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Playwriting and Dramaturgy

Contact: Dr. Robert Shimko

The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Playwriting/Dramaturgy gives students extensive practical experience in both playwriting and dramaturgy. You will:

  • Develop multiple original plays with one-on-one guidance from program faculty.
  • Work closely with internationally renowned playwright and screenwriter Theresa Rebeck.
  • Begin working in production dramaturgy from your first semester.
  • Receive opportunities for dramaturgy work in Houston's thriving professional theatre scene.
  • Help run an international 10-minute play festival, evaluating script submissions from around the world.

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Program Faculty

Theresa Rebeck, Ph.d.

Theresa Rebeck, Ph.D.

Dr. Rebeck, Distinguished Visiting Professor of Playwriting, is an internationally produced playwright. New York productions include: Poor Behavior, Dead Accounts, Seminar, Bad Dates, The Butterfly Collection, Spike Heels, and Omnium Gatherum (co-written, Pulitzer finalist). Publications: Collected Plays Volumes I, II, III & IV, Free Fire Zone, with Smith & Kraus, and two novels, Three Girls and Their Brother and Twelve Rooms with a View, with Random House/Shaye Areheart Books. Film: Harriet the Spy, Gossip, and the independent features Sunday on the Rocks, and Seducing Charlie Barker (adapted from her play The Scene). Awards include: Writer's Guild of America Award for Episodic Drama, Peabody Award for her work on "NYPD Blue," the National Theatre Conference Award, the William Inge New Voices Playwriting Award. In 2011 she was named one fo the 150 Fearless Women in the World by Newsweek. She is the creator of the NBC drama, "Smash."

Robert B. Shimko, Ph.D.

Robert B. Shimko, Ph.D.

Dr. Shimko, Associate Professor of Theatre History and Dramaturgy serves as head of the BFA degree track in playwriting/dramaturgy. In 2012, he won the University of Houston’s Teaching Excellence Award. In addition to his staff position as Literary Director of the Houston Shakespeare Festival, Dr. Shimko’s professional dramaturgy credits include productions at Alley Theatre, Guthrie Theater, Stages Repertory Theatre, Classical Theatre Company, Harlem Stage, and Catastrophic Theatre. In 2013, he was the invited Dramaturgy Respondent for Region V of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Dr. Shimko’s scholarly writing has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies; he is co-editor of the book Public Theatres and Theatre Publics and is the book review editor for the journal Theatre History Studies. His play Specks is available through Samuel French, Inc.

Keith Byron Kirk, Ph.D.

Keith Byron Kirk, Ph.D.

Dr. Kirk, Assistant Professor of Performance Studies and African American Drama, received his M.A.  in Performance Studies and Playwriting at New York University and received his Ph.D. from Northwestern University’s Interdisciplinary Program in Theatre and Drama. His play As Reaper in Summer Grain was developed at the Eugene O’Neill Playwright’s Conference, and his play The Audience was nominated for a 2005 Drama Desk Award. Other plays include Ft. Lonesome and Urban Trilogy.  Dr. Kirk performed with Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater Co. in their production of Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath at The La Jolla Playhouse, the National Theater of Great Britain, and on Broadway. Also a vocalist, Dr. Kirk has performed the role of John in the Broadway and Los Angeles productions of Cameron Macintosh’s  Miss Saigon. His work can also be heard on the original cast recordings of William Finn’s A new Brain and Elegies and on composer Georgia Stitt’s recent CD release This Ordinary Thursday on PS Classics.