John (Ray) Proctors holds a BA in English from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri, and an MFA in Acting from West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia. His PhD in Theatre Research (with a primary focus on Shakespeare Studies) is from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His dissertation considered the ways in which mid-twentieth century theatre audiences learned to negotiate issues of class, race, integration within the framework of a particular 1942 production of Othello that featured Paul Robeson. As an actor, Ray has appeared in the Chicago/Milwaukee region, he as appeared as Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, Peter in Lorraine Hansberry's Les Blancs, Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, as well as productions of Ain't Misbehavin and Between Men and Cattle. He has performed the title role in Othello in New York, West Virginia, St Louis, Tuscon, and Chicago. Ray co-authored (with Ms. Olivia Dawson) Out Loud, which opened at eta Creative Arts Foundation on Chicago's south side. The play ran for nine weeks and received seven 2014 Black Theatre Alliance nominations for Best Play, Best New Script, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Ensemble.