On October 3, 2017, Robin Schraft passed away after a fight with cancer. Schraft was the head of the Drury University theatre department as well as a well-liked professor, director, and designer for the department.
The Drury University theatre faculty page has this to say of Dr. Robin Schraft:
“A graduate of New York University, Dr. Schraft works in the areas of directing, acting, theatre management and lighting and sound design. His commercial career includes work as a director, designer and stage manager in New York, summer stock, national tours and Branson. He has spoken on design at theatre conferences throughout the United States and Canada. He is an active member of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT), having served for many years as the Vice-Commissioner for Computer Applications for the Lighting Commission of the Institute. He was also on the committee that wrote the national recommended practices for stage lighting graphics. He is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC).
Locally, he has performed, directed or designed for such organizations as Springfield Ballet, MSU Tent Theatre and the Springfield Regional Opera. He has served as a theatre design consultant in Branson and for architects and schools in the region. During his sabbatical he wrote The Director’s Process, a book on directing now being utilized in his course, Play Direction. His chapter on teaching Stage Management was published in Inspired Teaching: Essays on Theatre Design and Technology (2013). The production of Copenhagen that he directed was selected to be performed at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival regional festival in Omaha, Nebraska. Most recently he directed The Runner Stumbles and designed lighting and sound for Cabaret and The Three Sisters at Drury.”
An accomplished artist, Schraft lived a full life. But it was his personality and dedication to his students that will make him so missed. Read reactions from current and former students in order to see the extent that Schraft was respected and loved throughout campus.
“Robin ‘Doc’ Schraft was one of the greatest men I have ever met. His devotion to this school, this department, and his students was infectious. I have never seen someone more eager to help in anyway they could. Doc wanted nothing but success for his students and would do whatever he could to help. I remember countless nights when doc would stay hours after he was supposed to leave because we needed help with a tricky circuit or a fussy light board. Doc taught me to strive for perfection in every aspect of my work backstage and the lessons he taught me not only made me a better stage manager, but a better person. There will never be another Dr. Schraft.”
”Doctor Schraft never let anyone off the hook.
In theatre we are constantly making choices about characters, settings, and ideas. When you make an artistic choice you need to be able to justify it through research and well reasoned arguments. When Doc directed shows he thoroughly considered and researched all options before settling on a decision. It was irritatingly impressive.
I used to get so flustered with Doc’s line of questioning about my costume choices. I wanted to make decisions based off of my point of few and feelings as a designer. Some professors would find that acceptable, but Doc never let me off the hook. I learned how to ask questions and think critically because of Doc, but what’s more is I learned to have a deeper dedication to the craft because of Doc.
Doc’s dedication was endless. He loved directing, teaching, and being a husband, father, and grandfather. He approached every aspect of his life with that same fierce dedication. In a time in the world where news cycles are going faster and faster, people are becoming less and less committed to one another, and so many seem to be spewing hatred without taking a closer look into the issues they’re discussing. I can’t help but think about Doc, and how if we were all a bit more invested in each other and open to exploring ideas as Doc was, we might be better off.”
“He was lucky to do what he loved every day, and it showed. Everything he did, you can tell he enjoyed himself.”
“In so mant ways, Doc was what I aspire to be in my theatre community: knoweldgeable, passionate, and genuinely committed to mentoring the next generation of thespians. He made me both a better artist and a better person. And he was one of the few people I’ve met who came close to stumping me on musical theatre trivia. I miss you already, Doc. Love, Deb.”
Doc gave me my love of theatre. He gave me the confidence to pursue my passion for the art and explore new ways I could be involved. He supported me through my first semester as the box office manager and helped me realize that I could be successful in theater, even if acting wasn’t my strong suit. Doc was more than just my advisor, he was the reason I found my place in theater. You will always be in our hearts Doc.
”A legacy. What is a legacy?”
A legacy is what you leave behind when you live a life of love and compassion. It is the gift that you give someone when you value and support them indiscriminately. It is a life lived with integrity, one that works towards something bigger than oneself. It is what Dr. Schraft left behind in all of us. He has a lasting legacy, not only in our department but in our lives.
For me, Doc’s never ending support made me the person I am today. I will never forget the impression that he has made on my life, and I bet that anyone who has had the pleasure to work with him would say the same.
Everyone we ever work with will see the thumbprint of Doc in our work. He will continue to live on in each of the people that his life touched, and he had so many students, and friends, and family who love him.
I’m sorry that I didn’t have a Showboat reference, but I thought that a Hamilton quote would suffice. We love you, Doc. You’re with us forever.”