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April 19, 2018

Alumnus Spotlight: Nathan Stenberg

Roberts alumnus Nathan Stenberg has recently been cast to perform in the world-premiere of Under This Roof. Written by Barbara Kingsley and directed by James A. Williams, the play will be presented by Full Circle Theatre Company at the Guthrie Theatre (an internationally renowned member of the League of Resident Theatres in Minneapolis). The play will run from May 4th – 20th, 2018.

Set in the late 1940s against the backdrop of post-WWII recovery in America, this four-character, two-act play takes place in the segregated black neighborhood of Central Cleveland, where characters Mamie and Raymond Warren reside. Mamie desperately needs household help after her husband has a serious accident. On the recommendation of a friend, Mamie hires a down-on-her-luck woman named Bessie, whose arrival brings surprises and new challenges. Under This Roof explores themes of mature love, family, disability and race on an ever-shifting axis, with often unexpected comic, painful and heartfelt results” (https://www.guthrietheater.org/shows-and-tickets/2017-2018-season/under-this-roof/).

Nathan is thrilled to be playing Mason, a character with a physical disability, as Under This Roof’s themes of race, disability, and the use of inclusion casting relate to his current PhD research in Theatre Historiography at the University of Minnesota.

In May, 2017, Nathan received his Masters of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary. His area of interest was the Performativity of Religion and Disability, and his research combines issues of theology, disability, race, and the arts. His dissertation establishes that viewing disabled Americans through the lens of performance results in a “racialized” stigma.

More broadly, Nathan’s research includes topics of narrative, trauma, and resilience; sociology; philosophy of religion; film and theatre performance, and disability studies; disability and sports; law history and citizenship; law and bioethics/biomedicine; and rural studies. He’s also an American Exercise Council (ACE) Certified Personal Trainer.

Reflecting on his time at Roberts, Nathan writes, “Roberts taught me much more than what is written on my diploma. My teachers instilled in me the idea that in order to be an artist, I must invest my whole self – body, heart, and mind – in all I do. I must constantly question how to not only better tell the story my performance portrays, but how to better understand my own story, so as to combine the two in a living, breathing experience for my audience.”

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