Hollins University Graduate Center
P.O. Box 9603
Roanoke, VA 24020-1603
Fax: (540) 362-6288
Watch an interview with John Bergman, core faculty in our New Play Performance Certificate Program.
The Playwright’s Lab professional training certificate program in New Play Performance 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 performers of all experience levels learn the best practices for new play production and assist in the building of an impressive portfolio so that Hollins performers can become the strongest possible candidates for employment in professional, regional, and 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, performers will learn the basics of how new plays are conceived and written, how to analyze a script for production, how to collaborate with playwrights and directors on new plays and will take a viewpoints and composition course along with playwrights and directors. In their second summer, performers learn how to perform for other media (producing a weekly Web series), and how to manage their professional career, take a course in advanced performance techniques, and build on their understanding of ensembles in collaboration.
Performers 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). Perfomers are required to participate in student readings and the Hollins Festival of New Works by performing in at least 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 an 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 program for New Play Performance may apply for a host theatre to receive production assistance whenever they are performing in 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo, above: Emma Sperka '12 and Charles Reynolds in the world premier of The Matador, by M.F.A. playwright Robert Plowman, at Mill Mountain Theatre