Playwriting | Department of Theater | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Liberal Arts

student onstage in Last Seen Alice


Photo above: SIU Theater production of Last Seen Alice, a thesis play written by Jaclyn Grogan (MFA, Playwriting 2015), currently Adjunct Instructor, Vincennes University.

Thank you for your interest in the Playwriting program in Theater here at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

The MFA in playwriting is a three-year sequence that includes courses in playwriting, theater history, performance theory, dramatic literature, and script analysis, as well as a variety of electives. Playwriting instruction is divided into five major areas:

Short Plays: Written weekly, playwrights regularly collaborate with colleagues on public, script-in-hand evenings of three- to five-minute plays.

First Year Seminar: Structure and theories of playwriting are focused on during this twopart course that simultaneously develops the first year full-length play.

Workshops: In the first year, workshop readings of full-length plays happen in the spring; for second and third years, workshops of full-length plays written over the summer begin in fall and continue into spring.

Professional Development: Playwrights meet weekly with the head of the program to focus on developing as playwrights, particularly the business of playwriting.

New Plays Festival: For third years working on thesis plays, this includes a production of their scripts. First and second years will collaborate with actors and directors, and their full-lengths will be showcased in a public staged reading.

By the end of the three years, then, playwrights will have written three full-length plays, scores of short plays, and a critical thesis demonstrating knowledge of relevant theatrical frames. They will have also developed the necessary business acumen and skills to navigate a playwriting career.