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Ohio University > Fine Arts > Theater > Academics > Graduate Programs > Graduate MFA Playwriting

Graduate MFA Playwriting

Application Deadline for the MFA Playwriting Program is February 15. To see the latest Ohio University MFA Playwriting news, visit ohioplaywriting.org.

Ohio University MFA playwrights consistently sustain a high level of achievement. Tony Award-winning theatres that have developed or are slated to produce former and current OU playwriting students 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 theatres recently developing current OU playwrights and recent alumni 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.


OU playwrights have been awarded many honors such as: the Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Competition (Winner, 2010; finalists in 2007, 2009), the Wasserstein Prize (2008), 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.

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, the Emmy Award-nominated Battlestar Galactica, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, NBC's Chuck, HBO’s In Treatment with Gabriel Byrne, Smash and Revolution.

In addition, since 2005 enrolled Ohio University MFA playwrights have earned more than $105,000 in commissions, grants and fellowships to research and write their new plays.

 

The Professional Playwriting Program follows these four major components:
 

Playwrights Workshop

Playwrights Workshop is the laboratory for the development of full-length plays. Much of the work in Playwrights Workshop focuses 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. These rehearsed readings are open to the public and usually draw upon actors from the Professional Actors Training Program and the BFA Performance Program at the Theater Division.

After each reading, the workshop writers meet in a private session to discuss the play. Approximately half of the discussion during this session is in the form of notes and feedback to the writer whose play was read. The other half focuses upon playwriting theories and concepts generated by the reading. Students in the Professional Playwriting Program take Playwrights Workshop every semester while in residence at Ohio University, except for the fall quarter of their first year.
 

Playwrights Seminar

Playwrights Seminar is a part of the theory-based portion of the program. In the first year, these classes explore basic theories of dramatic structure and serve as a laboratory for the beginning of new work that will eventually move into the Playwrights Workshop. In the second and third year, Playwrights Seminar focuses upon the application of dramatic structure, it's relationship to the craft of playwriting, as well as different playwriting structures within the genre such as theatrical adaptation of non-dramatic material, the one-person play, or non-linear story-telling.

Students in the Professional Playwriting Program must take Playwrights Seminar each semester of their first year. During their second and third year, they must take seminar three out of four semesters.
 

Playwrights Production

Playwrights Production is part of the practical-based portion of the program consisting of a weekly, informal production of new work. It begins early in the week with a different writer of the program selecting a theme, style, or concept for the upcoming production. 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 presented before an invited audience. Students in the Professional Playwriting Program take Playwrights Production every semester while in residence at Ohio University.
 

Annual Playwrights Festival

The Annual Ohio University Playwrights Festival represents the culmination of the work of the writers in the program. Theater professionals from around the country are invited to the University to respond to the work of OU playwrights. During the festival, first year students present their work in the form of rehearsed sit-down readings. The work of second and third year students is presented in the form of rehearsed reading, script-in-hand workshop productions, or full Studio productions. During the festival, playwrights receive audience feedback in addition to individual professional response and individual mentoring.
 

For even more information follow this link to Ohio Playwriting.

 

SAMPLE PROGRAM

MFA in PLAYWRITING

 
 

90 CREDIT HOURS MINIMUM *

 

YEAR ONE

       

FALL

 

 

SPRING

 

THAR 5010 - Intro to Graduate study

3 credits

 

THAR 5511 - Seminar in Rewriting Techniques
and the Ensemble Part I

3 credits

THAR 5510 - Dramatic Writing Seminar I

3 credits

 

THAR 5521 - Writing for Production II

3 credits

THAR 5520 - Writing for Production I

3 credits

 

THAR 5531 - First Year Playwrights
Workshop II

3 credits

THAR 5530 - First Year Playwrights
Workshop

3 credits

 

Theater Studies Elective

3 credits

Elective

3 credits

 

Elective

3 credits

Elective

3 credits

 

Elective

3 credits

 

18 credits

 

 

18 credits

         
         

YEAR TWO

       

FALL

 

 

SPRING

 

THAR 6510 - Seminar in Contemporary
Playwrights

3 credits

 

THAR 6511 - Seminar in Rewriting Techniques
and the Ensemble Part II

3 credits

THAR 6520 - Writing for Production III

3 credits

 

THAR 6521 - Writing for Production IV

3 credits

THAR 6530 - Second Year Playwrights Workshop

3 credits

 

THAR 6531 - Second Year Playwrights
Workshop

3 credits

Theater Studies Elective

3 credits

 

Theater Studies elective

3 credits

Elective

3 credits

 

THAR 6940 - Thesis: Research

3 credits

Elective

3 credits

 

Elective

3 credits

 

18 credits

 

 

18 credits

         
         

YEAR THREE

       

FALL

 

 

SPRING

 

THAR 6940 - Thesis: Research

6 credits

 

THAR 7511 - Seminar in Rewriting Techniques
and the Ensemble Part III

3 credits

THAR 7905 - Internship in Playwriting

12 credits

 

THAR 7521 - Writing for Production VI

3 credits

 

   

THAR 7531 - Third Year Playwrights
Workshop

3 credits

 

   

THAR 6960 - Theater Project/Portfolio Thesis

9 credits

 

18 credits

 

 

18 credits

         

*The degree minimum is 90 credits, however, a full load for funding purposes is considered to be 108 credits

 

Seabury Quinn Jr., Playwright's Festival

Charles Smith

Distinguished Professor of Theater/Playwriting
smithc4@ohio.edu
(740) 593-4261