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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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WILLIAMS, Vince. (Illinois-- ) Williams taught speech and theater for twenty-nine years in the DUBUQUE COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT at STEPHEN HEMPSTEAD HIGH SCHOOL. In the process he mentored Susan RIEDEL who went on to a line of achievements in the arts. With her background establishing the BARN COMMUNITY THEATER, re-establishing the GRAND OPERA HOUSE, and serving as the artistic director and theater manager of the BELL TOWER THEATER, she found Williams to be a 'wonderful character actor whose Method training allowed him to present characters in many ways.' He was also, according to her, an 'excellent dialect coach and wonderful teacher.'

In 2020 Williams was honored by the Iowa Community Theatre Association as "Best Actor" among five nominees statewide. He played the role of Inspector Goole in "An Inspector Calls," a play produced by the Farley-based Road Less Traveled Community Theatre Company.

Williams studied acting at the University of Missouri. His instructor had been a student of famed directors of Method Acting at the Actors Studio in New York City. This association led Strasberg to visit the University of Iowa and offer an acting workshop which Williams attended. Upon graduation, Williams worked at the renowned Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis where he created and built props and set pieces. Through the theater's Brave New Workshop, Williams participated in sketch comedies, blackouts and improvisations. His artistic talents led to him accepting a position as a technical illustrator/medical artists for Honeywell Corporation. Upon returning to the University of Missouri, Williams earned a bachelor of science in education followed by a master of arts in speech and theater. After marrying, beginning a family and teaching in Georgia, Williams came to Dubuque.

In a career that has seen Williams as a director, teacher, and writer, he also achieved a speaking role in F.I.S.T.

His artistic talents as a member of the Iowa High School Speech Association All-State Festival Committee led Williams to create the banners awarded to students--a design still used in 2020. While teaching at Hempstead, he developed a playwriting contest to encourage young talent. He has often generated admiring comments for his sketches made over coffee at PANERA BREAD COMPANY.



Gloss, Megan, "Swan Song," Telegraph Herald, October 8, 2020, p. 1C