What Bob Yowell, theater professor and director of the Grapes of Wrath, enjoys most about his job is helping young actors delve as deeply as possible into their characters.

“I enjoy studying plays and working with students on group play projects,” he said. “My favorite part of directing is working with good plays, often plays with social protest themes, and helping actors discover as much as we can about a character and how they can be best portrayed.”

Yowell, who has been teaching theater at NAU since 1993, previously served as director of the School of Performing Arts, was Faculty Senate president and Teacher of the Year.

Seven plays he has directed have been selected for regional presentations sponsored by the Kennedy Center. One of these performances, El Paso Blue by Octavio Solis, was chosen out of a national pool to be performed at the Kennedy Center in 1994.

Yowell said he chooses plays with social protest themes because of the value the arts can provide for humanity. “The arts can be a change agent in our lives,” Yowell said.

Yowell is a Fellow of the American College Theater Center. He was recently honored for his long-standing creative contributions to educational theatre and received the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival Excellence in Education award.

He was also selected as an Outstanding Theatre Major Alumni from Southeast Missouri State University.