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About Patricia Troxel

Patricia M. Troxel, highly respected and dearly loved artist, teacher and friend, died Sunday, April 21, 2013 at the culmination of a fierce four-year-plus battle with breast cancer.
Patricia was well known on the Central Coast in her roles as Director, Literary Manager and beloved teacher at PCPA Theaterfest in Santa Maria, where she directed and dramaturged dozens of plays and taught hundreds of students. She was also Associate Professor of English, Emerita, at Cal Poly, where she touched innumerable lives with her inspired and passionate teaching of Dramatic Literature, Playwriting and Shakespeare.
Patricia Margaret Troxel was born in Spokane in November 1956 to Harold Jorgensen, an academic, and Joan Jorgensen (née Fergen), a librarian, to whom she said she owed her love of
theater and appreciation of good scholarship. Her happy childhood was spent in Washington, British Columbia and Oregon. Her curiosity about the world beyond our national borders was fostered by her early childhood years in Canada and her experiences with the American Field Service as host to an Australian “brother” in Oregon and as AFS student herself in Turkey.
After graduation from Beaverton High School in 1974, Patricia entered Whitman College
in Walla Walla, Wash. Fiercely intelligent and intellectually curious, Patricia was a gifted singer and keyboardist (piano and harpsichord) who seriously considered majoring in music before opting for a double degree in English and History. She took her Whitman B.A. with Honors in 1978, prior to embarking on a year-long exploration of Medieval Pilgrimage Routes in France, Spain and England as a recipient of the prestigious Watson Travelling Fellowship.
Upon returning from Europe in 1979, she married David Troxel and subsequently earned her M.A. in English at UC Davis. From 1981 to 1985, she pursued doctoral studies in English at Princeton University where she earned her Ph.D in 1986, writing her dissertation on “Theater of Adultery: Studies in Modern Drama from Ibsen to Stoppard.”
In 1985, she began a five-year stint as Assistant Professor of Dramatic Literature at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. In addition to her teaching and research, Patricia served on the literary staff of Actors Theatre of Louisville and became active in directing, developing and
producing new plays for international conferences, women writers’ collectives, regional arts centers and arts councils. She kept her international connections alive with travel to continental Europe and England, where she was a Board member of the Cooperative Center for Study in Great Britain and Consultant to the Riverside Studios Education Program in London.
Patricia M. Troxel
Patricia joined the Cal Poly English faculty as Assistant Professor of Dramatic Literature and Playwriting in 1990. She was promoted to tenured Associate Professor in 1993, a position she held until her retirement in 2010. At Poly, Patricia was a beloved teacher of dramatic literature of all eras – ancient Greece through contemporary drama – but perhaps most touched students through her encyclopedic knowledge and inspired teaching of Shakespeare, all of whose plays she had seen live before turning 30. Students remember her as a mentor and role model who brought the works she taught to life and kindled in them a passion for theatre akin to her own. She also served as Resident Director for Cal Poly’s London Study Program and as Summer Study Abroad Internship Director. Her Cal Poly colleagues will miss her razor-sharp intellect, breadth of knowledge, perceptive insights, sly wit and generous collegiality.
Outside the classroom, Patricia contributed significantly to the cultural life of the campus and greater San Luis Obispo community, most notably through the plays she directed for Artemis, A Theatre Company / The Central Coast Shakespeare Festival, of which she was co-founder and Artistic Director; for Centerpoint Theatre Group; for the SLO Little Theatre; and at the Stockton Civic Theatre. She shared her wit and intelligence through public lectures and gave generously of her time as co-director of the Lyceum Lecture Series, as Board Member of the SLO Arts Council, and as Education Director for Shakespeare in the Schools, among many other activities.
This level of professional activity and personal engagement would be enough to fill any one lifetime. Astonishingly, Patricia had a parallel professional career during and beyond her 20 years at Cal Poly as a valued and respected theatre professional with the Pacific Conservatory for the Performing Arts.
Patricia joined PCPA as a conservatory instructor and dramaturge in 1991, where she developed the Literary and Dramaturgical programs. She directed dozens of productions in 22 seasons, including this year’s The Tempest and The Rivals, and provided dramaturgy for over 55 plays. She co-founded InterPlay: The Stage Between, PCPA’s staged reading series for new dramatic works. Her interest in adaptation and translation was manifest in five scripts for PCPA: Tartuffe, Little Women, A Servant of TwoMasters, A Flea in Her Ear and The Imaginary Invalid. In addition to her work at PCPA, Patricia was active with various regional theatres, including Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Utah Shakespeare Festival and InsightOut Theatre Collective.
Patricia Troxel was a true artist. The art she created was ephemeral, but she leaves a lasting theatrical legacy through the hundreds of PCPA colleagues, actors and students whose lives she touched. Her inspired teaching, insightful direction, and profound love of theatre will not be forgotten, nor will her intelligence, sensitivity, humanity, and courage.
While she followed the Buddhist faith, Patricia’s generosity and kindness were embodied in the words of John Wesley that she kept on her wall: “Do all the good you can. By all the means
you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” Patricia Troxel was one of the rare individuals who truly live by this creed. To you, dear Patricia, your many friends, colleagues, students and admirers say: Cheers!
Patricia leaves behind a “chosen family” of loving friends and a broader community of hundreds of colleagues and students for whom her vibrant artistry, superlative intelligence and tremendous
kindness have left an indelible, affirmative and powerful legacy.
A public celebration of life for Patricia M. Troxel will be conducted at 7 PM on Sunday, May 26, 2013, at the Solvang Festival Theater, 420 2nd St. in Solvang, Calif. Patricia’s wishes were that, in lieu of flowers, gifts be made in her honor to the PCPA Foundation (information available at www.pcpa.org).

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Present Associate Professor Emerita, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
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