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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.

Download brochure | Academics

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.

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Matthieu Chapman, Ph.D.

Matthieu Chapman earned his MLitt in Dramaturgy and MFA in Acting from Mary Baldwin College’s Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature in Performance Program and his Ph.D. in Theatre History, Theory, and Criticism from the UC San Diego Department of Theatre and Dance.  He has acted on the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriar’s stage and served as a dramaturg for San Diego Repertory Theatre and work for the La Jolla Playhouse, as well as dramaturged and directed numerous university productions.  His research focuses on ontological structures of blackness in the Early Modern World.  His monograph, Antiblack Racism in Early Modern English Drama: The Other Other is available from Routledge Press.  He has also published articles in Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England, Theatre Topics, TheatreForum, and Early Theatre. He has presented at numerous national and international conferences, including the Renaissance Society of America, the American Society of Theatre Research, the American Comparative Literature Association, the Mid-America Theatre Conference, and others.  Other research interests include: Contemporary Black Theatre, Cross-Cultural and Trans-National Adaptations of Shakespeare, and the Dramaturgy of Black Bodies.