Rob Clare was educated at Oxford University and was first an actor with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), then recruited to be a Staff Director at the UK National Theatre to work specifically on Shakespeare. Becoming increasingly interested in differing approaches to working with Shakespeare’s texts, he returned to Oxford to complete a doctorate in the subject, and has since become an internationally recognized Shakespeare specialist. His published work on the variant texts of King Lear was recognized by the Bibliographical Society of Great Britain and awarded the prestigious biennial Fredson Bowers Memorial Prize by the US Society for Textual Scholarship.
During and following his doctoral studies, he taught Shakespeare seminars and tutorials to Oxford University students, and to those on various study-abroad programs from the US. He has also worked in numerous actor training institutions within the UK, and established the MA Classical Acting course at London’s Central School of Speech and Drama, which he also led for its first three years. He has since directed and/or taught Shakespeare in Ireland, Austria, Germany, Australia, and China, as well as the USA. In India, he directed multiple workshops, as well as Hindi productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Julius Caesar and Romeo and Juliet. Before moving to the US, he worked regularly for almost a decade as a freelance specialist verse and text analyst with the RSC’s core acting ensemble, leading annual workshops and masterclasses, and working in and alongside rehearsals for productions of Richard III, Richard II, Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, Henry V and Hamlet. He was sponsored by the RSC to a special research fellowship at Warwick University, where he also taught. In the US he has been visiting faculty at CSU Los Angeles, CSU Long Beach, USC, UCLA, University of Illinois Chicago, The Juilliard School, Yale, Brown and NYU Tisch (both graduate and undergraduate programs). He has also directed productions of Cymbeline (New Orleans Shakespeare Festival), Twelfth Night and The Merry Wives of Windsor (American Shakespeare Center, Staunton VA), Love’s Labour’s Lost and Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 (Marin Shakespeare Company), King Lear (Luna Stage, Orange NJ), The Winter’s Tale (Hang A Tale Productions, NYC), As You Like It (Kentucky Shakespeare), Richard III (Idaho Shakespeare Festival), Pericles (USC Los Angeles), The Duchess of Malfi (CSU Long Beach), and Richard III and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (both at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Los Angeles).
He has worked regularly at the NYC Actors Center, the Academy for Classical Acting in Washington D.C. and with the acclaimed Steppenwolf Theater Company in Chicago, for whose ensemble he provided specialized verse and text work for Tina Landau’s production of The Tempest. He recently directed Troilus and Cressida for UCLA. Current plans include developing a fully professional production of King Lear to tour to underserved communities within and around Los Angeles, in collaboration with Pasadena Playhouse and the Shakespeare Center, Los Angeles, with whom he also recently worked on a Shakespeare-based creative writing program for US veterans entitled Voices of the Warrior.
During the ongoing pandemic, Rob has built and now runs an extensive portfolio of online Shakespeare workshops and coaching, through his personal website.
Rob was one of the first to establish drama as a tool for education and rehabilitation within UK prisons, within which he has worked extensively from 1987 onwards. From 1998-2010 he was Artistic Director of Kestrel Theatre Company, dedicated to the creative and rehabilitative use of drama within the criminal justice system. Kestrel projects typically used increasingly structured improvisation to create and then perform or film new work. His initial work in HM Prison Manchester led directly to the establishment of the TIPP (Theatre in Prison and Probation) Centre at Manchester University, which remains an important resource and point of co-ordination for practitioners. Acknowledged as a pioneer in this field, Clare’s many prison projects include the acclaimed short films Out Loud (Granada TV) and Bullfrog (Carlton TV). His work with political prisoners in Northern Ireland was honored by an award from the Butler Trust for making an outstanding contribution to life and work within UK prisons and was the subject of the BBC TV documentary Act of Faith. Though he now lives and works in the US, he still consults for Kestrel, which remains an active force in working with incarcerated communities within the UK.
He contributed a chapter on the creative use of improvisation in the prison context to Practices and Perspectives in Prison Theatre (ed. James Thompson, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, London, 1998).
Though still a British citizen, Rob Clare is the holder of a green card, enabling him to work freely as a permanent resident in the USA. He is married to actor and director Reiko Aylesworth, who is also a new faculty member at Meadows. They have just moved to Dallas with their son Andre.