School of Theater

Writing for Performance Program

MFA Program

Launched by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, this MFA program facilitates the development of unique and original voices in playwriting and other forms of writing intended for performance. The curriculum extends traditional notions of play- and screenwriting into unconventional means of generating texts. It encourages an evolutionary sense of theater as a tool for social critique and activism, and embraces new collaborative ventures. This challenging program accepts two students each year. Applicants must show significant prior experience in theater.

The curriculum revolves around intensive writing classes in which students work closely with their instructors, their peers, and their collaborators to develop texts for both stage and screen. During the three-year residency, each student is expected to develop a significant body of work—including at least six plays. Additional coursework consists of classes in voice and movement and in literature and theater history—ranging from the Greeks to contemporary writers. Students in this program also work with visiting artists, and survey and analyze theater productions throughout the Los Angeles area.


Every student is assigned a faculty mentor who is responsible for guiding the student through the artistic and academic programs. CalArts emphasizes the creation of strong student-to-faculty relationships, which enable students to draw from their instructors’ knowledge and creative spirit.

Apply to CalArts

Not accepting applications for the 2016 application cycle.

Last edited by vroveto on Oct 11, 2016
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