Home : Coed Graduate Programs : Playwriting : Faculty

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

Current faculty

Todd Ristau
Program director

Todd is a distinguished graduate of the Iowa Playwright's Workshop. His work has been performed in theatres across the U.S. and England, including London's West End. He founded No Shame Theatre in 1986 and oversaw its evolution into a national network of venues for new works in dozens of cities. He has an extensive theatre background, with expertise in acting, directing, and design. He worked with Mill Mountain Theatre for six years as coordinator of their second stage and as literary associate overseeing new works programming. Ristau served as the first artistic director of Studio Roanoke, a storefront theatre space dedicated to new works development in downtown Roanoke. Todd is an active member of the Dramatists Guild, and member of Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of America.

Todd Ristau
Samantha Macher

Samantha is an award-winning playwright, teacher, producer and screenwriter. She has been a resident playwright at SkyPilot Theatre of Los Angeles and has published numerous plays, including The Arctic Circle and a Recipe for Swedish Pancakes, which she developed with Bob Moss before graduating from the M.F.A. program at Hollins University in 2012.

Samantha Macher
Bob Moss
Director (2009, 2011, 2012, 2013)

Bob Moss, Robert Moss ran the Edward Albee Playwrights' Unit from 1970-71. He founded and ran Playwrights Horizons from 1971 to l981. He was the Artistic Director of the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, New York from 1983 to 1996. In the Fall of 1996, he became the Artistic Director of Syracuse Stage, and ran that theater until January 2008. In the summer of 2008, Moss took the reins of the Hangar again, as they searched for another new Artistic Director. He ran the Playwrights Horizons Theatre School (an affiliate school of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts for more than ten years. He has guest directed at theatres across the country. Favorite playwrights include, but not limited to, Michele Lowe, Wendy Wasserstein, Max Posner, David Hare, Tom Stoppard, and the Mssrs: Shakespeare and Shaw. Prior to all this directing and running of theaters, he was an active stage manager, a career that culminated with the APA Repertory Company in residence at the Lyceum Theater on Broadway. Bob has returned as visiting faculty to the Playwright's Lab as well as frequently coming to campus to direct plays by our students and conduct workshops on directing. In 2012, he directed The Arctic Circle and a Recipe for Swedish Pancakes by M.F.A. playwright Samantha Macher which was produced at Mill Mountain Theatre, transferred to the Playwrights Horizons Studio in Manhattan and published by Original Works. In 2013 he will direct our main stage production of Independence Day at Happy Meadows by M.F.A. playwright Laura King.

A talk with Bob Moss »

Bob Moss
Shannon Robert

Shannon is an Associate Professor of Theatre at Clemson University, received the M.F.A. in scene design from Florida State University. While at FSU, she participated in an international exchange with the Moscow Art Theatre Conservatory. Shannon was director of theatre and head of design at William Carey University, where she taught scene design and directed for 14 years. She served KCACTF as Region IV design chair (3 years – managed the design exposition), regional vice chair (three years – managed the Irene Ryan acting scholarships), regional chair (one year) and served on national design committees. Shannon served on the board of directors, executive committee and long-range planning committee of SETC and was the Mississippi state representative to SETC for four years. After working in higher education, she managed the paint/craft departments of The Spoon Group Productions in NJ/NY. Shannon has worked internationally in venues in Nairobi, Bratislava, Moscow and Edinburgh and has designed for Actor's Express, Aurora Theatre, Mill Mountain Theatre, New Stage Theatre, Auburn University Theatre, Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts (MTSU), Southern Arena Theatre, University of Southern Mississippi, SC Governor’s School for the Arts, The Fine Arts Center, The Peace Center, and ReelRock Productions. She was a consultant for The Saenger Theatre renovation in Hattiesburg, MS for Albert and Associates Architects. Shannon has worked as an evaluator, respondent and adjudicator for a number of productions/projects and has presented several workshops and served on panels throughout the U.S. She is currently the Associate Artistic Director and Scene Designer in Residence for The Warehouse Theatre in Greenville, SC.

Shannon Robert
Carl Hancock Rux
Carl is an American interdisciplinary performative artist, published poet, novelist, essayist, playwright and academic. He is the author of the OBIE Award-winning play Talk; the dystopian fiction Asphalt, the award winning collection of poetry and prose, Pagan Operetta and several music recordings. Rux is one of the original contributing writers of the triannual Nka Journal of Contemporary African Art (founded by fellow art critics Okwui Enwezor, Chika Okeke-Agulu and Salah Hassan) and his writings have appeared in numerous journals, catalogues, books, and magazines including Interview magazine, Essence magazine, The New York Times, aRude Magazine, and American Theater Magazine. His archives are housed at the Billy Rose Theater Division of the New York Public Library, The Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art as well as the Film and Video/Theater and Dance Library of the California Institute of the Arts. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Alpert Award in the Arts.
Carl Hancock Rux
Neil David Seibel

Neil David joined the theatre faculty at Auburn University Montgomery after eighteen years as a freelance actor, director and choreographer. A proud member of Actors Equity Association, he spent six seasons as a company member with Theatre Aspen, appeared Off-Broadway in Jonathon Larson's JP Morgan Saves the Nation, originated the role of Lewis for the TV musical Passages: Lewis and Clark, and enjoyed regional contracts with the Denver Center, Arvada Center, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, The Alley Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Theatre Under The Stars and Theatre West Virginia. He sang cabaret for five years at Aspen's Crystal Palace and danced most recently for the Montgomery Ballet. He has directed and choreographed for numerous theatre companies across the US and served three years as the associate artistic director of the Brooklyn based ALAT-etc., recognized for its multicultural, multidisciplinary performance works. He has written, devised and performed several solo and ensemble plays throughout the US and Europe. A Kentucky native, he earned his B.A. in Theatre from Northern Kentucky University and M.F.A. from the University of California, Irvine.

Neil David Seibel

Planned guests for current summer session*

Art Borreca, Dramaturg

Art is associate professor of dramatic literature and dramaturgy and head of the playwriting and dramaturgy programs at the University of Iowa. He has worked as a dramaturg with a number of leading theatre artists, including Athol Fugard, Wole Soyinka, Theodora Skipitares, David Gothard, and Naomi Wallace in such venues as the Yale Repertory Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop, LaMama ETC, Oxford Stage Company in the U.K., and T.P.T (Theatre Project Tokyo) in Japan. His research interests include contemporary British and American theatre, new play dramaturgy, and political dramaturgy. His articles and reviews have appeared in TDR (The Drama Review), Modern Drama, and Theatre Journal; as well as in several books, including Dramaturgy in American Theatre, What is Dramaturgy? and Approaching the Millennium: Essays on Angels in America. Professor Borreca is a contributor to the forthcoming Norton Anthology of Drama and is at work on a comprehensive study of the British history play since World War II. Podcast »


Megan Gogerty Playwright, Solo Performer

In 2010, Megan’s play Bad Panda was officially banned in China. Other career highlights include Feet First in the Water with a Baby in My Teeth, which will debut in a variety of theatres across the country in 2011. Her album of comic songs, Big Damn Heroes, is a tribute album to the defunct TV show Firefly and is available on CDBaby.com, iTunes, and wherever online music is sold. She also has an album about Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Her musical Love Jerry, a fact-based drama about the long-term effects of child sexual abuse, continues to be produced around the country despite the odds of a sex abuse musical getting produced anywhere. It was last seen in Philadelphia in June 2010. Her solo show, Hillary Clinton Got Me Pregnant, was listed in the Top Ten Best Shows of 2009 by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.


Marya Sea Kaminski, Actress, Playwright

Marya Sea Kaminski is an actress, writer and solo performer. On stage, she’s recently premiered an original solo rock musical, Riddled, for Richard Hugo House in Seattle and appeared as Brooke Wyeth in Other Desert Cities at ACT with Pamela Reed and Kevin Tighe (directed by Victor Pappas), as well as the title role in Hedda Gabler and The Nurse in Romeo and Juliet at Intiman Theatre, Betsy/Lindsay in Clybourne Park at the Seattle Repertory Theatre and as a member of the ensemble for a staged reading of Robert Schenkkan’s award-winning new play All the Way in the Seattle Rep’s New Play Festival. Other favorite roles include: Janet in Dan Savage’s Miracle! at Intiman, the title role in Electra for Seattle Shakespeare Company; Hedda Gabler in Washington Ensemble Theatre’s original adaptation titled BlahblahblahBANG! for On the Boards; the titular role in the regional premiere of My Name is Rachel Corrie and the esteemed mural painter in Tina Landau’s The Time of Your Life at the Seattle Rep. She’s performed her original solo work at PS 122 in New York, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Myrna Loy Center in Helena MT, Bumbershoot and On the Boards in Seattle, and on subway platforms across lower Manhattan. Her writing has been featured in The New York Theatre Review, Seattle City Arts Magazine, Rivet Magazine, msn.com/Womanity and KNOCK. On screen, Marya has played principal roles in the feature films Dichotomy by Funkbuddha Productions, Waxie Moon in the Fallen Jewel with Wes Hurley, and Pacific Aggression directed by Shaun Scott (upcoming). Marya has been awarded the Genius Award in Theater from The Stranger, Artist of the Year from Seattle Magazine, the Seattle Gregory Award for Outstanding Actress, Best Local Stage Actor and Best Performing Artist by the readers of the Seattle Weekly, as well as multiple City Artist Awards from the Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs. A founding member and co-artistic director of the Washington Ensemble Theatre from 2004-2008, Marya directed the regional premieres of Adam Rapp’s Finer Noble Gases and Jordan Harrison’s Museum Play, performed as the former First Lady in the national premiere of Jane Martin’s Laura’s Bush (Seattle Times Footlight Award, 2004) and as M in Sarah Kane’s Crave, and served as Literary Manager for the development of new and original works including Stephanie Timm’s Crumbs are also Bread and Paul Mullin’s The Ten Thousand Things. Marya holds a BA in English and Theatre Arts from the University of Pennsylvania and an Acting MFA from the University of Washington. Currently, she teaches Acting at Cornish College of the Arts, where she has been honored with the Drama Department’s Award for Teaching Excellence.

Jessica Litwak, Playwright, Director and Associate Artistic Director

Jessica Litwak, MFA, RDT, is the artistic director of The H.E.A.T. Collective (www.heatcollective.org) an organization dedicated to Healing, Education, Activism and Theatre, and the New Generation Theatre Ensemble, a theatre for youth (www.ngte.org) Litwak’s work has been published by Applause Books, Smith and Krause, and The New York Times. Plays include: Emma Goldman: Love Anarchy and Other Affairs directed by Anne Bogart. A Pirate’s Lullaby, The Oregon Book Award, produced in Portland, at Rattlestick Theater and at The Goodman Theatre. The Promised Land, commissioned by The National Federation of Jewish Culture, was produced in Budapest. Secret Agents and Victory Dance were produced in Los Angeles at The Renberg Theatre, and the DR2 in New York. Terrible Virtue was developed by The Lark and The Culture Project, Wider Than The Sky at The Lark, UCONN and Epic Theatre. The Snake and The Falcon, and Nobody Is Sleeping (the second two installments of the Emma Goldman Trilogy) have developed by the Lark, and Serious Play! Her plays for youth GRIM, Postcards from Canterbury, The Great Journey Home, Verona High, War: An American Dream, and The Moons Of Jupiter written and directed by Litwak, have been produced in New York and Massachusetts. Litwak has taught at San Francisco State University, the Theatre Academy at Los Angeles City College, Stella Adler Academy, Marymount Manhattan College, Columbia, NYU and Lesley University. She conducts workshops around the world in Peacebuilding and Performance for Acting Together On the World Stage. Litwak is on the steering committee of Theatre Without Borders (TWB) and co-leads Artist Distress Services for freeDimensional. She is currently a Visiting Professor in the MFA Program at Naropa University.

Dámaso Rodriguez, Director (2015)

Dámaso is co-founder and resident director of the acclaimed Furious Theatre Company, where he served as Co-Artistic Director from 2001-11. From 2007-2010 he served as Associate Artistic Director of the Pasadena Playhouse, where he directed main stage productions and oversaw all programming for the Playhouse’s second stage, including its Hothouse New Play Development Program. He has directed over 25 award-winning, critically acclaimed productions at theatres such as Seattle's Tony Award-winning Intiman Theatre, the Pasadena Playhouse, A Noise Within, The Theatre@Boston Court and Furious Theatre. Directing credits include Ruth & Augustus Goetz' The Heiress (starring Richard Chamberlain), Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes (starring Kelly McGillis) and Austin Pendleton’s Orson’s Shadow (starring Sharon Lawrence) at the Pasadena Playhouse; the reading of Steven Drukman’s The Prince of Atlantis for the Pacific Playwrights Festival at South Coast Repertory, Clifford Odets’ Paradise Lost at Intiman Theatre; Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit (starring Scott Lowell), Tennessee Williams’ The Eccentricities of a Nightingale and Eugene O'Neill's Desire Under the Elms at A Noise Within. Furious Theatre credits include the Los Angeles premieres of Peter Sinn Nachtrieb’s Boom and Hunter Gatherers, Bruce Norris’ The Pain and the Itch (a co-production with the Theatre@Boston Court), Craig Wright's Grace, Yussef El Guindi's Back of the Throat, Neil LaBute's The Shape of Things, and the world premieres of Alex Jones’ Canned Peaches in Syrup and Matt Pelfrey’s An Impending Rupture of the Belly and No Good Deed, among many others. His film directing credits include the darkly comic feature Pure Shock Value, which was selected as the "Centerpiece Film" of the Hollywood Fringe Festival, and episodes of the web series A G.A.N.G. by screenwriter Matt Pelfrey (MTV’s Skins). Dámaso is a recipient of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award, the Back Stage Garland Award, the NAACP Theatre Award, and the Pasadena Arts Council’s Gold Crown Award. In 2010, Furious Theatre Company was named to LA Weekly's list of "Best Theatres of the Decade." He is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.


Ed Sayles

Ed Sayles is Producing Director Emeritus of the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse/Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival. He recently stepped down as Producing Artistic Director after 34 four years in that position. Ed arrived in the fall of 1980 to take charge of a little theater that performed for about 9,000 each summer and an innovative but small Youth Theatre which consisted of six actors and performed for about 10,000 students in seven school districts each year. Under Ed’s leadership, the MGR has risen to a prominent position among the nation’s regional theatres. This season, combined attendance at the Playhouse and Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival will be over 60,000 and the Youth Theatre Company is now one of the largest in the country with an Acting Company of 15 professional actors who perform for over 125,000 students in 77 districts each year. In 2009 Ed founded the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival which premiered in 2012. During Ed's tenure the annual budget rose from $180,000 to over $5 million. Ed also created The Pitch, a innovative approach to the early stage new musical development which combines the traditional workshop setting with the use of focus groups. In three years 40 early stage musicals have been presented at The PITCH and it is the subject of a pilot documentary for PBS. Ed has served two terms on the Theatre Panel of the New York State Council on the Arts. He has received commendations from the U.S. House of Representatives, the New York State Senate and the New York State Assembly. His career accomplishments have put him in "Who’s Who in America" and "Who’s Who in American Theatre." He holds a Bachelor's Degree from SUNY Cortland and a Master's Degree from Bowling Green State University.

* Because of the rotating nature of the program, faculty and guests are listed subject to availability. Please check this Web page frequently for updated information.