Feb. 18, 1940 - June 19, 2018
Actor, director, writer, and scholar, D. Nicholas Rudall, passed away at 78. Born in 1940 in Llanelli, Wales, Nick taught at the University of Chicago since the mid-1960s as a professor of Classical Languages and Literatures. His specialty was Greek drama, and he translated numerous works by Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes. His last produced work was a new translation of Aeschylus' "Prometheus Bound," commissioned by and premiered at City Lit Theatre. He was also the artistic director of Court Theatre on the University of Chicago campus from 1971 to 1994, and shepherded the theater from amateur to professional status. His notable credits as an actor in Chicago theatre included playing Sir (The Dresser) at Apple Tree, as well as numerous performances at Court Theatre: Alfred P. Doolittle (Pygmalion) Hamm (Endgame) Archie Rice (The Entertainer) Tobias (A Delicate Balance) Goldberg (The Birthday Party) and the title roles in Macbeth, Richard III, and Butley. On May 29, 2018- Nick posted on his Facebook page: "The colon and liver cancer has become noticeably stronger in the last few weeks and as a consequence I have become noticeably weaker. I have decided, therefore, after many consultations with my daughter and professional palliative care experts, that it is time for me to enter hospice care. I have led an extraordinarily happy life doing the two professions I have loved most, teaching and translating classics and working in the professional theater. I thank you all for helping me enjoy this wonderful life. There are tears, of course, but I entered this last stage of my life at peace and with a kind of subdued joy. So thank you all." A great spirit passes. Rest In Peace, dear sir.
- Courtesy of Albert "Bill" Williams
Additional details about Nick Rudall:
Nick Rudall was the son of a steelworker and would likely have followed in his father’s footsteps had he not won a scholarship to the elite Llandovery boarding school. It was there he fell in love with theater.
Nick was an award winning translator of Greek plays and a beloved University of Chicago professor for 40 years. He earned his PhD in classical languages and literature from Cornell University. In 1966 he joined University of Chicago’s Department of Classics, teaching tragedy and ancient theater. He retired from teaching in 2006.
While at Court, Rudall directed dozens of plays at Court Theatre, including The Glass Menagerie, Lysistrata, Romeo and Juliet, Under Milk Woodand The Mystery Cycle. He also appeared often on the Court stage, playing among other parts, Macbeth, Richard III, Falstaff and Prospero.
Rudall transformed Court Theatre, which originated as a community-based outdoor drama festival. Nick became Artistic Director in 1972. By the mid-1970s, the company transitioned from working with students and community members to employing professional Equity actors. By 1981, Court and the University of Chicago came together to create the permanent home for the theater audiences know today. Charles Newell, current Artistic Director of Court Theatre, said of his mentor, “Court will forever be Nick’s legacy.”