Boston University Will Offer MFA in Playwriting


Boston Playwrights' Theatre and the School of Theatre at Boston University today announced a new Master of Fine Arts Degree in Playwriting. This collaboration-the only one of its kind in universities and colleges across the nation-combines resources from both these award-winning programs for the first time. 

This distinctive MFA collaboration combines the best traditions of the scholarly and professional practices of both programs.  Housed in the English Department of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, but in cooperation with the College of Fine Arts, the MFA program will incorporate its playwrights into a vibrant community of artists and ready them for lives in both the professional theatre and in academia.

Founded by Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott in 1981 and a nationally recognized playwriting program in its own right, BU's Boston Playwrights' Theatre will collaborate with the innovative "new conservatory" at the celebrated School of Theatre, focusing on cooperation, a rigorous curriculum, and the artistic growth of the "playwright as thinker and as collaborator."  This three-year MFA will offer a regimen of literature and dramaturgy classes but add to those the gifts of artistic partnerships with working actors, directors, designers and other theatre professionals plus fully rendered productions.

"I am excited to offer full productions to all of our writers for the first time," reports Kate Snodgrass, Artistic Director of Boston Playwrights' Theatre, "and the School of Theatre is the best in the nation in terms of collaboration and innovation. Not only will our writers learn about their work, they'll be prepared for future collaborations. It's a win-win proposition."  

Further, alumni will have the opportunity to network their plays with the members of the Boston University Professional Theatre Initiative.  Current members include the Boston Center for American Performance, Boston Playwrights' Theatre, Olney Theatre Center, the Potomac Theatre Project, Huntington Theatre Company, Actors' Shakespeare Project, Vineyard Playhouse, New Repertory Theatre, Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre, and many others.

"While we have enjoyed a strong relationship with Boston Playwrights' Theatre over the years, this new collaborative degree program actualizes our mission in a new and fundamental way," says Jim Petosa, Director of Boston University's School of Theatre. "Playwrights at the graduate level will now be integrated members of the artistic home that is the BU School of Theatre.  It will benefit them and us in our united mission of exploring new holistic approaches that nurture the generation of new plays born in collaboration with theater-makers of all kinds."

"The Department of English welcomes the MFA in Playwriting as part of a broad and ambitious effort to make BU a leader in the study of dramaturgy and of drama across all periods of literary history," says Gene Jarrett, Professor and Chair of the Department of English. 

For more information about this new collaborative MFA program, visit or or

About Boston Playwrights' Theatre at Boston University-Founded in 1981 at Boston University by Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott, Boston Playwrights' Theatre is an award-winning professional theatre dedicated to new works. At the core of our five programs is the Playwriting MFA offered as part of Boston University's Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. Our award-winning alumni have been produced in Regional and New York houses as well as in London's West End, and our alumni productions have garnered regional and Boston awards, including regular Elliot Norton Awards and IRNE Awards for  "Best New Script".

Notable alumni include Lydia Diamond, Zayd Dohrn, John Kuntz, Russell Lees, Melinda Lopez, Molly Smith Metzler, Ronan Noone, Wesley Savick, Kate Snodgrass, Joyce Van Dyke, and Karen Zacarias, among many others.

About Boston University School of Theatre-The School of Theatre in the College of Fine Arts at Boston University was established in 1954 as one of the country's leading institutions for the study of acting, stage management, design and production, and all aspects of the theatrical profession.

Since 1982, the School of Theatre has enjoyed an educational and artistic collaboration with the Huntington Theatre Company, the professional theatre-in-residence at Boston University. Other professional theatre affiliations include Boston Playwrights' Theatre, Actors Shakespeare Project, The Guthrie Theater, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Olney Theatre Center, New Repertory Theatre, and Woolly Mammoth Theatre.

Notable School of Theatre alumni include Nina Tassler (president of CBS Entertainment); Broadway producer Stewart F. Lane; Andrew Lack (chairman of Sony BMG); playwright and screenwriter Craig Lucas; designers Chris Akerlind, Jess Goldstein, and Doug Schmidt; casting director Ronna Kress; actors Jason Alexander, Brad Oscar, Michael Chiklis, Geena Davis, Faye Dunaway, Olympia Dukakis, Julianne Moore, and Alfre Woodard; and rising stars Ginnifer Goodwin and Emily Deschanel.

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