Martha Wade Steketee. First name from great grandmother, middle name from mother, surname from father. Pronounced STEK [rhymes with heck] – EH – TEE. So, it should not be a surprise that I have a lifelong empathy for those continually asked to spell and to pronounce their names. My sense of the thing is reflected in the name of a now-defunct Facebook group — “Steketee. If you can spell it you must be one of us.”
I am a Michigan girl who loved movies and theater, studied literature at Harvard and social science and social welfare at Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Michigan, and spent 20 years as a court researcher and domestic policy analyst in university research offices and nonprofit research settings in several cities.
I returned to theater as a dramaturg and critic in my 40s — script reading for Washington DC, Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York City theaters and festivals; dramaturging productions and readings in Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York; and writing and mentoring young critics in Chicago and New York City. I was a 2014 O’Neill National Critics Institute Fellow, was a member of Chicago’s Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee (2008-2009), and have been a member since 2012 of New York’s Drama Desk, purveyor of the Drama Desk Awards. My fascination with theater design honed during years of writing and editing Chance Magazine continues with membership on the Henry Hewes Design Award committee and the committee developing the Glenn M. Loney ATCA Production Design Award for Regional Theater.
Past and current organizational memberships and board obligations inspire and distract me. For the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, I have been a regional representative for NYC, member of the Executive Committee, chair of the Advocacy Committee, and regional representative and steering committee member for the American Theatre Archive Project. Current and recent roles with the American Theatre Critics Association include: Executive Committee chair and vice chair, co-chair of the Equity, Diversity & Inclusion committee, member of the New Play committee that awards the Steinberg-ATCA and Osborn playwriting prizes, and member of the new Helbing fellowship project focused on mentoring college-aged LGBTQIA+ theater critics.
I write for HowlRound, Dramatics, and other places that will have me. I provide dramaturgical services to playwrights and authors, and have newly entered the field of dramaturgy and research for film and television. It’s all about curiosity and tenacious research.
Email at msteketee [at] post [dot] harvard [dot] edu — no pronunciation required.