FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: OU Public Affairs,
NORMAN – Rena Cook, University of Oklahoma associate professor of drama, has been named the 2009 Irene and Julian J. Rothbaum Presidential Professor of Excellence in the Arts at OU. The award has been presented annually since 1995 to recognize exemplary leadership in the arts and arts education.
“Rena is a master teacher and caring mentor,” said Rich Taylor, dean of the OU Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts. “She is polished and professional and she makes a positive impact each and every day in the lives and education of our students.”
Cook serves as associate professor of voice, speech and dialects as well as Performance Area coordinator in the OU School of Drama. As a professional dialect coach, she has worked on such shows as Cabaret, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Great Expectations and The Grapes of Wrath. At OU, she was instrumental in creating the Faith Broome Playwright-in-Residence program and has been awarded a Dream Course Grant to create a course featuring renowned speakers who lectured on various aspects of Shakespeare.
She presents workshops throughout the United States and the United Kingdom, and has been the recipient of many honors, including the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival’s Outstanding Achievement in Directing Award for Region Six in 2008. In 2007 she was honored with a Faculty Peer Recognition Award and in 2005, the OU School of Drama presented her with its honorary White Buffalo Mask Award in recognition of the years she spent spearheading recruitment for the school.
Cook is co-editor of a book titled Breath in Action: The Art of Breath in Vocal and Holistic Practice with Jane Boston of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. She was editor-in-chief of the Voice and Speech Review 2009 and has served on the board of directors of the Voice and Speech Trainers Association.
Cook holds a master’s degree in voice studies from the Central School of Speech and Drama in London and a master’s degree in directing from OU.