Todd Ristau

Assistant Professor; Director, Playwright's Lab

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Todd Ristau designed and launched the Playwright’s Lab at Hollins University and has served as program director since its launch in 2007. He 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. He has received numerous honors, including the Kennedy Center Gold Medallion and the Perry F. Kendig Arts and Culture Award. Ristau is a member of the Dramatists Guild and Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas.  He has served as chair of playwriting for the South Eastern Theatre Conference, Getchell New Play Award Committee, and KCACTF Region IV’s Chair of the National Playwriting Program.


  • B.A., M.F.A., University of Iowa