Athens - August Staub ,theatre director, producer, historian and Professor Emeritus of drama at the University of Georgia, died April 19th at his home in Athens, Georgia. His wife Patricia Staub and daughter Laurel Melicent Staub were with him at the time of his death.
Gus was a leader in educational theatre in America. Born in New Orleans in 1931, he received his B.A., M.A., and PhD from Louisiana State University. Subsequently, he taught at Eastern Michigan University and the University of Florida. In 1964 he joined the faculty of the University of New Orleans where he organized and chaired the Department of Drama and Communication. In 1976 he accepted the post of Head of the Department of Drama and Theatre at the University of Georgia. He retired in 1996. His career in educational theatre was unbroken during his lifetime except for a period in the early 1950s when he served as an officer in the U.S. Army and saw combat in Korea.
August Staub also worked in professional theatre for many years as a director and producer. From 1984-1988 he was the Producing Artistic Director of the Jekyll Island Musical Comedy Festival, from 1989-2000 he was the producer and director of the Highlands Playhouse in North Carolina, and from 1991-1995 he also served as the Executive Producer of the Georgia Repertory Theatre. In retirement he continued his professional involvement as a member of the directorial staff of the Theatre in the Square, an Equity house located in Marietta, Georgia. His last production, "The Belle of Amherst", opened at the Theatre in the Square just a few weeks prior to his death. Among his many directorial successes during his career was the American premiere production of "Hungarian Medea," written by Apard Goncz, the president of Hungary, a production that President Goncz attended.
While Gus Staub was held in high regard as a theatre artist, he was also a respected theatre scholar. He was the author of three books, chapters in five books, and over 75 articles in professional journals. In addition, he was the general editor of a series of books on Artists and Issues in the Theatre, and throughout his career delivered numerous papers both here and abroad. Over the years he also served as the associate editor of The Speech Teacher, The Quarterly Journal of Speech, and The Southern Speech Journal. It was his conviction that all theatre artists should have a strong background in the history and literature of their profession.
Gus Staub served as a leader in several organizations associated with educational theatre in America. He was president of the Southwest Theatre and Film Association, of the American Theatre Association, of The University and College Theatre Association, and of the National Association of Schools of Theatre. Along with a handful of other leaders in the profession, he was responsible for establishing the artistic and academic standards of educational theatre in America. In recognition of his contributions to the theatre he was honored by being elected to membership in the National Theatre Conference and the College of Fellows of the American Theatre.
His work as an artist and scholar aside, Gus Staub's many friends, colleagues and students will always remember this warm, generous man with a penetrating intellect and a sense of humor that would show up at almost any occasion. His jokes became legendary. He also had a way of making almost instant friends with whomever he met, whether seated next to a stranger in a New York theatre or on a stone wall at the Inca ruins at Machu Picchu. And Gus would never let his friends or strangers forget that he had been born and raised in the Big Easy as he slipped into a strong New Orleans dialect.
A memorial celebration will be held on May 5 at 2 p.m. at the Chapel on the University of Georgia campus. Rather than flowers, donations may be made to the University of Georgia Foundation, 394 S. Milledge, Athens, GA 30602, earmarked for the Staub Graduate Award in Theatre.
Lord and Stephens, EAST is in charge of arrangements.
Published in Athens Banner-Herald on Apr. 24, 2008.