Jim Dunn - Drama Professor Emeritus and theatrical director James Dunn led the College of Marin Drama Department from its inception in 1964 until 1994, and also led the Mountain Play to success over nearly 30 years. No other entertainment presenter in Marin has served more live-stage audience members than James Dunn.
Over his College of Marin career, Jim drew out creative abilities in generations of students. Among them, some joined prestigious theater programs, and some, such as Robin Williams, David Dukes, Kathleen Quinlan, Joel Blum, David Ogden Stiers, and Leslie Hendrix, have built notable careers.
Every performing arts group in Marin owes James Dunn a debt of gratitude for drawing audiences out to local entertainment and for introducing new generations of audiences to live productions. Singers like us also appreciate his Mountain Play revivals of classic musical shows with their beautifully crafted music.
Although long past retirement age, Jim remains active in theater.
This year, Jim opened the College of Marin Drama Department’s 50th Anniversary season directing Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew.” Jim’s creative production, set in the Wild West, reprised the one that earned the “Best of the Fringe” award at the Edinburgh, Scotland, Festival in 1971. For opening night this February, members of the 1971 cast were honored guests who joined their contemporary actors on stage for a round of applause.
Even after ceding the director role for this year’s Mountain Play, Jim could not stay off the mountain. He played the meaty role of base commander Capt. Brackett in “South Pacific.”
His many honors include six Bay Area Critics Circle Awards for Directing, plus a Life Achievement Directing Award from that body; the Los Angeles Dramalogue Award for Directing, The San Francisco Dramalogue Award for Directing and a City of Mill Valley Arts Commission (2002) Milley Award. He was nominated for the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges Hayward Award for Excellence in Teaching, and an award for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts in Marin County from the Marin County Cultural Society. In 2013, honoring Jim’s 80th birthday, College of Marin named its refurbished Fine Arts Theater the James Dunn Theatre.
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