National News – August 13, 2017
Ann Cook Calhoun, former ESU National and Branch Board member and distinguished Shakespeare scholar, died on August 13 in Nashville after a brief illness. She was 82. She was a professor of English, emerita, at Vanderbilt University and held leadership roles in Shakespeare organizations around the world. Ann's charming and devoted husband, Gerry Calhoun, passed away by her side earlier the same day.
"During the early 1970s, Ann Cook Calhoun helped found what would become the International Shakespeare Association, serving on its board and attending all its World Shakespeare Congresses through the years. She joined the Vanderbilt English faculty in 1977, becoming the first woman in her department to earn tenure through the ranks when she was promoted to associate professor five years later."
"She joined the Vanderbilt English faculty in 1977, becoming the first woman in her department to earn tenure through the ranks when she was promoted to associate professor five years later."
"'Ann Cook Calhoun was a highly creative and demanding professor who was known for her vibrant style of teaching literature of the dramatic arts,' said Dana Nelson, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English and chair of the department. 'She had a genuine concern for her students that was reflected in her strong commitment to her teaching and administrative leadership.'"
"In 1996 she was named a life trustee of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon, a rare honor for an American, especially a woman, at the time. When she decided to step down from the board in 2013, she became an honorary fellow. The next year she became a founding member of Shakespeare's Birthplace America."
"'Ann was always so active and encouraging on our behalf,' said Paul Edmondson, head of research with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. She had hosted him last November in Nashville for a series of talks and workshops"
Ann was a driving force for the ESU from the Nashville Branch. She served on the National Board of Directors and was Acting Board Chair in 2009, assisting the Search Committee that recruited Patricia D. Schroeder. She also contributed by instructing in a number of ESU Shakespeare Teacher Intensive sessions in subsequent years. All who attended the ESU Annual Conference in New Orleans remember her riveting presentation about researching the circumstances of her father's heroic death while performing as an explosive ordnance disposal specialist in World War II.
Ann will be remembered at a Celebration of Life on September 12 at 11:00 am at Christ Church Cathedral in Nashville, TN. Prior to the service, family members will receive visitors beginning at 9:30 am. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust will also celebrate Ann at a memorial service on Friday, September 8 at 4:30 pm in Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon. Additionally, there will be another remembrance of Ann in Stratford during the ESU From Page to Stage TLab course in December.
Please click here to contribute to the Ann Cook Calhoun Memorial Fund that will provide financial support for the English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition. If sufficient funds are raised, we will be able to reinstate the first-place winner prize to be attendance at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art Summer Program in London.