MAY 21, 2021
ABOUT THE FESTIVAL
The 1st Annual Steerman Festival is a showcase of new playwriting by Vassar students. Works include ten- minute plays and excerpts from longer plays. We will also hear from playwrights on what they’ve learned about the process of writing new work as well as their thoughts on new work that’s being professionally written and produced in the professional theatre today.
JAMES STEERMAN, EMERITUS OF DRAMA AND FILM
ABOUT: James B. Steerman joined the Vassar College drama faculty in the fall of 1967. He had completed an MFA in playwriting and dramatic literature at the Yale School of Drama in 1962 and was finishing coursework for a DFÅ at Yale in the same fields when he arrived at Vassar. At Vassar James initially taught dramatic literature and playwriting and later added classes in film. He also continued to write original stage plays and occasionally a screenplay. A stage play, NATIVE STONE, won a national playwriting competition, was produced by several regional repertory companies and was eventually published. A number of his other original plays, including OPHELIA and SUNSET ISLAND, were produced in New York City.
At Vassar James soon completed the DFA and eventually became professor of drama and also served as chair of the department. In the early 1990s, he helped create a Department of Film at the college and. served as chair of both drama and film. Also in the 1990s, James helped persuade the then President of Vassar, Frances Fergusson, that a new building was needed to serve the rapidly growing needs of both drama and film. Designed by Cesar Pelli, the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film became home to the drama and film departments in 2003.
During the first decade of the 21st century, James continued to write plays and offer courses in both drama and film. He served as chair of the two departments and oversaw their continuing development. He also helped create an annual playwriting competition for students. James retired from Vassar as Professor Emeritus of Drama and Film in early 2011.