Ohio University

M.F.A. Playwriting

Masters of Fine Arts

The goal of the Professional Playwriting Program is to cultivate the individual artistic voice and vision of developing playwrights who, by developing new plays that actively engage in the contemporary social, scientific, political, and aesthetic debates of the nation, will become leaders in American Theatre and active contributors to American culture.

Four Major Components

Playwrights Seminar

Playwrights Seminar is a part of the theory-based portion of the program. In the first year, these classes explore theories of dramatic structure and serve as a laboratory for the beginning of new work. In the second and third year, Playwrights Seminar focuses upon the application of dramatic structure, its relationship to the craft of playwriting, and how the playwright’s voice and process are key to best practices in developing a career as a playwright.

Playwrights Workshop

Playwrights Workshop is the laboratory for the development of full-length play focusing upon the practical application of playwriting theory introduced in Playwrights Seminar. Workshop consists of a weekly reading of a play by a different writer of the workshop. After each reading, the workshop writers meet in a private session to discuss the play.

Playwrights Production

Playwrights Production consists of weekly, informal production of new work. At the beginning of each week a different writer of the program selects a theme, style, or concept. Each writer must then write a three to five-minute piece based upon that theme, style or concept. Each piece is written, cast, and rehearsed throughout the week in preparation for the Friday night, script-in-hand production (fondly known as Madness) presented before an invited audience.

Annual Playwrights’ Festival

The annual Playwrights’ Festival represents a culmination of the work of first, second, and third-year writers in the program. First-year writers present their first-year plays in the form of rehearsed sit-down readings. The second-year plays are presented in the form of staged, script-in-hand reading, and third-year plays receive full studio productions. Playwrights receive audience feedback in addition to individual professional response and mentoring from theater professionals from around the country who are invited to the festival to respond to the work of OU playwrights.

OHIO Playwrights Work!

Tony Award-winning theaters that have developed OHIO playwrights include: Long Wharf, Victory Gardens Theater, Steppenwolf, The Mark Taper Forum, The Goodman, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and Alliance Theater and New Dramatists.

Other major theaters that have developed OHIO playwrights’ work include Ensemble Studio Theatre, Magic Theatre, The New Group, Pan Asian Rep, Foundry Theatre Works, Theatre J, Collaboraction, Perishable Theatre, Edge Theatre, Prop Theatre, MPAACT, Chicago Dramatists, Contemporary American Theater Festival, the O'Neill Center, Sundance, WordBRIDGE and The Playwright's Center in Minneapolis, to name a few.

Works published by current and recent MFA playwriting students are available from Smith and Kraus, Dramatists Play Service, Heinemann, Northwestern University Press, Samuel French, and Playscripts, Inc.

Alums in the last five years have also gone on to write for film and television, including such shows as the Emmy Award-winning 24, Battlestar Galactica, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, NBC's Chuck, HBO’s In Treatment with Gabriel Byrne, Smash and Revolution.

OHIO playwriting awards: the Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Competition the Wasserstein Prize, New Dramatists’ Joe Callaway Award, The Gilman/New Dramatists Playwriting Fellowship, Whitfield Cook Award, Jane Chambers Playwriting Award, New York Innovative Theatre Awards, Kennedy Center‘s Fund for New American Plays’ Roger Stevens Award, Drama-Logue Awards, commissions from the Jerome Foundation and Théâtre du Soleil Levant in Switzerland, a Hugo Award nomination and numerous Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Awards.

Please email us at ohioplaywriting@gmail.com to receive a brochure that includes application instructions and FAQ. The application deadline is February 15. We typically review submitted application materials upon receipt throughout the fall and winter and begin making our final determinations in March.

Application Requirements

To see the latest Ohio University MFA Playwriting news, visit ohioplaywriting.org.