FACULTY & STAFF
Anne Hesseltine Hoyt Professor of Theatre
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Len Berkman is the Anne Hesseltine Hoyt Professor of Theatre at Smith College, where, having taught playwriting, theatre history, and the dramatic literature of various nations and cultures since 1969, he has received Distinguished Teacher (1992), Sherrerd Prize (2011) and Charis Medal Awards, and where his former students number such diverse professionals as Wendy Wasserstein, Kevin Heelan, Liev Schreiber, Patricia Wettig, Shelley Berc, Addie Walsh, Dare Clubb and Erin Cressida Wilson. Among Berkman's plays are: We Three (a fantasy stirred by the self-portraits of German Romantic painter Philipp Otto Runge), Excuse Me For Even Daring To Open My Mouth, 'Til The Beatles Reunite, Adultery Without Touch, Voila! Rape In Technicolor, Missing Children, I Won't Go See A Play Called "A Parent's Worst Nightmare," Quits, Quote Unquote, and These Are Not My Breasts. His essays appear in such journals as Modern Drama, Massachusetts Review and Parnassus; and in such books as Blackwell's Companion to Contemporary Theatre, American Jewish Women Writers and Upstaging Big Daddy.
Holding Yale Drama School master's of fine arts and doctor of fine arts degrees, Len has served as Hispanic Playwrights Project/Festival Dramaturg at South Coast Repertory as Mark Taper Forum's Playwright Mentor in Los Angeles, as new-play-development dramaturg at WordBRIDGE in Florida, at Epic Theatre Ensemble in NYC, and on script development teams at Robert Redford's Sundance Institute in Utah. For over 25 years, Len has run ragged but cheerful as dramaturg for New York Stage & Film Company's new play readings/workshops and summer productions. By latest count, he has been involved with over 550 professional plays and productions-in-development. Len has also been frequently called upon as external evaluator for the National Endowment of the Arts and for university departments of theatre and dance. An active professional consultant, he was on Voice & Vision's Women's Theatre Circle of Advisers (NYC) throughout its lifetime, served on Roberta Uno's New World Theatre (Amherst, MA) advisory board for all of its 30 production and project seasons, and was script evaluator for CLIO inc., Lola van Wagenen's New York City-based organization producing video documentaries on women's history and women's issues. Len is Editorial Associate for the Contemporary Theatre Review, a journal he has worked with since its founding in London, England, over a decade ago.
The courses Len teaches at Smith are: Modern European Drama (1870-1930, first semester; 1930-present, second semester); Playwriting (every semester); Contemporary Canadian Drama; Latino/a Drama of the Americas, and Special Studies on British Socialist/Feminist playwrights, post-Brecht Germanic playwrights, Marguerite Duras, Joanna Murray-Smith, Wole Soyinka, S.I.Witkiewicz, Fernando Arrabal, and other dramatists from cultures in turmoil. He devotes periodic seminars to the work of Judith Thompson and Caryl Churchill. He also teaches at the University of Hamburg, Germany, both on Smith/U. Hamburg faculty exchange and as a Fulbright "Senior Specialist" Professor.