(Note: If you are interested in applying to the MFA Playwriting Program at Ohio University, please visit the apply page; applications are being accepted now through February 15.)
There are four major components to the Playwriting MFA at Ohio University:
1. 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 MFA Actors Training Program and the BFA Performance Program at the School of Theater. 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 MFA Playwriting Program take Playwrights Workshop every semester while in residence at Ohio University, except for the fall quarter of their first year.
2. 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 on the application of dramatic structure, its 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.
3. 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 MFA Playwriting Program take Playwrights Production — also known as “Madness” — every semester while in residence at Ohio University.
4. 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.
Please click here for a more in-depth look at the academic requirements and a sample schedule for the MFA Playwriting Program at Ohio University.