A world-renowned playwright, Peter Sham is known for his work with Lend Me A Tenor the Musical, which celebrated a successful run at the Gielgud Theatre on London’s West End. Earlier this year he became the Artistic Director for the Neil Simon Festival, writing Under Construction: The Blue Collar Musical.
Sham graduated from the University of Delaware with a Masters of Fine Arts in Acting. While he was in school, he heard about the Utah Shakespeare Festival (USF) from a casting director who was on campus. After he graduated he moved to Cedar City and worked with USF for 12 seasons.
In 2006, a job opened up in the Department of Theatre Arts & Dance at Southern Utah University. Now, as Associate Professor of Theatre, Sham teaches the following classes:
- THEA 1033: Acting I
- THEA 1023-30i: Intro to Film (Online Maymester)
- THEA 1023-31i: Intro to Film (Online Summer Session)
- THEA 1113: Voice & Diction
- THEA 2033: Acting II
- THEA 2711: Dramatic Literature
- THEA 3131: Professional Aspects of Theatre - Suzuki Movement Training
- THEA 3131: Professional Aspects of Theatre - Audition Prep
- THEA 3613: Directing I
- THEA 4140: Rehearsal and Performance (Directing a Shakespeare Play or a Musical or Opera)
- THEA 4613: Directing II
- THEA 4153: Acting Shakespeare II
Every year Sham directs a Shakespeare play with gender-bending roles. He enjoys pushing the envelope when it comes to casting, noting that gender does not dictate emotions. His most memorable piece was Hamlet.
“The production of Hamlet was nationally recognized by USA Today and was the last show to be featured in the Adams Shakespearean Theatre,” said Sham. “The gender-bending aspect taught students that no matter man or woman, emotions are the same.”
Sham has received numerous awards and recognition for his work on stage, off stage and in the classroom. Most notably, he received the Board of Trustees Award for Excellence for Lend Me a Tenor the Musical, and the Kennedy Center’s Excellence in Education Award. He was also the first and only member from the College of Performing and Visual Arts to win Scholar of the Year.
Even after all of his experiences and accolades, Sham continues to teach because he wants students to get the experiences that he had.
“There is no greater joy in this world, for me, then to watch someone make discoveries for the first time,” said Sham. “Watching students figure it out and surprise themselves, or do things they never thought they could do, is extremely empowering for me.”
For more information, visit the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance.