The ceremony was held at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.
Induction is one of the highest honors bestowed on educators and professionals in American theater. It has only been awarded to just over 200 recipients since the conception. Fellows include Pulitzer Prize-winning playwrights; Tony Award-winning actors, directors, artistic directors, and designers; administrators and artists from major regional theatres; academic administrators of distinguished theatre programs; and distinguished scholars of theatre. The Fellows represent the highest standards of service and accomplishment in creativity, education, and research in theater.
“At this point in my career, being a year away from retiring, the honor certainly feels like a kind of culmination of the various aspects of my career in academic theatre and the professional theatre,” said Fisher. “I am in awe of so many of the Fellows, past and present, who have been the leading lights of the American theatre since the early 20th century. At the events, and in the rolls of the Fellows membership, are the ‘heavy hitters’ of the field – so many of them have been mentors and models for me in my own work.”
As part of the honor, Fisher participated in an interview, which was filmed and will be archived at the Harry Ransom Research Center at the University of Texas in Austin.
Fisher has served as a chair of two university theater departments for a total of 22 years. At UNCG, he helped build a relationship with Triad Stage, directed full productions, and continued teaching a substantial range of courses. He was the 2017 recipient of the Mary Settle Sharpe Award for Teaching Excellence.Over his career, the UNCG alumnus has produced nineteen published books and edited six volumes of “Puppetry Yearbook.” Four of his books are on playwright Tony Kushner, for whose work Fisher was an early champion. Read more about his work on Kushner here.
“There is a profound social and communal dimension to all of Jim’s work,” said nominating Fellow Cheryl Black. “His compassion, his generosity, his concern for social justice, and his love for humanity permeate all he does.”
By Susan Kirby-Smith
Visual: Jim Fisher with Dana Fisher, his “partner in everything.” They’ve been married 42 years.