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On 4/21/2020 at 5:19 AM, Silverlake said:

Well, the other shoe dropped from Juilliard for me today: ah sigh...

Same. Which I found to be weird since only last week they said I was still being considered, so I contacted them to clarify if one of the messages I got was a mistake. Apparently neither was - the heads of the Playwriting Department were able to meet sooner than anticipated and make decisions.

That’s the end of my application journey this year, I am afraid. Congratulations to any of you who will be going to grad school next year and thank you all for the support. It was lovely to be part of this online community this year.

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Wanted to offer my two cents on the mental health/application cycle/rejection conversation. I haven’t posted here regularly in years but maybe I can give some comfort or clarity or companionship to so

Well, babes, last year I applied to 10 schools and got nothing. Not even an interview. I spent the year working on my application and submitted a new play with a totally reworked SOP. I just got an in

Just got in off the Brooklyn waitlist. @Zadican I suspect I was offered your spot! Still waiting to hear final word from Iowa and for more details on financials etc from Brooklyn, but it's amazing to

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello! 

I just discovered this forum, as I've been on the hunt for information regarding MFA's in Dramatic Writing/ Playwriting. I've done a bit of research on programs but have a lot of questions.

I've never really identified myself professionally as a writer, though I've always written. Professionally, I've been working primarily as an actor and teaching artist (Shakespeare, Voice/Movement, and Dramatic Structure). I have become increasingly interested in changing trajectory and focusing on writing/creating, and have a strong desire to cultivate my craft and voice with guidance. I know there are many avenues to do so, but really would like to consider going back to school for dramatic writing, as everything about the MFA seems to speak to what I am looking for in terms of artistic development. 

I have never yet submitted my work for development, festivals, or production, and am worried that my lack of a playwright's resume (outside of a few workshops, etc) will work against me in the application process, despite being an active theatre artist. It seems that most MFA candidates have already been developing work at major theatres. I plan to begin submitting my work and pursuing different approaches but honestly I want to develop my voice more than I want to have professional productions of my work at this stage. I am looking for information on what would constitute "readiness" in an applicant for the MFA. I feel confident that I have stories worth telling and that I can polish drafts of my work for application, but am worried that the work alone is not the deciding factor in admission. 

My main questions are:

 What (other than writing) must be done to become a viable candidate for the MFA? What steps can be taken to ensure that you are "ready"?

Does anyone here have any experience with acceptance to an MFA program who has had a non traditional path to playwriting or a very limited resume as a playwright?

Lots of curiosity about this process but I will start there! Thank you for your time. 

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hulo @Mel Rose 😄 glad to see you looking into this path 😄 i think as a playwright the most important thing is still the writing (the actual script) so i'm quite sure it'd play a strong role in your application, whether or not you identify as a writer. the fact that you've worked in differing fields within performing arts is an advantage, i think, as it gives you more than one approach to writing and theatre-making. but ultimately your scripts will inform the admission gang of your readiness at the time of submission 😊 I have developed quite a few conceptual pieces but my "traditional" script is still the core of my MFA application - in the end it's called Dramatic Writing, not Dramatic Thinking 😅 besttest of luck with your investigation and application! and hope you stay safe and healthy during this crazy time too! 😊🦕🦄❤️🦔🐧😄

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Thank you @tradagram for the reply! Relieved to hear that it is often all about the script. I have been wondering if going with a more traditional script is best for application. One of the plays I am working to polish is a little more conceptual and a "play with music" (though not a musical), and I'm wondering if it wouldn't be the right choice. Would love to hear about applicants' choices of material. 

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^^I have the same question as @Mel Rose, except mine is actually for a full blown musical. It's my latest work and I feel it's my strongest. I wrote all the words (book, lyrics,) and I even wrote parts of some songs, but for the most part a composer/friend is writing the music. 

 What are the views on submitting a musical to a dramatic writing program? Yes it's a collaboration, but  they would be able to see my voice and style pretty clearly. I have straight plays that I could submit, but I would prefer those to be secondary. Thoughts?

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1 hour ago, PlayWitch said:

I just want to thank Iowa for rejecting me anew! Whose idea was it to send a second set of rejections? Tone. Deaf.

Ok, so I wasn't the only one who got that email the other day, haha. Honestly though, I liked getting a more genuine rejection email instead of the auto-generated "we regret to inform you..." one from before.

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20 minutes ago, jck349 said:

Ok, so I wasn't the only one who got that email the other day, haha. Honestly though, I liked getting a more genuine rejection email instead of the auto-generated "we regret to inform you..." one from before.

I mean, it's still autogenerated.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 5/16/2020 at 1:49 PM, hbomb said:

^^I have the same question as @Mel Rose, except mine is actually for a full blown musical. It's my latest work and I feel it's my strongest. I wrote all the words (book, lyrics,) and I even wrote parts of some songs, but for the most part a composer/friend is writing the music. 

 What are the views on submitting a musical to a dramatic writing program? Yes it's a collaboration, but  they would be able to see my voice and style pretty clearly. I have straight plays that I could submit, but I would prefer those to be secondary. Thoughts?

  • Some programs are very specifc about what they will and won't allow. Some are very stringent about no musicals or anymore that's collaborative. There's just no telling how much of it is yours or your partner's. 
  • I admit I haven't had to pay TOO much attention since musicals aren't my thing, but if it doesn't specify in the application, feel free to ask. But generally, I think they prefer something without music
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On 5/16/2020 at 1:34 AM, Mel Rose said:

Thank you @tradagram for the reply! Relieved to hear that it is often all about the script. I have been wondering if going with a more traditional script is best for application. One of the plays I am working to polish is a little more conceptual and a "play with music" (though not a musical), and I'm wondering if it wouldn't be the right choice. Would love to hear about applicants' choices of material. 

I was surprised to find my most experimental- least curated work had the greatest response. I think they are looking for something that excites them and you, but also shows a clear hand of your voice. If you're allowed to submit more than one piece, I'd say do traditional and something something that excites you. 

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Hey everyone, I’ve been lurking for a bit and trying to decide on playwriting programs and I’ve been hearing some awful things about the USC program and it sounds like it’s not healthy environment. I heard from some undergrads that black students were encouraged to whitewash their work to make it easier for the drama department to put on. And that a white student also frequently wrote plays with tons of racial slurs and stereotypes targeting other POC students and had them read it.

I’ve also heard that faculty have been inappropriate with students, like texting/calling/emailing them at unexpected times, sharing inappropriate personal info with them, screaming at them, not allowing them to speak during class, and using feedback as a weapon when they are angry with the students. It sounds like the admin of the school also don’t care what the faculty have done, so nothing happens or the students get punished for speaking out.

Has anyone else heard about this? Is this normal at other schools?

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21 hours ago, tantodano said:

Now that Yale will not be accepting new students to start in the Fall of 2021, i'm wondering if people currently enrolled in any other playwriting MFA program know anything / would give us tea about their program's plans for the upcoming admissions cycle?

https://www.drama.yale.edu/our-plans-2020-21/

I'm hoping this will mostly apply to schools who, like Yale, are also attached to professional production companies. A huge part of Yale's acting program is graduating with your equity card after working with the Rep and obviously no productions = no equity card. So hopefully other admission cycles will go relatively undisturbed? 

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On 6/16/2020 at 3:22 PM, tantodano said:

Now that Yale will not be accepting new students to start in the Fall of 2021, i'm wondering if people currently enrolled in any other playwriting MFA program know anything / would give us tea about their program's plans for the upcoming admissions cycle?

https://www.drama.yale.edu/our-plans-2020-21/

This was pre-pandemic, but the Texas State University dramatic writing grad program isn't taking new students next year, and then after that IF they come back it will be a low residency program. 

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On 6/18/2020 at 11:55 AM, hbomb said:

This was pre-pandemic, but the Texas State University dramatic writing grad program isn't taking new students next year, and then after that IF they come back it will be a low residency program. 

Wow, thank you. I wish there was an updating list of these that are delaying their recruitment for new students, as now this affects if I'll be applying for fall '21 or fall '22 now WOOF.

 

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Does anyone have a comprehensive list of the fully or heavily funded MFA Playwriting/Dramatic Writing programs? I am putting together my list, and unfortunately I'm not in a position to seek graduate study without major financial assistance. Funding is most important to me, and I'm looking to expand my list. (Note: I have held off on Iowa, Indiana, and Ohio because I need to seriously consider if I can imagine myself living in these parts of the Midwest...I am a little older than many grad students, and so where I live for several years into my early 30s is a factor). I'm also considering interdisciplinary creative writing programs that may offer playwriting opportunities or concentrations.

If anyone has details on the following programs' funding opportunities, and/or has info on additional programs that may provide funding, let me know!  Extra points if additional programs are experimental-leaning :

UT Austin

Brown

Carnegie Mellon

Brooklyn College

Rutgers

UCSD

Northwestern ( I don't believe offers full funding, but may offer some grant opportunities? Not sure)

Boston University

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I've been reaching out to programs for information, and it looks like Indiana isn't recruiting playwrights this application cycle, nor is Michener, or Yale (I've heard). Brown I think is still a bit TBD, pending funding, from the response I got. Would love to hear where people are applying this year, and if any more major programs are not recruiting, due to circumstances. 

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On 9/15/2020 at 9:53 PM, PlayWitch said:

I think I'm going to have to apply with the same play I used last year. I've revised it a bit. It got me on the waiting list for NYU and I was a semi-finalist at Hunter. Am I making a mistake?

I wouldn't call it a mistake, but unless you made significant revisions, I wouldn't do that. I feel that if you got that far ahead, they'll remember your work (and clearly liked it) and would like to see something new from you to show your growth since last round. Everyone says the sample is your strongest part of the application, so I think of all the application materials (resume, LOR, etc) it should be the most evolved. I'm also reapplying, and trying to avoid that myself.

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10 hours ago, Mel Rose said:

I've been reaching out to programs for information, and it looks like Indiana isn't recruiting playwrights this application cycle, nor is Michener, or Yale (I've heard). Brown I think is still a bit TBD, pending funding, from the response I got. Would love to hear where people are applying this year, and if any more major programs are not recruiting, due to circumstances. 

I know Yale for sure isn't. Though Michener isn't, the UT Austin MFA appears to still be accepting candidates, and its also fully funded, so something to consider. Someone above mentioned Texas State. That's all I know for sure, now. I'm applying to a much shorter list of schools so haven't done the research, but I would assume they're open unless their website states otherwise.

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On 6/10/2020 at 1:31 AM, basilcof said:

Hey everyone, I’ve been lurking for a bit and trying to decide on playwriting programs and I’ve been hearing some awful things about the USC program and it sounds like it’s not healthy environment. I heard from some undergrads that black students were encouraged to whitewash their work to make it easier for the drama department to put on. And that a white student also frequently wrote plays with tons of racial slurs and stereotypes targeting other POC students and had them read it.

I’ve also heard that faculty have been inappropriate with students, like texting/calling/emailing them at unexpected times, sharing inappropriate personal info with them, screaming at them, not allowing them to speak during class, and using feedback as a weapon when they are angry with the students. It sounds like the admin of the school also don’t care what the faculty have done, so nothing happens or the students get punished for speaking out.

Has anyone else heard about this? Is this normal at other schools?

I have also heard that from USC, especially from a recent graduate of the playwriting program (2019). He pretty much said, "Friends don't let friends go to USC." He said his cohort made it bearable, but nothing about the environment was positive. This is part of the reason why I didn't apply last round, but that 75% funding, prime location and no GRE this year is quite tempting.

Anyone heard anything about UCLA or Brooklyn College's environment?

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