Rives Collins

Rives Collins is a Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence at Northwestern University, where he has taught in the Department of Theatre for the past thirty years.  A specialist in the areas of Storytelling, Theatre for Young Audiences, and Drama in Education, he is the recipient of the Clarence Simon Award for Outstanding Teaching and Mentoring and the Galbut Outstanding Faculty Award. In 2016, he was invited by the New Visions/New Voices program of the Kennedy Center to direct a staged reading of Ever in the Glades by playwright Laura Schellhardt; a production that will return to the Kennedy Center in the spring of 2018. Also, that year, he delivered the keynote address at the National Storytelling Conference, celebrating the role of storytelling in the 21st century.  He is looking forward to reprising the presentation at The Cradle of Creativity conference in Cape Town, South Africa in May of 2017.  At the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, he teaches business narrative in the Advanced Management Program, asserting that storytelling is a differentiating skill in the 21st century that strengthens leaders, brands, and organizations. In addition, he is an Associate Artist at Adventure Stage Chicago, a company committed to disrupting generational cycles of poverty, where he has recently directed two world-premiere plays. A lover of stories since he could talk, he is featured regularly as a professional storyteller and keynote speaker at festivals, conferences, schools, libraries, businesses, and museums, proclaiming that, “Storytelling is at the heart of everything I do.”  He is the co-author with Pamela Cooper of The Power of Story: Teaching Through Storytelling.  As an active member and past president of the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, and as a current board member of the Children’s Theatre Foundation of America, he works with an international community of artists, educators, and scholars to champion the cause of drama and theatre in the lives of young people.  In the summer of 2017, he will be honored by the National Storytelling Network with an Oracle Award for Distinguished National Service.


Phi Beta Kappa Graduate of Colorado College

MFA in Child Drama from Arizona State University


Collins, River and Pamela Cooper (1996). The Power of Story: Teaching Through Storytelling, Allyn & Bacon; 2nd edition.

Awards and Honors

Currently a Fellow in the Searle Center for Teaching Excellence, he was the recipient of the Charles Deering McCormick Professorship for Excellence in Teaching.  In 2007, he was honored with the Creative Drama Award from the American Alliance for Theatre and Education.  His audio recordings have received the Parent's Choice Award, the iParenting Media Award, and the Spoken Word Award from the NAPPA.

1998, Charles Deering McCormick University Distinguished Professor
1992, National Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award


  • Theatre for Young Audiences
  • Creative Drama
  • Storytelling

Rives Collins





70 Arts Circle Drive
Room 5-171
Evanston, IL 60208