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...