North Adams, Massachusetts
In 1988, Dr. Len Radin, a dentist in North Adams, Massachusetts, wanted to produce Juvie, a social drama by Jerome McDonough, at Drury High School. “While I had no formal education in teaching, I had a strong background in theatre and medicine, both valuable in directing this play,” Dr. Radin said. The production led to the founding of the Drury Drama Team. “It did not take me long to get hooked on educational theatre on the high school level. Working with adolescents and young adults in a creative endeavor, seeing them grow, and being a part of their journey to adulthood is one of the greatest joys of my life.”
Dr. Radin maintained his dental practice while teaching (as a volunteer) and directing at the school. The drama team evolved into a privately sponsored academic department of theatre at Drury High School that was chartered as an International Thespian Society troupe. The team spawned a similar program at the middle school level, the Conte Drama Team.
Deborah S. Coyne, an English teacher and community service-learning coordinator, wrote of Dr. Radin’s work as an acting teacher, “He began in a class with students who were disengaged with school and were known as problem kids who had been marginalized by situations at home and with the courts. They learned to trust Doc… and gave a most heart-rending performance to an audience of invited guests that included social workers, probation officers, and foster care givers.”
Dr. Radin served as Massachusetts state Thespian director, and he founded and has hosted the annual Yankee International Thespian Festival. At the 1998 Yankee Festival, he was presented the Sir Mort Clark Theatre Teacher of the Year Award.