Current Students

M.F.A. in Playwriting


Lydia Blaisdell

A woman with short hair and a sleeveless dress

Lydia Blaisdell is an M.F.A. candidate at the Michener Center for Writers with a focus on playwriting and screenwriting. She’s a proud member playwright of Youngblood at Ensemble Studio Theater and the Brooklyn-based writers’ collective, Krïstïanïa. In 2013, she received a Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant to travel to Vienna and Berlin to research her play, The Silent Woman. Her short plays have been seen at Youngblood brunches, the Cherry Pit, and in a resort on Lake George. Lydia received her B.A. in English Literature from Columbia University in 2009.


Reina Hardy

Reina Hardy is a playwright from Chicago who recently fetched up in Texas. She's a Michener Fellow at UT Austin, a 2013 finalist for the Terrence McNally Prize, the recipient of the 2012 Interact 20/20 Commission, and a National New Play Network Playwright. Her plays, which usually contain magic and sometimes contain science, have been seen across the country, including at Rorschach Theatre in DC, Capital Stage Sacramento, Orlando Shakespeare, and the Great Plains Theatre Conference, where Reina was awarded the Holland New Voices Award. She spent part of summer 2013 at the Kennedy Center, workshopping The Claire Play, which was presented at the NNPN National New Play Showcase in December 2013. In Fall 2014, two of her plays premiered in Austin: Glassheart with the Shrewds at Salvage Vanguard, and Stars and Barmen at the Vortex. Her TYA play, Annie Jump and the Library of Heaven, went up at UT Austin in Spring 2014. Her play A Map to Somewhere Else will go up at the 133rd Street Arts Center, NYC with Everyday Inferno in June 2014.   Reina will return to the Vortex in January 2015 for Changelings, a spectacle about family, fairies and theft.


Joanna Horowitz

A woman with long dark hair and glasses

Joanna Horowitz is an M.F.A. Playwriting candidate in the Department of Theatre and Dance. Joanna comes to Austin by way of Seattle where she made plays as a writer, actor, and country singer with companies including Seattle Repertory Theatre, On the Boards, Annex Theatre, Balagan Theatre, 14/48: The World's Quickest Theater Festival, Macha Monkey, Capitol Hill Arts Center, and Live Girls! Theater. Her country musical, 100 Heartbreaks, was workshopped in Seattle Rep's New Play Program, with the Northwest Playwrights Alliance, and was presented at the country’s largest arts and culture festival, Bumbershoot. An avid cook and eater, Joanna was an original member of the Seattle collective Playwrights Kitchen. Joanna spent nine years as a music writer for the Seattle Times.


Brian Kettler

Brian Kettler

Brian Kettler is a second year M.F.A. Playwriting candidate in the Department of Theatre and Dance. He is a graduate of Kenyon College and The National Theater Institute. His full-length plays, Personal and In School Suspension, were workshopped at Portland Center Stage as part of the JAW: Made in Oregon Festival. He is a recipient of the 2012 Oregon Literary Fellowship in Drama. Brian is also a theater educator, and has worked at several elementary schools throughout the Portland area.


Abe Koogler

A man with a white collared shirt

Abe Koogler is a third-year playwright at UT Austin's Michener Center for Writers. He creates darkly funny, linguistically strange, character-driven theatrical worlds. His plays have been developed at Kitchen Dog Theatre, the Great Plains Theatre Conference, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Black Swan Lab. His short play Fruit was most recently performed at The ArtsCenter in North Carolina. Abe received the Theatre Masters’ Visionary Playwrights Award, and is a Playwrights Center Core Apprentice. Abe’s full-length play Kill Floor won the Kennedy Center’s Paula Vogel Award. Abe is a co-artistic director of Underbelly, a vagabond theatre company. He has also worked as a journalist and a political consultant. He was born and raised in Washington State.


Brian Oglesby

Brian Oglesby

Brian Oglesby (who writes under the pseudonym "Briandaniel Oglesby") is a Playwright in the Theatre and Dance Department. His play Halfway, Nebraska took part in Playwrights Week at the Lark in 2012. His short plays have been three-time National Finalists for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, as well as finalist for the Humana Festival Heideman Award. He curated The Coming Out Monologues at UC-Riverside for three years. Also a fiction writer, his short stories have been published in ZYZZYVA, Arroyo, and New California Writing, among others.

He was Literary Manager for Barnyard Theatre for 10 years, a company that produces new plays in this old barn surrounded by alfalfa fields.

He's first generation American on his mother's side, and hails from Davis, California. Despite the picture, he's usually clean-shaven and wearing a button shirt.


Patrick Shaw

Patrick Shaw

Patrick Shaw writes plays, acts, dances, and makes music.  His scripts have been produced at The Flea, the Drilling Company, Galapagos Art Space, Cherry Pit, Hudson River Guild, Flushnik Art Space, Bradley University (Peoria), Gorilla Tango (Chicago), and the Frontera Fest (Austin).  A Miracle Study and Autobiography of a Sparrow, and Lushly have all been semifinalists for the National Playwrights Conference, and his play, HAMLETTES, was a finalist for the Lark Workshop and was later published by Playscripts, Inc.  A graduate of Kenyon College and the National Theater Institute, Patrick has regularly performed with Spessard Dance, Bakerloo Theatre Project, and the Duplicates.  He was a founding member of FullStop Collective in NYC. Learn more about Patrick Shaw and his work.


Diana Lynn Small

A woman with short dark hair and a blue top

Diana Lynn Small is an M.F.A. candidate in the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin focusing on playwriting and poetry. She writes, acts, and directs for the stage. She is a songwriter and singer. Diana’s made theatre with Westmont College (Muéveme Muévete, Beauty Bomb, They Must Be WingsJupiter I Love You, Songs for Girls), UT Austin (Suspicious Dinner, Be Still and Know Nothing), Theatre Masters (Dogfight), the Santa Barbara Museum of Art (We’re Still Kids), Ratatat Theater Group (Nina in the Morning), FronteraFest (Mad & a Goat) and ZACH Theatre (Dream: A Midsummer Forrest Tour). She’s a member of the Lit Moon Theatre Company. She co-formed the music collective, Patience, which premiered its rock-narrative Water Will Rise in 2010. She fronted the Santa Barbara girl-pop band Sheanderthal. Diana returns to stories about the American West, past and present. She grew up in Martinez, California.


Eva Suter

Eva Suter

Eva Suter is a Northwest based playwright and poet and current M.F.A. candidate through the Michener Center at UT Austin. As a founding member of Portland, OR's The Working Theatre Collective, she worked with the company as a writer, director, and the occasional bicycle-riding-mustached villain. Among other things the WTC produced her trilogy of plays about unfortunate Greek women of myth. In Austin, Eva's work has ranged from haunted shopping malls to action movies for the stage to plays about science, sisters, and rethinks on OthelloMedusa, A Perfectly Normal Girl was awarded the Portland Drammy for best new play in Spring 2011. In January 2013 she was awarded the Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship in Drama. And in Spring of 2014 she will be a participant in the Theater Masters short play conference. Her work has appeared throughout the Northwest, at one East Coast bible college, and as far flung as the UK and Japan. Eva is the host of the Beer and Cookies occasional Cabaret, rides a bike, bakes bread, and probably thinks too much about the comparative merit of different grocery stores.