The OHIO MFA Playwriting Program
The graduate playwrights headlining at OHIO consistently sustain a high level of achievement. For instance, our record of success is readily apparent in the data of the Kendeda Award; based on the Kendeda’s statistics accumulated between the award’s inception in 2005, and throughout the award’s first decade ending in 2015, OHIO emerges as a top-three MFA program next to UT-Austin and Juilliard.
The Kendeda is the only national prize dedicated solely to playwrights engaged in graduate-level training and therefore makes for a simple, yet robust set of metrics. The Tony Award-winning Alliance Theatre, who originated the Kendeda Award and continue to administer it, identifies thirty-six “leading graduate playwriting programs” for inclusion in the competition each year. During the first decade of the Kendeda’s existence (2005—2015), twenty-one out of the thirty-six programs had students who either won or ranked as top-5 finalists. Of these 21 playwriting programs, only UT-Austin and Juilliard surpassed Ohio University’s record of achievement of one Kendeda winner, plus three top-five finalists. Yale, NYU-Tisch, and UCSD tied with OHIO’s record of achievement. Programs such as Iowa, Columbia, Boston University, The New School, Carnegie Mellon and the rest of the thirty-six ranked below OHIO’s record of success during the Kendeda’s first decade in existence.
Tony Award-winning theaters that have developed or are slated to produce former and current OHIO graduate writers include: Victory Gardens Theater, Steppenwolf, The Mark Taper Forum, The Goodman, Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Alliance Theater and New Dramatists. Other major theaters developing OHIO student-written plays recently include Ensemble Studio Theatre (NYC), 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 and The Playwright’s Center in Minneapolis, to name a few.
OHIO playwrights have been awarded many honors such as: the Kendeda Prize (2010), Kendeda Top Five (2007, 2009, 2014, 2018), the Wasserstein Prize (2008), The Mark Twain Prize for Comic Playwriting (2015), New Dramatists’ Joe Callaway Award, ScreenCraft Stage Play Competition (2018), 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 playwrights are available from Smith and Kraus, Dramatists Play Service, Heinemann, Northwestern University Press, Samuel French, and Playscripts, Inc.
Film & Television
In addition to plays, recent playwriting alums have also gone on to write for film and television, including such shows as: 24; Battlestar Galactica; Law and Order: Criminal Intent; Chuck and Smash on NBC; HBO’s In Treatment with Gabriel Byrne; Netflix’s Grace and Frankie with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin; Get Shorty on Epix; All Rise, The Red Line, Brain Dead and The Good Fight on CBS; Charmed, Titans and The Originals on CW; Don’t Look Deeper on SciFi and many more.
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