: What is the Relationship?" panel , Association for Theatre in High Education National Conference, Chicago, August 2006, "An Acting Journal " panel , Association for Theatre in High Education National Conference, Toronto, July 2004, "Actor Transitions " panel , Association for Theatre in High Education National Conference, New York, July 2003, "Re-Imagining Acting" panel , Association for Theatre in High Education National Conference, San Diego, July 2002, "Breath: Linking Body and Voice ", workshop , Association for Theatre in High Education National Conference, Chicago, August 2001, "NLP as Dramatic Interaction for Actors and Directors ", workshop , Association for Theatre in High Education National Conference, Chicago , August l997, "Creating a Peer Review Document ", invited panel, Association for Theatre in High Education National Conference, San Francisco, August l995, "Ten Hot Topics in Acting Research", invited lecture, Association for Theatre in High Education National Conference, San Francisco, August l995, " Incorporating Disabled Actors into Classes and Productions ", lecture/workshop , Association for Theatre in High Education National Conference, San Francisco, August l995, "Shakespeare in You", workshop , Northwest Drama Conference, Eugene , February l995, "The Future of Acting in the Liberal Arts", panel , Northwest Drama Conference, Eugene, February l995, "Neuro Linguistic Programming for Actors and Directors", workshop , Association for Theatre in High Education National Conference, Chicago , August l994, "Research in Performance ", invited panel , Association for Theatre in High Education National Conference, Chicago, August l994, "Verbal Masking ", workshop chaired, Association for Theatre in High Education National Conference, Chicago, August l994, "Theatre and Therapy", invited lecture , Association for Theatre in High Education National Conference, Philadelphia, August l993, "Neurosciences Influencing Actor Training", invited lecture , Association for Theatre in High Education National Conference, Philadelphia, August l993, "Breath and Emotion", workshop , Association for Theatre in High Education National Conference, Atlanta, August l992, "New Emotional Freedom for Actors", paper, Association for Theatre in High Education National Conference, Seattle, August l991, "Stimulating the Style Imagination", workshop, Association for Theatre in Higher Education National Conference, Chicago, August l990, "Publisher's Forum in Performance", pre- convention panel, Association for Theatre in High Education National Conference, New York, August l989, "Stanislavski's Concept of 'Review', panel chaired for Association for Theatre in Higher Education National Conference, San Diego, August l988, "Improvising Shakespeare", workshop, Association for Theatre in Higher Education National Conference, Chicago, August, l987, "Projection Made Simple: Giving Power to Voices", workshop chaired at National American Theatre Association Convention, Toronto, August, l985, "What We Don't Know About Acting", panel chaired at National American Theatre Association Convention, Toronto, August, l985, "Verse as a Tool for the Actor", paper presented at National American Theatre Association Convention, Toronto, August, l985.

Professional Awards/Residencies: Best Book Award Association of Theatre in Higher Education, American Heritage International Teaching Grant to London, American College Theatre Festival- Outstanding Acting Coach, Artist's Enrichment Research Award, Theatre Association Prominent Researcher Award, National Parks & Planning Commission Theatre Award, U.S. Professional Development Achievement Award, Scholar's Circle Award, U.S. Community Theatre Association Playwriting Award, Residency: Stratford Shakespearean Festival, Stratford, Ontario, Summer, l997, sponsored by the Artists Enrichment Program, Residency: Oregon Shakespearean Festival, Ashland, Oregon, Summer l989, sponsored by Research and Sponsored Programs.

Acting: Recent performances include: Narrator "Shakespeare’s Legacy", Oregon Public Broadcasting, Ghost of Hamlet the elder in Hamlet, South Eugene Theatre, Yvan in Art, Willamette Repertory Theatre, Galileo in Seeing and Believing, Wiztec Festival, Narrator "Doctor Lee", documentary, Discovery Channel, Galileo in The Life of Galileo, Theatre for Social Change, C. S. Lewis in Shadowlands, Richard III, Romeo, King Lear "Shakespeare Sounded" Classics Conference, Harold in Orphans, Northwest Drama Conference, Narrator "Tamanawis Illahee", film funded by Oregon Committee for the Humanities.


Robert is the author of three of the most widely used acting texts in the country: Acting: Onstage and Off (now in its 4th edition), Voice: Onstage and Off (with Rocco Dal Vera) and Style for Actors, which received the Theatre Association’s Best Book Award. His new text, Theatre in Your Life and an companion play anthology, Life Themes (with some of his own acting versions of Shakespeare’s texts) are soon to be published by Wadsworth Thomson. He writes a regular column "Many Right Ways" for The Voice and Speech Review and has had numerous articles published in journals such Theatre Topics, Theatre Journal and Player’s Journal and anthologies such as The Vocal Vision and The Complete Voice and Speech Work-Out.

Robert has been honored as Outstanding Acting Coach by the American College Theatre Festival. He has acted professionally in most of the plays of Shakespeare and has directed more than half of them. His most recent acting engagements have been the title role in Galileo and Yvan in Art. A former Hamlet himself (in a Public Broadcasting production of that play), Robert recently had the amazing experience of playing the ghost of Hamlet the elder opposite his own son Andrew in the title role.

Robert has often explored the sciences for connections on how to better train actors, introducing neuro-scientist Susana Bloch to the U.S. theatre community and collaborating with on her ‘Alba Emoting" system. He is a certified N.L.P. (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) Practitioner. He is known for converting the work of famous teachers such as Rudolf Laban and Michel Chekhov for applications in acting Shakespeare. He is also known for innovative classes such as Lyric Performance, where emotional availability is pursued through anthem songs from musicals and major Shakespearean soliloquies, contexts where nothing less than big and honest (a challenging combination for contemporary actors) will work.

Having recently taken early retirement as head of the acting program at the University of Oregon, Robert continues there as emeritus professor, contracted to teach two courses a year for the next five. He also teaches for AHA International in London. He is one of the few acting practitioners to be equally comfortable practicing, writing about or teaching the art.

Robert uses improvisation and theatre games to help actors become brave and playful in Shakespeare’s world. He also employs body-based exercises to connect actors kinesthetically to Shakespeare’s text. He has developed a system called "30 Steps to Classical Acting" to actively challenge performers to work outside of rehearsal and to empower them to grow, with or without assistance from directors or coaches.

Robert has also developed a concept called "The Shakespearean Self " wherein actors create an alter ego out of their own imagination as a pathway between their sometimes cautious, contemporary personas and the infinite, bold, timeless ones they must realize in Shakespeare’s characters. His freewheeling physical exercises are balanced by innovative close examination of text, alternating exploration and scrutiny. His methods prepare actors to be equally fluent in traditional, historically based or experimental, deconstructed interpretations of Shakespeare’s works.

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