Posted on 16 September 2011 .
Patrick with a copy of his play, “Kennedy’s Children.” (Photo by Dylan
A drama major at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales from 1955 to 1958,
renowned playwright Robert Patrick is the first graduate from the College of
Fine Arts to receive the Artistic Achievement Award. The New York Innovative
Theatre Awards will honor Patrick with the award on Sept. 19.
Dr. Joseph Kline, Dean of the College of Fine Arts, said the theater
department is thrilled over Patrick’s receipt of such an esteemed award. “It’s
quite prestigious. It’s recognized by the industry as a significant lifetime
After acting in plays throughout junior high, high school and college,
Patrick ventured to the Kennebunkport Playhouse in Maine where he learned he
could do anything — carpentry and lighting as well as acting in “Gentlemen
Prefer Blondes” with Jane Morgan and “The Marriage-Go-Round” with Eve Arden.
Patrick left Maine, with the intention of returning to New Mexico, stopping on
the way in New York to visit a college friend. He wandered, by accident, into
the first Off-Off Broadway theater, Caffe Cino. ”Caffe Cino was a wonderful,
fairyland place that did any plays it wanted to and did them for free,”he
Never returning to New Mexico, Patrick stayed in New York after his
accidental visit to the Cino, which eventually attracted writers, actors and
directors who went on to win Tony awards and Oscars such as Bernadette Peters,
Al Pacino, Sam Shepard and Pulitzer Prize winner Lanford Wilson. Patrick
emphasized the importance of small off-off Broadway theater, exemplified by the
Cino. “All drama is important, whether on stage, large screen or small screen.
Stage theater is especially important because with a smaller budget it can
afford to be more daring, honest and experimental. Small Off-Off Broadway
theater is the most important because it is the most free theater ever. Freedom
of speech, the American birthright, was invented for theater in the Caffe
Patrick’s plays appeared in many of the new Off-Off Broadway theaters. In
1972 Samuel French play publishers called him “New York’s most-produced
playwright.” His notorious play “Kennedy’s Children” opened in London and then
appeared all over the world, including on Broadway in New York.
Now retired, Patrick reviews movies online for various outlets. Patrick
expressed his pride in being honored by his alma mater with an article in the
school’s Monday Memo section, and said of receiving the Artistic Achievement
Award, “It’s a source of both pride and humility to learn that one’s work is
Patrick can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.