The Davidson College Department of Theatre awards the endowed Rupert T. Barber, Jr. Scholarship in Theatre yearly to a member of most recently admitted class. The first theatre scholarship at Davidson, this merit-based scholarship will be awarded to qualified students who demonstrate a passion for theatre as they enter Davidson College and who remain active in the theatre department throughout their tenure at Davidson.
For more than 40 years, Dr. Rupert Barber was synonymous with theatre at Davidson, serving as a one-man department and working out of a cramped backstage dressing room to instill in his students an appreciation for oral communication, literature, and history, and, above all, a lifelong love of theatre.
From 1963-1998, Rupert directed over sixty productions for the Department of Theatre and Speech. Some highlights include: The Boyfriend (1967), in which he cast then-student Joe Gardner (pictured above right with Rupert), a series of Moliere plays, (The Miser, Tartuffe and The Learned Ladies), and a stunning production of Kiss Me Kate.
Beyond his directing, Rupert initiated a course in 1967 called the New York Seminar. Because of Dr. Barber’s vision and hard work, over 200 Davidson students have been able to experience first-hand the fabled New York City Theatre scene, where they were exposed to Broadway and off-Broadway plays.
In 1997, Rupert created The Connie Company, a program devoted to theatre for young people, in memory of Constance Welsh, founder of the Davidson Community Players, an organization Rupert has nurtured and guided for decades. For the Players, he has written or adapted, then directed, a number of children’s plays -- each laced with his belief in the power of the word on stage and his love for reaching others through theatre. Some of his best-known pieces include: The Dancing Donkey, The Christmas Gift Shows, Hansel and Gretel and Jack and the Beanstalk.
Even after his retirement in 1998, he continued to direct numerous shows, served as a deacon and elder at Davidson College Presbyterian Church and as president of the Davidson Historical Society, and served on the Design Review Board for the Town of Davidson.
Rupert’s commitment to Davidson earned him the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award for community service, presented at the 2001 Davidson College Commencement.
Rupert's passing in 2006 was a blow to the entire Davidson College community. His legacy lives on, however, as Davidson College students continue to express themselves through dramatic performance. The Department of Theatre is proud to continue to offer the Rupert T. Barber, Jr. scholarship in his honor each year, helping to ensure the tradition of quality theatre at Davidson begun by Rupert remains a constant for the College.
Special Application Scholarship Form