To our Shakespeare Festival fans and family,
It is with unimaginable sorrow that we share with you the news of the sudden passing today of our Artistic Director, Company Founder, and forever leading man, Dr. Kevin Crawford. Many of us have known him since high school or earlier, the “hometown boy who did us proud.” From those days and ever after, he was a beacon of knowledge, a fount of talent, and a joy to be around. It is no exaggeration to say he inspired thousands of lives through his work with the Festival, and countless hundreds through his role as an educator. Many have said: “he has forgotten more about Shakespeare than I will ever know,” but he held more than an encyclopedia-worth of knowledge of the Bard. He was a true polymath. His knowledge of every topic was as diverse as the many roles he played and directed in 25 years with the Festival. His love of learning (about anything and everything) drew others to him like a magnet, and no one ever left a conversation with him without taking some knowledge or wisdom away from the encounter. On stage he was simply mesmerizing, and in person, he was warm, welcoming and caring to everyone he met. His sense of humor was brilliant and sharp; his wit was even more so. He saw life through the eyes of a poet, and made life more beautiful for the rest of us because of it.
No matter what Kevin did artistically or professionally, he always thought of Palm Beach County. Whether it was doing free workshops in area high schools, colleges, chambers, theaters and libraries each year; or performing the one-man “Poe” to visitors at the Palm Beach Zoo – every family and visitor here benefitted from his selfless imparting of knowledge, and obvious love of learning.
Professionally, he holds a Ph.D. in Renaissance Drama from the Hudson Strode Program for Renaissance Studies at the University of Alabama. His dissertation, "'Tis ten to one this play will never please": Academic Performance Criticism and Conditional Shakespeare, investigates performed Shakespeare in three venues virtually ignored by the academic "Shakespeare Industry": small regional festivals, major regional festivals, and university theatre departments. His publications have addressed racism, masculinity, sexual deviance, and the grotesque in Renaissance drama; his reviews of books and performances have appeared in Shakespeare Bulletin and Shakespeare Yearbook. He has presented his work at the annual conferences of the Shakespeare Association of America, the Group for Early Modern Culture Studies, and the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts, where he shared the panel with Neil Gaiman, who referred numerous questions to “the expert” (Kevin).
Nothing here can convey the sum of Kevin adequately, nor begin to describe the loss we all feel, and will continue to feel. Our hearts and thoughts are with Kevin’s family, and with the many he considered his extended family.