Teaching Students About Roger Rees


Roger Rees was a versatile and accomplished Welsh actor, director, and playwright who left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With an extensive career that spanned over forty years, Rees is best remembered for his incredible stage performances and timeless, inspiring presence. His life serves as a valuable lesson for aspiring thespians, and his work should be included in any comprehensive education on the performing arts. This article will provide tips on teaching students about Roger Rees and how to engage and inspire them through his work.

Early Life and Education

1. Begin by teaching your students about Roger Rees’s early life and education:

– Born in Aberystwyth, Wales in 1944

– Raised in London

– Trained at the Camberwell College of Arts and the Slade School of Fine Art before joining the Royal Shakespeare Company

Discussing Rees’s background will help your students understand his commitment to education and acquiring knowledge, which ultimately led him to pursue a lifelong career in theatre.

The Royal Shakespeare Company

2. Explain the significance of Roger Rees’s time with the Royal Shakespeare Company:

– Joined in 1967

– Played iconic roles such as Malcolm in Macbeth (1976) and Hamlet (1984)

– Received international acclaim for his portrayal of Nicholas Nickleby in The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (1980)

By showcasing some of his most memorable performances, you can demonstrate to your students how deeply Rees was able to immerse himself in a role.

 Broadway Success

3. Share Roger Rees’s Broadway accomplishments:

– Starred as Nicholas Nickleby on Broadway after success with the RSC

– Won a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for his performance in The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (1982)

– Starred in other Broadway productions, such as Indiscretions (1995) and The Addams Family (2011)

Explaining his immense success on Broadway will impress upon your students that hard work and dedication can lead to remarkable achievements.

Television and Film Work

4. Discuss Roger Rees’s work outside of the theatre:

– Played iconic roles such as Robin Colcord in the TV show Cheers (1989-1993), Lord John Marbury in The West Wing (2000-2005), and James MacPherson in Warehouse 13 (2009-2011)

– Appeared in films like The Prestige (2006) and The Scorpion King (2002)

Introducing students to Rees’s television and film work can reveal how a stage actor can successfully transition to other mediums of entertainment.

Directing Career

5. Highlight Rees’s accomplishments as a director:

– Directed plays like Arms and the Man (1988), Here Lies Jenny starring Bebe Neuwirth (2006) and Peter and the Starcatcher on Broadway (2012)

By discussing his directing career, you can illustrate how Rees’s versatility expanded his influence in the performing arts world.

Final Thoughts

Roger Rees’s extensive career serves as an inspiration for aspiring actors, playwrights, and directors alike. By teaching your students about his life, achievements, and various capacities within the performing arts, they will gain a deeper understanding of the difference one dedicated artist can make. Through an exploration of Roger Rees’s life and work, you can engage and inspire the next generation of passionate creators.

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