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Hollins University
Graduate Programs

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

Program Director
Todd Ristau
(540) 362-6386

M.F.A. in Playwriting

Summer 2013 Events

(open to the public)

Playwright's Lab at Hollins in collaboration with the Mill Mountain Theatre will offer a guest speakers series. All the talks are free and open to the public, hosted on the Waldron Stage of Mill Mountain Theatre, 20 Church Avenue, S.E., downtown Roanoke. (

  • Mark Bly (Dramaturg)
    Bly was the Chair of the Playwriting Program at the Yale School of Drama from 1992-2004 while being the Associate Artistic Director at the Yale Rep. Over the past thirty years he has served as a Dramaturg, Director of New Play Development, and Associate Artistic Director at such theatres as the Arena Stage, Alley Theatre, Guthrie Theatre, Seattle Rep, and Yale Rep, dramaturging and producing over 150 plays. In 2010 Bly received the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas G.E. Lessing Career Achievement Award, only the fifth time the award was bestowed in the organization’s history.
    June 24, 7:30 p.m.

  • Lee Moyer (Graphic Illustrator)
    Moyer is an esteemed illustrator and designer whose work has been featured in art books, periodicals, and commercially for more than a decade. Additionally, his work has been displayed at the Society of Illustrators, the National Zoo and the Smithsonian Institution's Natural History Museum, and many private collections. His theatrical work includes world premiere posters for Stephen Sondheim, Andre 3000, John Mellencamp, Steven King, and Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. He served as art director for Electronic Arts, and as a contractor for Sony, Upper Deck, and Hasbro. He was one of the two concept leads for 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons and is currently working with game designers Rob Heinsoo and Jonathan Tweet on the new game, 13th Age. Moyer has illustrated authors as diverse as Raymond Chandler, Philip Jose Farmer, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Iain M. Banks, Alan Moore, and George R.R. Martin. He also created all of the posters for the first three seasons of new plays at Studio Roanoke and also designed the logo for the Playwright's Lab.
    July 1, 7:30 p.m.

  • Robert Patrick (Playwright)
    Patrick became a fixture in the world famous Caffe Cino, the first Off-Off Broadway theatre, in 1961. He worked at the Cino in a variety of capacities and in 1964 was allowed to mount his first play, The Haunted Host. The success of that little production turned playwriting into his primary focus, resulting in 60 published plays and numerous awards. During the 1960s Patrick was a pioneer in Off-Off-Broadway theatre and the gay-theatre movement with over 300 productions of his plays during this decade in New York City alone. In 1972, the play publishing and licensing company Samuel French called Patrick "New York's Most-Produced Playwright." Perhaps his most famous play is Kennedy's Children.
    July 8, 7:30 p.m.

  • Gary Garrison (Dramatists Guild of America)
    Garrison is the Co-Executive Director of the Dramatist Guild of America – the national organization of playwrights, lyricists and composers headed by our nation’s most honored dramatists. Prior to his work at the Guild, Garrison filled the posts of Artistic Director, Producer and full-time faculty member in the Department of Dramatic Writing at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, where he produced over forty-five festivals of new work, collaborating with hundreds of playwrights, directors and actors. Garrison’s plays include Game On, The Sweep, Verticals and Horizontals, Storm on Storm, It Belongs on Stage (and Not in My Bed), Crater, Old Soles, Padding The Wagon, Rug Store Cowboy, Cherry Reds, Gawk, Oh Messiah Me, We Make A Wall, The Big Fat Naked Truth, Scream With Laughter, Smoothness With Cool, Empty Rooms, Does Anybody Want A Miss Cow Bayou? and When A Diva Dreams. He is the author of the critically acclaimed The Playwright’s Survival Guide: Keeping the Drama in Your Work and Out of Your Life, Perfect Ten: Writing and Producing the Ten Minute Play, A More Perfect Ten and two volumes of Monologues for Men by Men. He is on the Tony Administration Committee for the Tony Awards, the program director for the Summer Playwriting Intensive for the Kennedy Center, the former National Chair of Playwriting for the Kennedy Center’s American College Theater Festival and the Founder of The Loop, an on-line community of playwrights.
    July 15, 7:30 p.m.

  • Dan Whitten (Broadway Producer)
    Whitten is President of TIGER ll, LLC, a company that produces theatrical productions and corporate events. Dan was the lead producer of the hit Off Broadway show Jacques Brel Is Alive And Well And Living In Paris. Dan was the 2007 Tony Award-winning producer of Jay Johnson's The Two And Only. The show won the 2007 Tony Award in the "Best Special Theatrical Event" category. Dan's recent producing projects include Carousel, 2 on the aisle... three in the van, and Cougar the Musical. Dan's marketing credits include The Secret Garden, Catch Me If I Fall, The National Tour of Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh, The Allan Sherman Musical and The United States of Poetry on PBS. Dan is a graduate of The Wharton School and The University of Pennsylvania. While at UPENN, he was a member of The Penn Players and starred as Eddie Carbone in Arthur Miller's A View From The Bridge.
    July 22, 7:30 p.m.

Productions and Special Events

No Shame Theatre
No Shame Theatre is an experiential performance lab where writers, performers and audience are constantly changing roles. Anything can happen and usually does in this late night venue for original work. We take the first 15 pieces to walk in the door and there are only three rules: pieces must be original (no copyright violations), short (five minutes or less), and not break anything (including the law). Inside those rules you can do pretty much anything you're interested in trying in front of a live audience--plays, monologues, songs, dance, poetry, mime, juggling, comedy, tragedy, improvisation, dada, magic--we've even seen people do floral arrangements! Pieces are accepted starting at 10:00 p.m., doors open at 10:30 p.m., and the show starts at 11 p.m. running on average an hour and a half.
All seats $5; Mill Mountain Theatre's Waldron Stage, 20 Church Avenue S.E., Roanoke.
Every Friday night at 11:00 p.m.

Graduate Shameless Shorts Showcase
Our graduate students are never around for the Best of No Shame showcases in April and October, so we’re doing a special weekend where they can put on what they think is the best work they’ve ever done at No Shame during the summer sessions. Outrageous fun!
All seats $10; Upstairs Studio Theatre, Hollins University
June 21-22, 8:00 p.m. Advance tickets available at as well as sales at the door for each performance.

Local Unified Auditions
Area actors, directors, our student playwrights, and representatives of several local theatres gather over the weekend for auditions. Actors who audition are entered into our database and can be contacted to be readers or performers in our summer events, as well as readings and productions throughout the year. Mill Mountain Theatre, Gamut Theatre, Showtimers, Attic Productions and other groups are invited to participate. Auditioners should prepare a monologue from a contemporary play and, if desired, a song.
Upstairs Studio Theatre, Hollins University
June 22-23, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Email to sign up for a 10-minute slot over the weekend.

Overnight Sensations
Since 2006 we've partnered with Mill Mountain Theatre to present our version of the 24-Hour Plays. On Friday night six playwrights are randomly paired with six directors, then randomly draw from a hat a variety of writing prompts and a pre-selected cast of local actors. Before 8 a.m. the next morning they have to write a 10-minute play. They meet with their directors over a continental breakfast on Saturday morning and make any last minute changes before the actors arrive at 11 a.m. and the play begins rehearsal. When 8 p.m. rolls around, and the audience are in their seats, the show begins! Always a packed house, always free, and always lots of fun for everyone!
Trinkle Main Stage, Mill Mountain Theatre
July 6, 8:00 p.m.

Hollins Festival of New Works
Each summer at the end of July, we present a three-day event showcasing ten readings of student work from the Playwright's Lab. These readings are minimally staged for the general public and close to a dozen guest professional responders from all over the globe. This year's guest responders include publishers, arts administrators, playwrights, actors, directors and even a producer of Broadway musicals! These guest responders are coming from as far away as Los Angeles and as close as downtown Roanoke. Get acquainted with these plays and playwrights before they are famous, and engage in a conversation about theatre with our students, faculty, and some established theatre professionals.
All readings are free and open to the general public
Mill Mountain Theatre's Waldron Stage, 20 Church Avenue S.E., Roanoke
July 19, 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
July 20, 11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m., and 8:00 p.m.
July 23, 11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m., and 8:00 p.m.

Guests and events may be subject to change, due to unexpected difficulties in scheduling. Please check this Web page frequently for updated information. For questions, contact the director, Todd Ristau, at (540) 362-6386 or