Playwriting (MFA)

In the playwriting program, each playwright is encouraged to develop, stretch and experiment with his or her own individual voice. This is a place to hone one’s craft, to engage with emerging and established theatre artists, and to study the new, the ancient and the innovative in the unique alchemy of performance.
At the core of Rutgers’ Playwriting Program are the weekly Playwright Seminars. Playwrights Seminar is 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 of one or two plays each week. We’ll also meet from time to time with theatre professionals, in some cases those who are associated with the production that we’re attending.
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’ve met with numerous playwrights and staff of various theatres.
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’ve read or seen.
There will be one-on-one meetings as needed.
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.
Playwriting Program Curriculum and Electives