Judith Royer, C.S.J., who has taught for more than 40 years almost all aspects of theater – from playwriting to acting, directing and producing – is being recognized in a singular way: the Association for Theatre in Higher Education will now annually bestow the Judith Royer Excellence in Playwriting Award. She was previously honored by the association in 2008 with the Outstanding Teacher of Theatre in Higher Education Award.
“Dr. Judith Royer is an inspiration on many levels – an outstanding professor of theatre, a stalwart representative of the Sisters of St. Orange in all that she does, director of the CSJ Center for Reconciliation and Justice, and a dynamic leader in developing new plays for the international theatre,” said Bryant Keith Alexander, Ph.D., dean of the College of Communication and Fine Arts. “She has influenced countless numbers of LMU students and young playwrights around the world. This honor is most blessedly deserved.”
An advocate for the field of theatre and performance in higher education, the Association for Theatre in Higher Education serves as an intellectual and artistic center for producing new knowledge about theatre and performance-related disciplines, cultivating vital alliances with other scholarly and creative disciplines, linking with professional and community-based theatres, and promoting access and equity.
“We are so pleased to bestow this honor to one of the most remarkable individuals in the discipline of new play development in America and around the world,” said Rodger Sorenson, Focus Group Representative for the ATHE’s Playwrights and Creative Teams. “Judith has influenced so many lives, and has shaped the world of new play development from one end of the nation to the other. Her lasting influence will forever be recognized, not only by those whom she has directly influenced, but by those who, decades from now, will aspire to and receive recognition for their work in writing and developing new plays.”
Royer teaches the dramatized narrative class “Voices of Justice,” where students explore issues of restorative justice, social action and collaboration, culminating with a performance for agency clients at the end of the semester. Topics have included immigration, human trafficking and homelessness. Outside LMU, she has directed more than 35 revivals and 40 original scripts in the U.S. and the U.K. and has worked as producer, director and dramaturg with new play development programs sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, Playwrights Theatre, the Mark Taper Forum, and Theatre Gallery in Los Angeles. She was producing director for the Southern New Plays Festival, Southern Repertory Theatre, New Orleans, and has directed new works and/or American premieres at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Piccolo Spoteto Festival, New Dramatists, Alice’s Fourth Floor, and the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York, as well as the Victory Theatre, Gascon Center Theatre and Interact Theatre Company in Los Angeles.
Royer is a past member of the National Playwriting Committee for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival and was awarded the Kennedy Center Gold Medallion for her work in fostering new plays and playwrights around the country. She is also a founding member of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, serving as chair of that organization’s Acting Program and Playwrights Program and as new play production coordinator for the Playwrights Program. She earned her Ph.D. from UC Santa Barbara.