Veteran Dramaturg, Educator Mark Bly Joins UH School of Theatre & Dance Faculty

Getting a new play off the ground and onto the stage is often a challenge for any playwright or director. That's where an experienced dramaturg comes in.

Although dramaturgs' roles vary from production to production, one of their most common tasks is assisting playwrights and directors in developing fresh works through research and consultation. As one of the country's eminent dramaturges, Mark Bly has helped launch more than 200 original plays for theater companies across the country. Starting this fall, he will share his insight on the craft with University of Houston students.

Bly will join the UH as a distinguished professor. He will teach dramaturgy and playwriting classes as part of the Alley Theatre and UH School of Theatre and Dance Master of Fine Arts Professional Training Program. In addition to working with UH, Bly will serve as the Alley's senior dramaturg and director of its new play program.

"I enjoy working with students," Bly said. "I have learned quite a bit from my years in the theater, so I am pleased that I can share things on a case-by-case basis with students. I particularly look forward to doing so at UH."

Bly recently served Washington, D.C.'s Arena Stage as a senior dramaturg and oversaw new play development. He is the former associate artistic director at Yale Repertory Theatre and chair of the Yale School of Drama's playwriting program. Bly also handled dramaturg duties for the Seattle Repertory Theatre and the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Minn.

"Mark is one of the most respected dramaturgs in the country," said Steven Wallace, director of the School of Theatre & Dance. "He has advanced the role of dramaturgy, particularly as it relates to the development of new works. We're very excited about his arrival and know his presence will have a significant impact on our students."

Earlier this year, the school announced it was joining forces with the Alley to enhance its graduate program. Beginning fall 2008, M.F.A. students will work alongside the Alley's creative minds to learn the process of creating professional theater.

The UH School of Theatre & Dance's M.F.A. program includes specializations in acting, directing and design. It also offers a Master of Arts (M.A.) in theatre with a focus on history and research, a summer M.A. in theatre that is focused toward secondary school educators, bachelor's degrees in theatre and teacher certifications in dance.

Each fall and spring, the school produces five plays performed in the Wortham Theatre and the Jose Quintero Theatre, two dance concerts, student productions, the New Play Festival, the Houston Shakespeare Festival and the Children's Theatre Festival. The school has benefitted from notable star faculty such as Edward Albee, Lanford Wilson, Sir Peter Hall and Jose Quintero. Among current faculty are Houston Shakespeare Festival founder Sidney Berger, Tony Award-winning playwright Mark Medoff and Tony Award-winning producer Stuart Ostrow.

For details on UH's School of Theatre & Dance, visit

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The University of Houston, Texas' premier metropolitan research and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate, civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and service with more than 35,000 students.