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Dr. Robert B. Shimko is Associate Professor of Theatre History & Dramaturgy at the University of Houston. He received his Ph.D. in Theatre Historiography from the University of Minnesota in 2006. Dr. Shimko currently heads the B.F.A. degree in Playwriting/Dramaturgy. In 2012 he received the University of Houston Teaching Excellence Award, one of UH’s highest faulty honors. His teaching areas include: theatre history, dramatic structure, theatre theory, playwriting, and dramaturgy.
Dr. Shimko’s research interests include seventeenth-century theatre historiography, political drama in the English Civil War and Restoration periods, dramaturgical theory, and, most recently, the work of Harold Pinter. He is currently the book review editor for the journal Theatre History Studies. He is the co-editor, with Dr. Sara Freeman, of a book of essays connecting theatre history with public sphere theory titled Public Theatres and Theatre Publics (Cambridge Scholars, 2012). Dr. Shimko’s scholarly writing has also been published in Theatre History Studies, Theatre Journal, and Theatre Topics as well as in the books Theatre History: Critical Questions and Querying Difference in Theatre History. In 2008, he received the Robert A. Schanke Theatre Research Award from the Mid-America Theatre Conference (MATC). He also served a two-year term as the co-chair for the theatre history symposium of MATC and currently co-coordinates the Articles-in-Progress and “Pitch Your Book” workshops at MATC. He regularly presents papers at national and international academic conferences and has been an invited guest lecturer at Louisiana State University, Hamline University, Houston Grand Opera, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Rienzi Museum, and the Texas Educational Theatre Association.
Dr. Shimko proudly serves as the Literary Director of the Houston Shakespeare Festival. Additional professional dramaturgy credits include productions at The Alley Theatre, The Guthrie Theater, Harlem Stage, The Catastrophic Theatre, Classical Theatre Company, Stark Naked Theatre, and Stages Repertory Theatre, among others. In addition, he oversees all of the student dramaturgical work for the UH subscription season. In 2013 he was the invited Dramaturgy Respondent for Region V of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Dr. Shimko also has a background in directing. Favorite productions include: The Rehearsal, Henry VI Part 2, The Government Inspector, On the Verge, The Futurist Project and the premieres of three UH student-written plays: The End of Side A, Brick Wall and The Narrator. He has also published a play, Specks, through Samuel French, Inc.