Welcome to this year’s Blaine Quarnstrom Playwright Series!

About the Playwriting Series

Founded in 2006, The Blaine Quarnstrom Playwrights Series fosters the writing of dramatic literature by students from both the Theatre and English programs.  The goal of the Series is to foster student writing through Q&A sessions and creative writing workshops led by a leading American playwright. Over a single weekend, the playwright in residence structures four consecutive writing workshops derived from personal writing methods and techniques. In the past these sessions have focused on format writing for ten-minute plays, crafting expressive dialogue, and conceiving and developing effective structure and engaging characters.

We invite student participants of all levels with interests in creative writing for theatre.

This year, the series will be virtual, and all sessions will take place on the Zoom platform. As such, this year the usual lunches and reception will not take place. See below for Zoom information.

Date //

January 21 – 7:30 p.m. – Opening
January 22 – 10:00 a.m. – Q & A
January 24 – 11:30 a.m. – Closing


Featured Playwright MJ Kaufman

MJ Kaufman is a playwright and television writer from Portland, OR.  Their work has been seen at the Public Theater, WP Theater, Huntington Theatre, New York Theater Workshop, the New Museum, NAATCO, Clubbed Thumb, Playwrights Realm, Colt Coeur, Yale School of Drama, Lark Play Development Center and InterAct Theater, among others. Their work has also been performed in Russian in Moscow and in Australia.

MJ received the 2017 Helen Merrill Emerging Writers Award, 2013 ASCAP Cole Porter Prize in Playwriting, the 2013 Global Age Project Prize, and the 2010 Jane Chambers Prize in Feminist Theatre.

MJ has held residencies at the MacDowell Colony and SPACE on Ryder Farm and is currently a resident playwright at New Dramatists.  MJ has been a member of the Public Theater’s Emerging Writers’ Group, WP Theater Lab, a core playwright at InterAct Theatre and a playwriting fellow at the Huntington Theater.

An alum of Wesleyan University and Yale School of Drama, MJ has taught playwriting at Fordham University, Wesleyan University, SUNY Purchase College, the University of the Arts and as a teaching fellow at Yale College.

MJ curated the 2016 and 2017 seasons of Trans Theater Fest at The Brick and, along with Kit Yan, founded Trans Lab Fellowship, a program to support emerging transgender theater artists.

They were recently a staff writer on seasons 1 and 2 of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on Netflix.



Opening //

January 21 – 7:30 p.m.

Meeting ID: 990 7300 4461



State of American Theatre Q&A //

January 22 – 10:00 a.m.

Meeting ID: 930 8434 4471



Closing //

January 24 – 11:30 a.m.

Meeting ID: 925 3910 4480



Faculty and Staff //


Robin Aronson – Professor of Voice and Acting

Theresa Bush– Assistant Professor of Costume Design

David Coley- Assistant Professor of Theatre, Producer

Craig Dettman– Associate Professor of Lighting and Sound Design, Production Manager

Wes Hanson– Scene Shop Supervisor

Monica Hayes– Professor of Acting, Head of Performance

Caitlyn Herzlinger– Assistant Professor of Movement and Acting

Leketha Hughes– Administrative Specialist

Kelly James-Penot– Costume Shop Supervisor; Adjunct Faculty, Costumes

Stephen Judd– Professor of Scenic Design, Head of Design and Technology

Jay Morris– Assistant Professor and Technical Director

Louis Rackoff– Professor of Directing, Head of Directing

Sandra Whittington– Administrative Specialist



This performance is made possible by:


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