Craig Walker, drama professor and acclaimed actor and director
Craig Walker doesn’t place many separations between his work as an actor and director and his work teaching in the drama department at Queen’s. Each sphere informs the other, with academic life enriching his on-stage world, and vice-versa.
“As a professor, I am always consulting my own experience as an actor,” says Dr. Walker, who has worked with the Stratford Festival, Shaw Festival and the National Arts Centre English Theatre Company. “It’s important for me to go on acting because it helps me communicate to my students. It keeps the rust knocked off.”
At Queen’s, he pulls from the insight he’s learned on-stage to give students the best possible all-around experience. Every year he leads students in a two-week immersion course at the Shaw Festival, which shows them the complete process, “from page to stage.” For several years, he supervised the Barefoot Players, a theatre troupe coordinated by the Queen’s drama department and Theatre Kingston that performs for young audiences in schools, parks and libraries.
Outside Queen’s, Dr. Walker spent 10 years at the helm of Theatre Kingston and has worked with the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival since 2006. As an actor and director, he draws on the critical thinking skills his academic background provides. He is not afraid to delve into a text and dissect a play’s structure and core ideas. He admits there is a danger of getting too academic, too intellectual, and this is where his experience on-stage guides him. He is known as an actor’s director, able to connect with the artists and understand the challenges they face while moving through production.
Dr. Walker was recently nominated for two Rideau Awards for his direction of Twelfth Night at the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival in Prescott. He and the Twelfth Night crew took home the award for outstanding production in 2011. More information is available online.