Bravissimo! Cary Fuller ’60 Establishes Endowment Fund for Theater Program at St. Albans
Cary Fuller ’60 acknowledged just how much St. Albans prepared him for the stage of life with a recent donation to STRIVE: A Campaign for St. Albans. Fuller’s gift established an endowment fund for the School’s theater program—The Cary Clark Fuller Theater Endowment.
Fuller arrived at St. Albans in 1954 as a Form I student, bright-eyed and eager to explore. A transfer student from Jackson School in Georgetown who was not accustomed to the rigorous academic course-load, Fuller faced new challenges at St. Albans. Having participated in various class plays at Jackson, Fuller was enthusiastic to explore the performing arts scene at St. Albans.
“Drama was something that was always interesting to me,” Fuller recalled. “It gave me an outlet that I felt totally comfortable in. My St. Albans experience certainly started the need for and love of drama that continued into college and through my professional career.”
After St. Albans, Fuller attended Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., where he majored in both theater and English. At Rollins, Fuller challenged his dramatic repertoire with roles in musicals. He recalled, in particular, playing Freddy Eynsford-Hill in My Fair Lady, where he conquered singing “On the Street Where You Live.” “It was a very glorious song,” he said, “and I did not have a glorious voice. The role pushed me, and I did the best that I could.”
While drama was his greatest interest, there were not many career opportunities in theater after graduating from college. Fuller accepted a position teaching English at Sheridan School in Washington, where, early on, he assisted the school’s theatrical program. After a few years, Fuller moved to New York to teach English at Rye Country Day School (RCDS). There too his role expanded into producing and directing theatrical performances.
Challenged academically as a student, Fuller never imagined he would end up an educator, but he credited St. Albans for preparing him to be an effective teacher. “My whole approach to teaching English was based upon what I had learned from Ferdinand Ruge and Stanley Willis ’46,” he said. “I just taught the way I had been taught. Although I was not a great student, the teaching method stayed with me.”
Outside the English classroom, Fuller selected dramas that expanded students’ world view and honed their theatrical skills. Directing “The Laramie Project,” which centers on the reaction to the gruesome murder of Matthew Shepard, he cast two non-actors. “They were just boys who thought it would be fun to be in a play, and it really changed their lives with it being the powerful play that it is.”
Having held an endowed chair in English and served as Drama Department chair, Fuller retired from RCDS after more than 40 years of service.
Fuller, who has also included St. Albans in his estate plan, knew a commitment to the STRIVE Campaign was imperative to continue the School’s rich theatrical tradition. “All I can hope is that my gift will enhance the Drama Department’s resources and creative initiatives,” he said. “I also hope others would think about the possibilities of strengthening a program with a gift to the endowment while continuing their Annual Giving. I just wanted to give something to a School that has given so much to me,” he said.