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.

2020 MFA Playwrights

Alumni MFA Playwrights

“…NNPN has become one of the greatest tools of advocacy – and possibility – for getting work out into the world. The work of (NNPN) is critical for adding a new branch to the tree of how exciting new theatrical work gets produced in the US.”
— Jeremy B. Cohen, Producing Artistic Director, The Playwrights’ Center