Beth Charlebois: Passionate Professor and Shakespearean

An Associate Professor of English Literature who has been with the St. Mary’s community for 12 years, Beth Charlebois is both heavily invested in her students and in the subject she teaches. Professor Charlebois grew up in Manchester, Connecticut, and attended Georgetown University where she earned both a B.A in Government International Relations and an M.A in English.

After this, Charlebois went on to graduate school at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Upon receiving her P.h.D in English Literature, with a specialization in English Renaissance Literature, Professor Charlebois began searching for a job.

Among 35 other offers, St. Mary’s stood out because it was a “small, liberal arts environment, (reasonably) close to D.C. in a beautiful area by the water.” This English professor says the best part of SMCM is the “openness, warmth, good humor, and curiosity of St. Mary’s students which makes my job a joy.” One of her favorite moments is when she walks into a classroom because it feels both like coming home and having a new adventure.

Beth Charlebois

“Introduction to Literature,” “Literary Topics in Shakespeare” and “Studies in Authors: Staging Shakespeare” are just some of the courses Professor Charlebois has taught at the College. When asked about the most memorable experience of her teaching career, she recalled how during one spring class that was held outside Montgomery Hall a “water balloon landed smack in the middle of the discussion” after being launched by a giant catapult on the other side of the building. The phrase ‘only at SMCM’ came to mind as only our unique mix of quirky and intelligent students could come up with a balloon catapult. “And you wonder why we don’t want to have class outside?” Charlebois added.

When Professor Charlebois is not teaching, she enjoys listening to all types of music. One of her favorite songs is Adele’s “Turning Tables,” which she says “is gritty, soulful and has a gorgeous piano part.” Though she cannot sing, Charlebois would love to sound like Adele if given the chance. In the past, Charlebois has given lectures and workshops for The Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and she is passionate about literature, film and anything Shakespeare.

During her last sabbatical, Professor Charlebois was involved in a non-profit organization called Prison Performing Arts that brings theater opportunities to the imprisoned. She was the scholar-in-residence for the PPA and brought A Midsummer’s Night Dream to a maximum-security women’s prison in Vandalia, Missouri.

When asked what character she would spend the day with if she could, Charlebois replied, “If I could spend a day with a literary character, I would have to pick Villanelle from Jeanette Winterson’s novel, The Passion. Who wouldn’t want to hang out with an early 19th c. Venetian cross-dresser who walks on water?” Between teaching her students about Renaissance literature, pursuing her passions in Shakespearean plays, and listening to Adele, Professor Beth Charlebois is a well-respected and admired part of the St. Mary’s community.

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