Ralph Alan Cohen

ralph cohen director of mission cofounder american shakespeare center
Founder and Senior Advisor

Ralph is Co-Founder and Director of Mission of the ASC, Emeritus Professor of English at James Madison University, and currently Gonder Professor of Shakespeare at Mary Baldwin University, where he founded the graduate program in Shakespeare and Performance.

He was project director for the building of the Blackfriars Playhouse and has directed 30 productions of plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries. He founded the Studies Abroad program at James Madison University, where he won Virginia’s award for outstanding faculty. He has directed four scholar summer institutes on Shakespeare and staging sponsored by the National Endowment forthe Humanities. He is the author of ShakesFear and How to Cure It: The Complete Handbook for Teaching Shakespeare.

In 2001, he established the Blackfriars Conference. He has received numerous awards and fellowships including the Governor’s Arts Award with ASC Co- founder Jim Warren (2008), the Theo Crosby Fellowship at Shakespeare’s Globe in London (2009), the Folger Shakespeare Library’s Shakespeare Steward Award (2013), and the Globe’s Sam Wanamaker award — the first American to receive this honor (2014). He earned his undergraduate degree at Dartmouth College and his doctorate at Duke University, where he received the outstanding alumni award in 2016.