Two candidates are admitted each year from an intensely competitive group of applicants.
Courses can be selected from the wide array of topics offered within the Department of Theatre and Dance including directing, dramaturgy, design, critical theory, history, performance ethnography and movement. Electives outside the department, either in conjunction with the Michener Center for Writers, or in areas such as film, television and literature are recommended.
Playwrights will focus on the generation and revision of new work. Numerous opportunities to share this work will be provided in the classroom, in public readings, through dramaturgical experiments in developmental workshops and multidisciplinary collaboration. Courses include Playwriting Workshops, Narrative Strategies: Time and Adaptation, and Devising.
Playwrights continue to generate and revise new work with an additional emphasis placed on professional development. To that end, an intensive workshop is provided for each student featuring an acclaimed guest director, dramaturg or playwright. Recent guests have included Jesse Alick (The Public Theater), Jeremy Cohen (The Playwrights' Center), Adam Greenfield (Playwrights Horizons), Joy Meads (Center Theatre Group) and Tanya Palmer (The Goodman). Courses include New Play Dramaturgy, Entrepreneurship in the Performing Arts, Pedagogy for Writing and Performance, Advanced Collaboration Workshop, among others.
Playwrights will further explore and deepen their work, generally within the context of a production. As it is our program's position that guaranteed "mainstage" productions within an academic setting do not always prepare playwrights for the professional arena, we attempt to fit the scale of the production to the needs of the given script. It is the faculty's express aim to support each playwright in securing the most beneficial production opportunity within the university, or, when appropriate, in the local professional community. As a result, there are more opportunities for the production of student work at The University of Texas than at any other program in the nation. By the third year, students are encouraged to explore electives beyond the core curriculum, which includes coursework in Directing, Screenwriting, Design, Integrated Media, Reading/Performing the Canon, Digital Storytelling and Plays for All.
Throughout the program, students are introduced to the strategies and pedagogy necessary to successfully teach undergraduate and graduate courses in the creation of new work for the stage.
During the summer, the program regularly facilitates our students' participation in professional development opportunities around the country, including, but not limited to, guest residencies at the Clubbed Thumb (New York), Contemporary Theatre Festival (West Virginia), New Harmoney (Indiana), Orchard Project (New York), PlayPenn (Pennsylvania), Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Tofte Lake Center (Minnesota).