May 24, 1996 was declared “Jhon Marshall Day” in Cincinnati. The day marked Mr. Marshall’s retirement after thirty years of teaching theatre. In those years, he had an extraordinary impact on his students. They saw the theatre as their home, where they found a true sense of belonging and were able to succeed in a creative and warm environment that they seldom found elsewhere at school. Mr. Marshall’s last class of seniors drafted and signed a document “adopting” him as their father.
Mr. Marshall described his motivation as an educator as a combination of a love for theatre and the joy of watching the growth of his students. “Who can ever explain the feeling of watching a play grow from concept to opening night and knowing that the students involved with the production have grown as well?”
Mr. Marshall produced and directed more than one hundred plays in his years as a high school teacher, including performances at the Thespian Festival’s regional play marathon, the Ohio High School Play Festival, for community theatres, and on board Cincinnati’s Showboat Majestic. He has hosted two Ohio Thespian conferences, served on the Ohio Educational Theatre Association board, and last year was among the first inductees to the state association’s Hall of Fame. As an actor, he has performed at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and on the Showboat Majestic, the last of America’s original floating showboats. He has translated and adapted Spanish-language works for all-student casts. After retiring from teaching, he worked part-time at the home office of the Educational Theatre Association.
“His dedication to theatre is absolute,” a colleague stated. “His enthusiasm for drama and musical theatre is infectious… His working knowledge of theatre is encyclopedic. He has created a world of culture for himself and for many students who would in other circumstances have been denied such enrichment…”