Jim Patrick


A summer job at the Yacht Club led Jim Patrick to Nantucket. He soon made it home - teaching tennis in summer, painting houses in spring and fall, and writing in winter - articles, short stories, a column, letters-to-the-editor. He got involved with the Theatre Workshop and began to write plays. Two early works, The Playground and Things No One Notices, were produced at Karamu House in Cleveland, Ohio, the nation’s oldest black community theatre, as part of their annual festival exploring race relations. His work has also been seen in New York, Florida, and Scotland.

Jim co-founded the Nantucket Short Play Competition and Festival in 1992, which has brought over 300 plays and a number of world premieres to the island. Moving to Florida in 2004, he taught high school drama and led two original student-faculty written musicals, Perfect Children and Everychild to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. His current project, Meetin’ Here Tonight, features Lanna Coffin, a descendent of Ohio Quakers whose heritage calls her to Mississippi during the Freedom Summer of 1964. Jim’s Nantucket life directly informs the Quaker influence central to the play.

Jim received a B.A. in English from Yale. Shortly after graduation he co-authored Ziegfeld, Goldwyn, Mayer … and I, the unpublished memoirs of John Harkrider, Broadway legend Flo Ziegfeld’s brash young costume designer. Jim’s other books include Nantucket Love Stories (1991) - true historical tales (and the island’s best seller that year); and The Nantucket Short Play Anthologies, Volume 1: Stars, featuring festival winners from the first 25 years. Hopes for future volumes include Cupid’s Nightmare - (our favorite bad date plays); Director’s Picks (our favorite non-winners); and a yet unnamed 35th anniversary anthology.

Jim regards Scallop Season: A Nantucket Chronicle, his collaboration with photographer Rob Benchley, as his most important work, and his tether to Nantucket: 117,000 bushels of northern bay scallops (Argopecten Irradians Irradians) were landed in Nantucket waters during the 1980-81 season. 6,800 were landed in 1998-99. Knowing that the following season could spell the end of Nantucket’s fishery, Jim and Rob teamed up to document it.

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