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Mathews County resident helps earn state designation for Virginia Shakespeare Festival

The Virginia Shakespeare Festival at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg is now the official Shakespeare festival of Virginia, thanks to the efforts of Mathews County resident Rob Ruffin.

Ruffin, visiting professor of theater at W&M and artistic director of this year’s Shakespeare Festival, approached State Sen. Tommy Norment (R-James City County) earlier this year about having the General Assembly designate the Virginia Shakespeare Festival as the state’s official festival, and Norment "immediately saw the value of it," said Ruffin. The senator authored the bill and carried it through the Senate with unanimous approval.

But the bill wasn’t as widely accepted in the House of Delegates, where delegates from Richmond, Staunton, and Northern Virginia objected on the grounds that they, too, had Shakespeare festivals that deserved recognition.

Ruffin said he and his wife, actress Mary Wadkins, were celebrating Valentine’s Day when they got a c...

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