UCI Announces Acclaimed Stage Director as Claire Trevor Professor


Nationally Renowned Stage Director Appointed a Claire Trevor Professor of Drama

Date: Irvine, Calif. , May 10, 2005
Contacts: Lori Brandt (949) 824-5484; Jennifer Hieger (949) 720-2681

UC Irvine has named acclaimed stage director Bill Rauch a Claire Trevor Professor of Drama. Rauch is best known as the artistic director and co-founder of the groundbreaking Cornerstone Theater Company, a Los Angeles-based performing company that uses theater as a tool for community-building.

“We are excited to have one of the nation’s leading, most innovative stage directors join UCI’s arts faculty,” said Nohema Fernandez, dean of the Claire Trevor School of the Arts. “Bill Rauch’s creative genius has had a profound impact in the arts around the country, and we’re looking forward to sharing this extraordinary talent with our students, the faculty and the Orange County community.”

Rauch co-founded Cornerstone Theater Company in 1986 to build a larger, more representative arts audience. The company takes live theater to the community, casting local residents alongside professional actors. It adapts classical and original plays to reflect contemporary issues as a way to encourage dialogue and build bridges between diverse communities. Performances are offered on a pay-what-you-can basis, and part of the proceeds is donated back to the community to continue funding theater performances.

“I am thrilled with this opportunity and hope to explore new artistic avenues through teaching and production,” Rauch said. “I am impressed with the quality of faculty and students at UCI and plan to learn from this next generation of theater-makers. I also want to encourage students to think boldly about who their audience is as they create their work.”

In addition to his work with Cornerstone, Rauch directs at many of the country’s most distinguished regional theaters, including the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles; the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis; Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland; South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, Calif.; Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.; and Yale Repertory Theatre and Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Conn., each of which has won the Tony Award for outstanding regional theater. This year, Rauch directed his first network television show, an episode of “Judging Amy,” for CBS.

Rauch’s appointment is effective July 1, 2005. At UCI, he will teach a broad range of courses across the fields of directing, acting and community-based theater. UCI students will have the opportunity to be involved in his research and creative activities.

Rauch plans to leave his position as Cornerstone’s artistic director by the end of March 2006, which will mark his 20-year milestone with the company. He will continue to work with Cornerstone on a project basis, including directing the company’s commissioned collaboration in the 2006-07 season at the Guthrie Theater.

Rauch has received a number of awards for directing; some of the more recent include the Connecticut Critics Circle, Backstage West magazine’s Garland and L.A. Weekly awards. He was the only artist to receive the Ford Foundation’s inaugural Leadership for a Changing World Award in 2001. Rauch has testified before Congress in support of the National Endowment for the Arts and has served as a panelist for the NEA, California Arts Council and Los Angeles County Arts Commission. Rauch graduated from Harvard College, where he received the Louis Sudler Prize for outstanding graduating artist.

The Claire Trevor Professor is an endowed chair position supported by the Donald Bren Foundation, Peter Bren and the Claire Trevor Bren Foundation. In 2000, a gift from these donors established three endowed chairs plus the dean’s chair in the Claire Trevor School of the Arts to help the school attract and support the work of leading scholars from around the world. This appointment is the school’s third Claire Trevor professor; Robert Cohen is a Claire Trevor Professor of Drama and Donald McKayle is a Claire Trevor Professor of Dance. Fernandez holds the Claire Trevor Dean’s endowed chair.

The Claire Trevor School of the Arts has about 1,100 students majoring in dance, drama, music or studio arts and nearly 500 pursuing minors in digital arts. The school is named after the academy award-winning actress whose career spanned seven decades and included success in stage, radio, television and film. For more information about the school, visit

About the University of California, Irvine: Celebrating 40 years of innovation, the University of California, Irvine is a top-ranked public university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Founded in 1965, UCI is among the fastest-growing University of California campuses, with more than 24,000 undergraduate and graduate students and about 1,400 faculty members. The second-largest employer in dynamic Orange County, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $3 billion. For more UCI news, visit