New Cohort begins Summer 2024
Under special circumstances permission to begin certificate programs in off years may be given by the program director.
The New Play Directing Certificate provides practical experience in playmaking with an emphasis on the specific skills unique to new play development. It offers graduate-level instruction from leading theatre professionals. The certificate in new play directing develops strong candidates for employment in professional, regional, or academic theatres. Highly respected directors, performers, playwrights, and theatre professionals teach in the program. It’s associated with the Playwright’s Lab at Hollins University, an internationally recognized graduate program in playwriting.
New Play Directing
Students complete their certificate in play directing in two six-week summer sessions.
In their first summer, directors learn:
- The basics of how new plays are conceived and written
- How to analyze a script for production
- How to collaborate with playwrights and performers on new plays
Directors in their second summer:
- Take a viewpoints and composition course along with playwrights and actors
- Learn how to form and manage their own company devoted to new play production
- Learn how to design production elements in a variety of stages on a variety of budgets
- Learn how to build on methods of collaboration
Each year of the two-year program, directing students will direct a play for our Playwrights Festival, and have their work seen by over a dozen industry professionals.
The program works with Roanoke’s Mill Mountain Theatre and a growing network of theatres around the country that specialize in new play development.
Each year we produce, in collaboration with Mill Mountain Theatre, two to four plays by Hollins playwrights as part of the Winter Festival of New Works, and we work to bring back our student performers, directors, and playwrights for those productions — providing transportation, accommodations, and a small meal stipend. These plays are frequently selected for regional and national recognition through KCACTF. Some have even transferred to other theatres around the country.
New Works Initiative
A fund that offsets the costs related to producing work by Hollins’ student playwrights. Students in the New Play Directing Certificate program can apply for production assistance whenever they are directing work generated by Hollins playwrights.
A Bold Approach to New Work
“Hollins directors concentrate on making work, and that’s why they are getting work.”
– Todd Ristau, program director, Playwright’s Lab at Hollins University
A 21st Century Sensibility
“When you are directing a new play, the hardest thing for a director is to put into his or her mind that you’re not supposed to showcase your directing skills… what you’re supposed to do is to set up a framework in which the playwright can see their play. To see the things they are questioning about the play, and the things you are questioning about the play.”
– Dominic Taylor, 2019 Bob Moss resident professional teaching artist
Lauren Brooke Ellis discusses her Hollins experience as a student and as a director.
Cost & Applying
Summer 2023 tuition: $865 per credit hour or $12,110 for the normal load of three four-credit courses and one two-credit course for the term.
- Technology fee: $138 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.
Application Deadline: February 15
Want to Know More?
Todd Ristau, director of the Playwright’s Lab at Hollins University, is happy to answer your questions.