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Hollins University
Graduate Center
PO Box 9603
Roanoke, VA 24020-1603
(540) 362-6575
(540) 362-6288 (Fax)

New Play Directing Certificate

New Play Directing Certificate Details

The Playwright's Lab professional training certificate program in New Play Directing is designed to provide graduate-level instruction from leading theatre professionals along with practical experience in playmaking for students who not interested in obtaining a terminal degree. This certificate program is designed to be completed in two six-week summer sessions. Applications are ongoing, with a deadline for all materials falling on the February 15th prior to the start of each cycle. No more than 10 candidates are selected to participate.

Requirements for the certificate:

  • 28 credits are required.
  • The certificate must be completed in two consecutive summers, during which time the candidates take courses in the following focus areas: Analytical (8 credits total), Creative (16 credits total), Collaborative (4 credits total)
  • Students are expected to seek out opportunities to put their lessons into practice and update their professional portfolios, submitted for review at the end of each summer.

Courses for the Certificate in New Play Directing

Students enrolling in the New Play Directing certificate program will complete a total of 28 credits. Courses required for the certificate follow:

Summer I

  • THEA 520: Narrative Theory and Dramatic Structure (4)
  • THEA 510: Playscript Analysis and Criticism (4)
  • THEA 524: Directing New Plays (4)
  • THEA 561: Directors and Playwrights in Collaboration (2)

Summer II

  • THEA 523: Viewpoints and Composition (4)
  • THEA 5XX: Company Creation and Management (4)
  • THEA 5XX: Design on a Dime (4)
  • THEA 5XX: Directors and Playwrights in Collaboration (2)

Fees and financial aid

Tuition for the 2016 summer term is TBD per credit hour or TBD for the normal load of three (3) four-credit courses and one two (2) credit course for the term. Student loans are available. To apply, applicants should indicate their financial need on the application for admission. If tuition were to remain the same in 2016, the total tuition cost would be $19,152. Students would also have paid $162.50 in technology fees ($85 per summer).

New students must pay a nonrefundable deposit of $400 within two weeks of their acceptance. Returning students must pay a nonrefundable deposit of $200 by May 15. All deposits will be credited toward summer tuition charges.

Students interested in financial assistance should contact the Office of Scholarships and Financial Assistance. They can be reached at (540) 362-6332 or by email at sfa@hollins.edu.


Housing during the 2016 summer term is available in student apartments (private bedroom with shared living room, kitchen and bath) and dormitory rooms (communal kitchen and one bath per hall). The cost is TBD for the six-week term. Housing is assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

To apply

Candidates must submit a letter of intent, stating how they anticipate the certificate program will be of benefit to them in the profession. Candidates must have at least a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university. That degree need not be in the field of dramatic arts, though because of the intensive nature of the program applicants must demonstrate prior experience in the theatre if that is not their degree field. Applicants must give evidence of their capacity to undertake the certificate program by undergraduate record, submission of artistic portfolio including reviews, resume and such other support as the candidate deems relevant along with three letters of recommendation. They may also submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination, but the GRE is not required. A nonrefundable application fee of $40 must be submitted with the application.

For the certificate program, Hollins will not accept transfer credits from other universities. If a certificate student has previously taken a required certificate course while at another institution (for example, Viewpoints Training), the student may request (with permission of the program director) to take one of the MFA playwriting program course offerings as a substitute.

The application deadline for this cycle is February 15, 2016, though occasionally circumstances will enable review of an applicant after that date. The application form, transcripts, letters of recommendation, other materials, and $40 nonrefundable processing fee should be sent to:

Playwright's Lab c/o Hollins University Graduate Center
P.O. Box 9603
Roanoke, VA 24020-1603
Phone: (540) 362-6575
Fax: (540) 362-6288
Email: hugrad@hollins.edu

For program questions, contact the director, Todd Ristau, at (540) 556-5396 or tristau@hollins.edu.

(Photo, above: Bob Moss directing Susanna Young '09 in Mill Mountain Theatre production of The Arctic Circle, by M.F.A. playwright Samantha Macher)