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Playwriting

  • Join us at 12 PM ET (11 AM CT/10 AM MT/9 AM PT) to learn more about the Naslund-Mann School of Writi...

    July 16 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

    MFA Virtual Open House

Working theatre professionals may seek the MFA degree as the proper credential for teaching at the university level. MFA playwriting students who have already had a full-length production of their work may apply for an accelerated course of study. Promising new playwrights are equally welcome in Spalding’s graduate writing programs. And all MFA playwriting students develop their thesis play in collaboration with a regional theatre company.

Our accomplished playwriting faculty use their work to address topics from the serious to the lighthearted, the personal to the political. Gabriel Jason Dean’s family drama Terminus and Charlie Schulman’s musical Goldstein both appeared Off Broadway in 2018. Kira Obolensky is doing groundbreaking work for marginalized audiences in settings such as women’s shelters and correctional facilities. Every member of our faculty is a dedicated, caring teacher. Visit our faculty page to read more.

In our playwriting program, you will work with a faculty that includes prize-winning professional working artists with expertise in areas including musical theatre, experimental theatre, adaptation, site-specific plays, theatre for young and family audiences, theatre for puppets, and the production of one’s own work. In your second semester, you will arrange an at-home reading circle of one of your plays. And in your final semester, you will develop your thesis play in collaboration with a regional theatre company, in consultation with your mentor. You will also gain valuable exposure to visiting theatre and film professionals connected with Actors Theatre of Louisville, Stage One, The Kentucky Film Lab and an ever-widening network of writers, artists, filmmakers and producers from Los Angeles, New York and elsewhere in the U.S. and abroad.

This combination of wide-ranging faculty expertise and hands-on student work helps our students and alums launch their careers as practicing, producing playwrights. Our alumni have won the Edgerton New American Play Award, the City of Atlanta Emerging Theatre Artist of the Year and countless festival wins. Their plays have been produced at regional theatres nationally and internationally. Our alums hold fellowships with eminent regional theatres and have founded their own theatre companies. They teach playwriting in colleges and universities.

Past visiting playwrights, theatre professionals, and TV writers include

  • Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Martyna Majok (Cost of Living)
  • Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright Doug Wright (I Am My Own Wife)
  • Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright John Patrick Shanley (Doubt)
  • WGA Award nominee Sheila Callaghan (Dead City, Casual, Shameless)
  • Actors Theatre of Louisville (ATL) artistic director Les Waters
  • ATL associate artistic director Meredith McDonough
  • ATL artistic producer Emily Tarquin
  • ATL resident dramaturg Hannah Rae Montgomery
  • ATL Professional Training Company director Christine Albright-Tufts
  • Heather Raffo (9 Parts of Desire)
  • Rebecca Gilman (The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter)
  • Lyricist-composer Michael Roberts (Goldstein)
  • Keith Reddin (Rum and Coke)
  • Pulitzer Prize-winning and Tony Award-winning playwright Marsha Norman (’night, Mother)
  • Join us at 12 PM ET (11 AM CT/10 AM MT/9 AM PT) to learn more about the Naslund-Mann School of Writi...

    July 16 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

    MFA Virtual Open House