Associate Professor of Theatre and Department Chair
Stepan Simek has been a faculty member at Lewis and Clark College since 2001. Previously, he taught at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA and at Reed College in Portland, OR. Originally from Prague, Czech Republic, Prof. Simek has trained as an actor in the Czech Republic and spent five years in Switzerland working as a director and assistant director at various theatres there, including the “Zurich Schauspielhaus.”
In the United States since 1987, Prof. Simek received his MFA in Directing at the University of Washington in 1995. He has directed more than 40 productions both professionally and in college settings in both the United States (Seattle, San Francisco, New York, and Portland) and in Europe, translated number of contemporary plays from Czech, German, and French into English, and adapted several novels for the theatre including Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray, Franz Kafka’s early Amerika, and others. His work as a director was honored by the 1996 Drama League of New York with the “Drama League Directing Fellowship,” and his translations of two contemporary Czech plays earned him the 2006 “PEN America Translation Award.” As one of the authorized translators of the body of work of the former Czech President and playwright Vaclav Havel, Prof. Simek continues working on creating new American translations of Havel’s plays, as well as those of the other leading contemporary Czech playwrights.
In addition to teaching, directing in professional and college settings, translating, and adapting, Professor Simek has published numerous articles on the contemporary Czech theatre in the journal of international performance, “TheatreForum,” and the journal of “Slavic and East European Performance”. His translations appeared in several international anthologies.
At Lewis & Clark College, Professor Simek teaches a wide range of courses ranging from the history and literature of the theatre, to advanced acting and directing. He also directs main stage productions at the college, and he continues working professionally in the Portland theatre scene.
He lives with his wife Esther and their two teenage sons in a grand old house in one of Portland’s most beautiful, tree-lined neighborhoods, bikes to work daily, plays tennis, and is an avid skier.
BA in Theatre, San Francisco State University 1991
MFA in Directing, University of Washington 1995
Areas of Specialization: Acting and Directing, Theatre History, Contemporary Czech and Eastern European Theatre, Translation