Ted Shank was the Founding Chair of the Theatre Department at UC Davis and taught in the department 33 years, from 1956–1989. He then transferred to the UC San Diego Theatre Department where his wife, UC Davis alumna Adele Edling Shank, was Department Chair. Shank was promoted to Distinguished Professor of Theatre and taught in the department until retiring.
Shank is the Founding Editor of TheatreForum, an international journal of innovative performance. He is an award winning playwright, author, and director. His eight books, chapters in more than thirty others, and a hundred or so articles on contemporary theatre have been published in at least eighteen countries. His books include American Alternative Theatre (Macmillan, London; St. Martin’s, New York), The Art of Dramatic Art (Dickenson, Belmont, CA; New York: Dell Publishing Co., Inc), Theatre in Real Time (Studio Forma, Milan), Contemporary Experimental Theatre (Theater am Turm, Frankfurt), California Performance (Mime Journal, Claremont, CA), Contemporary British Theatre (Macmillan, London; St. Martin’s, NY), and Beyond the Boundaries: American Alternative Theatre (University of Michigan Press).
Shank’s legacy at San Diego is considerable: He and his wife made a substantial gift to UCSD in 2010 to establish the Adele and Theodore Shank Professional Playwriting Residency Award Fund. The gift supports students graduating with a Master of Fine Arts in playwriting at UCSD. In appreciation of their gifit, UCSD’s Forum Studio, a black box theatre, was renamed and is now known as the Theodore and Adele Shank Theatre.