William Raffeld

Associate Professor Emeritus



Masters of Theatre Arts, Pasadena Playhouse College of Theater Arts



William F. Raffeld is Associate Professor Emeritus from the Theatre Program. His training in theatre began at the Pasadena Playhouse College of Theater Arts where he earned two degrees - bachelor and master degrees in Theatre Arts. After finishing theatre school he directed plays for various theatres in Hollywood and worked  in the production department at ABC Television in Hollywood. Eventually he returned to Chicago and worked on his Ph.D at Northwestern University. His work has also included working in a number of summer stock companies as an actor and dancer. He has directed for the Pasadena Playhouse, Northwestern University, Cal State Long Beach - where he was a resident guest artist for two years - and UIC.

He has directed for a number of Chicago theaters way back when—before the current group of companies existed. He founded his own theatre school in the 80’s at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts. He founded his own theater company in Chicago, the Old World Theatre Company, in 1979. He was the associate artistic director and artistic director of Timberlake Playhouse where he worked for 16 summers. He worked for the Latin School of Chicago as a director and teacher for 16 years. He has worked at UIC for 45 years. His various titles have included associate professor, director of the theater, coordinator of the theater program, coordinator for the international theatre exchange programs and head of the B.F.A. and degree programs.

His primary teaching is in performance courses—all levels of acting, directing and staging plays. He has also worked as a dancer and actor in Chicago. He was the grandfather in the Nutcracker at the Arie Crown Theater for 26 years and continues to play the role for Civic Ballet of Chicago’s Nutcracker. He has directed over 200 plays including stagings in Moscow, Russia for the Theatre of Moscow Southwest. One of his greatest pleasures has been the development of the international exchange with Theatre of Moscow Southwest.

During the past 18 years he has taken seven student productions and one alumni production there and hosted seven residencies of the Theater of Moscow Southwest here. Exchanges in theatre have also been set up with the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain between the years 1986 and 1992. The National has brought over three productions. A number of guest artists from the theatre in England have come to UIC to teach conservatory classes in theatre.

His directing work includes all forms and styles of theatre from Shakespeare to musical comedy, tragedy, melodrama and comedy—you name it he’s done it. A scholarship at UIC has been set up in his name. He serves on a number of boards and committees including the Civic Ballet of Chicago, the Chicago/Moscow Sister Cities Committee and Congregation Kol Emeth.