MFA Playwrights’ Workshop
A partnership between the Kennedy Center Education Department (the American College Theatre Festival) and Stanford University’s National Center for New Plays, the annual MFA Playwrights’ Workshop (MFAPW) provides six to eight graduate students with an eight-day workshop for their plays and a unique professional development opportunity that links them to Network theaters.
Universities are asked to nominate current MFA candidates for the program, and those who are selected are paired with professional directors and dramaturgs from NNPN member theaters—recognized leaders with years of experience in the development of new work—and Washington, DC-based professional actors. The process gives young writers an education in professional play development, unparalleled mentorship in the creation of their work, and a valuable entrée to some of the country’s most vital new play theaters.
The Kennedy Center often invites other professional theaters or developmental centers to workshop a play during the same week, allowing the participating student playwrights and dramaturgs opportunities for interaction with potential collaborators such as the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, which joins the Workshop annually with its upcoming Kendeda Prize Winner.
The Workshop now links to more than 70 MFA programs across the country, and scripts developed at the MFAPW have gone on to productions at NNPN member theaters as well as nationally recognized companies. Featured writers often move into other NNPN programs such as Residencies or Commissions, and their work is presented at the National Showcase of New Plays and as Rolling World Premieres, as the program often serves as an entry point to the new-play pipeline NNPN has created.
These are the playwrights who have participated in the MFA Playwrights' Workshop since its inception in 2006.
2019 MFA Playwrights
Jacob Margaret Archer
All I Want Is to be Happy Sometimes, National Theatre School of Canada
Alumni MFA Playwrights
She Rode Horses Like the Stock Exchange, Yale School of Drama
Colossal, The University of Texas at Austin
Ayanna Maia Saulsberry
King Nigga, New York University
Goodnight Tyler, Northwestern University (Alliance Theatre Kendeda Prize)
All Hail Hurricane Gordo, The Juilliard School
Djarum Vanilla, University of California, Los Angeles
These Peaceable Kingdoms, National Theatre School of Canada
Issei, He Say (or the Myth of the First), New York University
The Many Means of Mother Meenie and Untitled( Alumni Project)
Origin Story, Brown University
The Weathly Life of Sam Tyler, Rutgers University
Bottled Up, New York University
Goat Song for Asa Jacobs, Carnegie Mellon University
Jiréh Breon Holder
Too Heavy for Your Pocket, Yale School of Drama (Alliance Theatre Kendeda Prize)
Leftover, Yale School of Drama (The Lorraine Hansberry Workshop, in association with Company One)
The Last Pair of Earlies, The Juilliard School
Tigers, Be Still, Yale School of Drama
Four Days in the Delta, University of New Mexico
This Flat Earth, Yale School of Drama
Broadsword, The Juilliard School
My Fist, My Fist, My Bleeding Seeded Spirit, University of Southern California
The Peacock Men, University of California, San Diego
Atlasing Sodom, The Juilliard School
The Real Deal, Brown University
Picked, University of California, San Diego
On Every Link A Heart Does Dangle (Alumni Project)
The Secret History of Caleb Caan, University of California, San Diego
The Fairness Doctrine (Fair and Decent), New York University
The C.A. Lyons Project, School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Alliance Theatre Kendeda Prize)