Dramatic Writing

The Department of Theatre & Dance

The UNM MFA in Dramatic Writing provides professional training to promising and distinctive writers from New Mexico and beyond. We offer an intensive three-year program for a cohort of no more than nine (we accept up to three students per year) allowing for specific and individualized attention to our students.

Students are instructed in traditional and experimental compositional strategies, exposed to current issues in performance theory, and introduced to ways to make a living as a working artist.

Our curriculum is rooted in the playwriting workshop, a three-tiered course sequence guiding students from the generative phase of drafting new work through a rigorous process of revising, editing, and preparing a script for production. Workshops frequently focus on a particular style, theme, writer, or movement. In addition to a demanding writing schedule, our workshop asks students to read and discuss plays and dramaturgical theory drawn from different styles and historical periods, in search of creative inspiration and new compositional strategies.

Other courses include Screenwriting, Topics in Performance, and a bi-annual seminar in the business of making art. Students have the opportunity to take elective courses in their second and third year. They are encouraged to choose classes from the many other disciplines offered across the university.

Selected students have the opportunity, in their third year, to teach an introductory playwriting seminar for undergraduates.

The centerpiece of the program is our annual Linnell Festival of New Plays, held in the spring semester, in which third-year students receive full productions, and first- and second-year students exhibit their plays in workshop presentations. Our spring festival is preceded by the MFA Reading Series in the fall, during which second and third-year students present completed full-length scripts in public concert readings.

In addition to working closely with UNM’s theatre faculty, students are taught by esteemed guest artists. Recent guests include Dan Rothenberg and Dito Van Reigersberg of Pig Iron Theatre Company; Lana Lesley of The Rude Mechanicals; playwrights as diverse as Erik Ehn, Len Jenkin, Migdalia Cruz and Mac Wellman; and solo performer/comedian Mónica Palacios.

The program offers opportunities to attend performances and new play festivals in other cities. Recent trips have taken the cohort to the Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville; to New York City to see the New York premiere of Paula Vogel’s Indecent; to Los Angeles for performances at South Coast Rep and EST/LA; and to Colorado for the Denver Center’s Annual New Play Summit. Our program is a member of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, and we have been invited to present work regionally and nationally every year.

How to Apply

• All students must be admitted to the University, whether as an incoming freshman, transfer student, or non-degree student. Apply online through the Admissions Department at UNM

•After meeting all CFA admission requirements, students must apply to become a declared major.

Academic Advisement

The College of Fine Arts Student Success & Advisement Center is committed to serve the UNM community with compassion, guidance, and respect as we promote academic excellence.

To speak with a CFA advisor, please call (505) 277-4817.