Professor Emeritus: Dramaturgy and Directing
B.A. Union College, M.A. Columbia University, Ph.D. New York University
Professor Emeritus Julian Olf was a founding board member of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, serving two terms as Vice President for Research and Publications. A member of LaMama Plexus, he directed The Tale of Yangban, the first Equity production of a Korean play in the United States. He was the founding producer and director of an Equity summer stock company in Toledo; Executive Producer of Theater in the Works, a professional theater for the development of new plays; and founding member of the board of trustees of the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter High School.
Olf received a Gold Award for Dramatic Adaptations at WorldFest International Film Festival-Houston for his screenplay, Anthony, based on Shakespeare's Hamlet.Anthony was later performed in a professional reading by The Drama Garage of Hollywood. A screen adaptation of Henry James's short story, The Liar, was a finalist in America's Best Screenplays and his short comedy, 1-900-SEX-DATE, was the first prize winner in Nantucket Short Play Competition. It was later produced by the West Coast Ensemble (L.A.), New Century Theater (Northampton) and Phare Play Productions (NYC). His short dramas, “I Luv Betsy and Joey and Mary Lou . . . “and Fun With Jay Leno: A Shameless Domestic Dramawere recently staged in NYC; Unaired Public Radio Segment, in Vancouver, BC; and SWF: A Love Story for the Stage, in Boston. (People Almost Always Smell Good in the Art Museum) premiered at UMass-Amherst and was published in the Fall ’08 issue of the Massachusetts Review. The piece was nominated for the 2008 Pushcart Prize, a national literary award. His play, Cat In A Box, premiered in the 2011 Boston Theatre Marathon and appears in the anthology, Boston Theater Marathon XIII (Smith & Kraus). His play, Judith, won a 2012 Julie Harris Playwright Award - sponsored by the Beverly Hills Theatre Guild.
His articles on performance theory and pedagogy have appeared in Educational Theatre Journal, Theatre Journal, Theatre Topics and Drama Review. He served as editor of Theatre Journal. At UMass Amherst, he directed The Ride Across Lake Constance, Amedee, The Maids, Iphigenia in Tauris, Mirandolina, Oh Dad, Poor Dad . . ., an original adaptation of Woyzeck, and The Chairs. He also staged and narrated Stravinsky's L'Histoire du Soldat with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra.
Olf acted in his single-character play, (People Almost Always Smell Good in the Art Museum) as part of a benefit for the Department of Theater in 2008.