Write Here, Write Now: Playwriting Programs Around the Bay

Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Photo of Terry Brooks in campus play
Tricia Brooks in Terry Boero's The M. Documents, part of the Original One-Acts at SF State, 2012. Photo by Rachel Golden.

THEATRE BAY AREA -- And then there are the heavy hitters. San Francisco State, San Jose State and Stanford all offer plenty of possibilities at the undergrad level, and it is possible to focus on playwriting at the graduate level. San Francisco State has a Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts, all offered through the Creative Writing Department. It also boasts rock-star faculty: Michelle Carter, Roy Conboy, Anne Galjour and Brian Thorstenson.

The lineup of playwriting classes is tasty, with offerings like Adapting for the Stage, Architectonics of the Play and Playwriting from a Queer Perspective. Other classes reflect a wide range of voices, cultures and thought. There are several options for getting your work read or staged, although (much as in the real world of theatre) you’re going to be doing a lot of the work to make it happen.

Production options include the Greenhouse, a three-unit course open to grad students that presents three workshop productions and a festival of 10-minute plays by graduate playwrights in a Mission District black box theatre. The Theatre Arts Department sponsors a One Act Festival open to undergrad and grad student playwrights in alternate fall semesters and the annual One-Act Fringe, which lets actors and design students fully stage 10- to 30-minute plays by undergraduates and grad students. The theatre department course Brown Bag Theatre puts up an hour-long production nearly every week of the semester, with students involved in all capacities, on and off stage. There’s a student theatre group called the Players Club that produces a student-directed show in the spring, as well as whatever else tickles its fancy. You can also reserve a space in the Creative Arts Building and mount your own production.

Story by Lisa Drostova

Photo: Tricia Brooks in Terry Boero’s The M. Documents, part of the Original One-Acts at SF State, 2012. Photo by Rachel Golden.