Friends Lecture: Rohan Preston

With generous support from the Mark and Mary Goff Fiterman Fund, the Friends of the Institute present Star Tribune theater critic Rohan Preston.

Preston grew up with parents, both Jamaican immigrants, who were so fearful of 1970s and ‘80’s New York, they forbade their children to just go “hang out.” Their widespread fear was that their children would literally be eaten up by the concrete jungle. But the youngsters could go to the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza, to various museums, and to live performances of music and theater, including Broadway. He overindulged, becoming a glutton for cultural knowledge and experience not just for aesthetic reasons but because paintings and books, music, opera and dance literally meant freedom, as his teenage mind perceived it. That experiential education gave him a foundation that he polished at Yale, where he studied English and critical theory, devising his own path to becoming an appreciator and, concomitantly, an arbiter of arts and culture.

Rohan Preston has been the Star Tribune’s theater critic since 1998. Over those decades, he has interviewed a raft of luminary performing artists, including playwrights Arthur Miller, August Wilson, Edward Albee and Tony Kushner. He has the unique distinction of being an Emmy Award-winning critic, having led a Star Tribune team that won the coveted award for a documentary on the historic 2008 elections. Preston has twice served on the Pulitzer jury for drama. Before joining the Star Tribune, he wrote for the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post and New York Times. Born in Jamaica, reared in Brooklyn and educated at Yale, Preston also composes poetry, plays and photographs, and loves to till the soil at home with his wife, the poet Angela Shannon, and, when they visit, their two adult daughters.

** Note: Tickets to this event will be available to Friends members on January 15, and to the general public on January 17. **