San Antonio, Texas
“Theatre education is, to quote the philosopher Gottfried Leibniz, ‘the best of all possible worlds,’” observed Charles Jeffries, who spent forty-two years challenging and inspiring the minds of students and colleagues. “It deals with all the arts, each day. Doing something different and finding a different way to accomplish any task is a daily adventure.”
Jeffries did not intentionally pursue a career in educational theatre. When he graduated from high school, he dreamed of being an actor and saw that as the only important part of theatre. But his mentor at Texas Christian University, Dr. Walther R. Volbach, insisted that all theatre majors secure their teaching certificates. Following this advice, Jeffries discovered that indeed his future lay in the world of educational theatre, from high school and college teaching to advocacy and advisory work.
“The most important thing I did for the cause of theatre education was to go to my classroom each day,” he said. “How else could I share more effectively my love of theatre than by training and involving young artists?” A colleague reflected, “In teaching theatre, he has also taught not only the other academic disciplines, but the love of learning, tolerance for others, and abiding respect for democratic principles. This is evident in his work, but more visible in the lives of countless former students who have become outstanding citizens.”
Jeffries spread theatre beyond the classroom by founding numerous theatre companies in Fort Worth, San Antonio, and elsewhere. As a member of the Educational Theatre Association, he has served as a Thespian troupe founder and director, Texas state director, regional director, and board member. He has also served in leadership roles for the Secondary School Theatre Association, the Texas Educational Theatre Association, and the Texas Alliance for Arts Education.
After retiring in 1994 from thirty-seven years of secondary school theatre education, Jeffries founded Texas Theatre Consultants, a not-for-profit group dedicated to enhancing instructors’ abilities and assisting them in educating students to their maximum potential.