Ralph Alan Cohen is Co-Founder of the American Shakespeare Center and Professor of Shakespeare and Performance in the Master of Letters and Fine Arts program, which he established at Mary Baldwin College. He was the project director for the building of the Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Virginia. He has directed 30 productions of plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, including Francis Beaumont’s The Knight of the Burning Pestle, in America’s first professional production of that play.
Ralph is the author of ShakesFear and How to Cure It: A Handbook for Teaching Shakespeare. He has published widely on Shakespeare and early modern staging, and he co-edited Thomas Middleton’s Your Five Gallants for Oxford University Press’s Collected Works of Thomas Middleton. He founded the Studies Abroad program at James Madison University, where he won Virginia’s award for outstanding faculty. In 2008 he received the Virginia’s Governor’s Arts Award, and in 2009 he was the Theo Crosby Fellow at Shakespeare’s Globe in London.
Ralph earned his undergraduate degree at Dartmouth College, his doctorate at Duke University, and has honorary degrees from Georgetown University and St. Lawrence University. From 1969 to 1973, he was an usher at Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium.