Playwriting (MFA)

Announcement: application deadline March 1st

We are delighted to invite playwrights to apply to an exciting, rigorous program that challenges, engages, and celebrates the playwright. Check out our past productions and our playwrights in residence, review our program requirements and our application checklist, and apply here. Scholarship funds are available.

In the playwriting program, each playwright is encouraged to develop, stretch, and experiment with their individual voice. This is a place to hone one’s craft, to engage with emerging and established theater artists, and to study the new, the ancient, and the innovative in the unique alchemy of performance.

At the core of Rutgers’ playwriting program (2.5 years) are the weekly Playwright Seminars, an ongoing class for the duration of the degree in which playwrights deepen their art and hone their craft. Each semester, you will work on a play and play fragments toward developing a portfolio of work. Toward a rich experience of plays and play-making, we’ll read and attend productions at various theaters, mainly in New York City, as well as with theater professionals.

Recent visits have been to Playwrights Horizons, Rattlestick, BAM, the Public Theater, Broadway, Soho Rep, New York Theatre Workshop, the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, Ensemble Studio Theatre, and MaYi Theatre Company. We have met with numerous playwrights and theater staff.

Emphasis will be on developing each playwright’s unique voice and inclinations. There will be occasional in-class writing and writing assignments, toward exploring new approaches, jump-starting a play, and enriching or unlocking a current play-in-process. Each week you’ll write a brief response to a play you have read or seen.

In the first year, the playwrights will have a staged reading of a new work, directed by an outside professional director. In the second year and the last semester, playwrights will have productions of their plays, collaborating with student designers, actors, stage management, and professional directors.

There will be guest playwrights each year who will conduct the Playwrights Seminar or give separate workshops.

Screenwriting and Television Writing are offered each year, as is Writers’ Workshop where playwrights explore their works-in-progress with actors and a director.

In the meantime, get to know Kathleen Tolan, Head of MFA Playwriting, in this short clip from our "meet the faculty" video series, A Minute with...

MFA Student Updates – Fall 2015

Will Goldberg

Goldberg (Graduating Playwright, Family Style) was nominated for the 2013 Laurents/Hatcher Award (Home Before Dark) and a finalist for the 2014 National Playwrights’ Conference (Songs We Sang to the Occupation). His webseries "Subtraction" is in development with 16A Productions.

In October 2014, Will Goldberg had two readings at the Chicago-based Ruckus Theater: a staged reading of Macduff (produced December 2014 at Mason Gross), and a company reading of Songs We Sang to the Occupation (a National Playwrights Conference finalist).  The Ruckus produced his play Home Before Dark fall 2015; the Chicago Arts Journal has called the company "one of the most interesting non-Equity troupes in the city."  His webseries Subtraction is currently in development with producers Mike Donovan and Justin Hofstad, and will be directed by Pico Alexander.  Home Before Dark received a reading at Ensemble Studio Theater in February 2015.

Bryna Turner

Turner’s play How to Separate Your Soul from Your Body (in ten easy steps!) has received readings at Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Rainbow Theatre Project, and Rutgers’ Playwrights Festival. Her Vanya-inspired play The Stand-In was produced as part of the same festival last year. Turner (Graduating Playwright, Lights Over Philo) is also a member of Clubbed Thumb’s Early Career Writers’ Group.



Mary Clohan

Clohan (Playwright - MFA I) is from Greenville, South Carolina. She received her BA in Theater and Arts Management from The University of Richmond in Richmond, Virginia. Professional credits: A Grimm Tale, WEGA Arts One-Act Play Festival; A Cut Above, Atlantic Stage New Voices Play Festival.

Jake Mariani

Mariani was born in Philadelphia, PA, and graduated with a BFA from Temple University. He has studied poetry under Kathleen Ossip at the New School University in New York City, and has been published in the poetry journal Sink Review, run by poet Daniel Magers. His formative years were spent picking moss from trees in Appalachia.