Home : Coed Graduate Programs : New Play Directing Certificate

Hollins University
Graduate Center
PO Box 9603
Roanoke, VA 24020-1603
(540) 362-6575
(540) 362-6288 (Fax)

Program director:
Todd Ristau
(540) 556-5396

General information:
Hollins University Graduate Center
P.O. Box 9603
Roanoke, VA 24020-1603
(540) 362-6575
Fax: (540) 362-6288



Watch an interview with Bob Moss who founded Playwrights Horizons and is be core faculty in our Directing Certificate program, along with the cast and crew of M.F.A. playwright Samantha Macher's play The Arctic Circle and a Recipe for Swedish Pancakes. Bob directed the play and it was produced in partnership with Mill Mountain Theatre in February of 2012.

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New Play Directing Certificate

Currently accepting applications for summer 2016-17

The Playwright’s Lab professional training certificate program in New Play Directing is designed to provide graduate-level instruction from leading theatre professionals, along with practical experience in playmaking, for students who are not interested in obtaining a terminal degree. This certificate program is designed to be completed in two six-week summer sessions. Applications are ongoing, with a deadline for all materials falling on the February 15th preceding the start of each cycle. No more than 10 candidates are selected to participate.

The goal of this certificate program is to help directors of all experience levels learn the best practices for new play production and assist in the building of an impressive portfolio so that Hollins directors can become the strongest possible candidates for employment in professional, regional, or academic theatres. Closely associated with the Playwright's Lab at Hollins University, an internationally recognized graduate program in playwriting, this program is taught by highly respected directors, performers, playwrights, and theatre professionals. For a full listing of planned visiting faculty and guest artists, click here. For past faculty and guests, click here.

Students undertake a course load that includes instruction in classes divided into creative, analytic, and collaborative subject areas. In their first summer, directors will learn the basics of how new plays are conceived and written, how to analyze a script for production, and how to collaborate with playwrights and performers on new plays. In their second summer, directors will take a viewpoints and composition course along with playwrights and actors, learn how to form and manage their own company devoted to new play production, how to design production elements in a variety of stages on a variety of budgets, and how to build on methods of collaboration.

Directors are encouraged to participate in extracurricular events during the summer session, including No Shame Theatre and Overnight Sensations (our 24-hour play festival at Mill Mountain Theatre). Directors are required to participate in the Hollins Festival of New Works by directing one of 10 staged readings of new plays from the playwriting program, presented at the end of the summer session to local audiences and up to a dozen visiting guest responders from around the country.

We have ongoing partnerships not only with Mill Mountain Theatre, but also with a growing network of theatres around the country that specialize in new play development. We maintain a fund, the New Works Initiative, which exists to offset the costs related to producing work by our student playwrights. Students in the certificate programs for New Play Directing will be able to apply for production assistance whenever they are directing work generated by Hollins playwrights.

Hollins' historic 475-acre campus is located in Roanoke, Virginia, near a regional airport, the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, the Appalachian Trail, and Roanoke's historic downtown and city market. Founded in 1842, Hollins enrolls approximately 800 students in its undergraduate liberal arts program for women and its coed graduate programs. Recreational facilities include a swimming center, gymnasium, fitness center, and tennis courts.

Applications are taken year-round, with the deadline being the February 15th preceding the start of each two-year cycle. Only ten students will be admitted per cycle for each certificate program.

For details on the current summer session and requirements, click here. For program questions, contact the program director, Todd Ristau, at (540) 556-5396 or tristau@hollins.edu.

For additional information on this certificate program in an easy-to-read format, please click here to read our Gainful Employment Disclosure notice.


(Photo, above: Todd Ristau directing Emma Sperka '12 in the world premier of The Matador, by M.F.A. playwright Robert Plowman, at Mill Mountain Theatre)