Princeton senior Jake Robertson has been awarded a St. Andrew's Society Scholarship for postgraduate study at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He will pursue a master's in classical and contemporary text (acting).
The scholarship, given by the St. Andrew's Society of the State of New York, provides $30,000 each for two Scottish graduate students to study in the United States and two American students of Scottish heritage to study in Scotland. The scholarship stipulates that American applicants have some Scottish background and intend to attend a Scottish university.
In his application, Robertson, who is from Lombard, Illinois, wrote: "My grandfather and I, both fascinated by our Scottish lineage, spent hours together researching our family history, and Scotland has become an indelible part of my identity. The program at RCS is as an opportunity to combine this ancestral connection with the pursuit of my theatrical ambitions."
Robertson is a Slavic languages and literatures major who is pursuing certificates in theater and Russian, East European and Eurasian studies. In February, he was awarded, along with senior Yessica Martinez, the Pyne Honor Prize, which is given to the senior who has most clearly manifested excellent scholarship, strength of character and effective leadership. Robertson's academic honors also include Phi Beta Kappa, the Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence in 2012 and 2013, the Nicholas Bachko Jr. Scholarship Prize in Slavic Languages and Literatures, and the Lewis Center for the Arts' Award in Theater in 2013 and 2014.
Robertson, who plans an acting career, wrote in his application: "My dream has always been to become an actor. On the stage, I have reinvented myself in numerous roles, including the bombastic Captain Hook, the quipster Groucho Marx, the lamentable King Lear and the crafty producer Max Bialystock. As a Slavic major, I have pursued the almost completely unexplored theme of Theater in the Soviet Gulag, a phenomenon which has reinforced my belief in the power of art to reinvigorate the human spirit."
During his time at Princeton, Robertson, who is affiliated with Rockefeller College, has immersed himself in the University's theater community, both academically — in courses and productions at the Lewis Center for the Arts — and outside the classroom as a member of Triangle Club, Theatre Intime, the Princeton Shakespeare Company and the improv troupe Quipfire! He also is co-host of the student late-night talk show, "All-Nighter."
His senior thesis is a study of the officially commissioned theaters of the forced-labor camps of the Soviet Union. With a fellowship from the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, he conducted thesis research in Russia in summer 2014. For his theater certificate thesis, Robertson created an original adaptation of the classic Gogol short story "Diary of a Madman" and performed the one-man show "Madman/Robertson" in December 2014 in Whitman College Theater.