- MFA in Writing
BiographyMICHAEL KINGHORN has spent the bulk of his career writing and developing new plays. He has led the literary departments of three regional theaters: the Guthrie, Arena Stage and the Alliance Theatre, where he directed the GroundWorks new play program. Michael's original plays include: Personal Surveillance; The Meanwhile Figure; Paper Scissors Rock; Midgi and Manzi Live in America, and Eating Placebos. His adaptation of the "lost" Sophie Treadwell play, Intimations for Saxophone, premiered at Arena Stage in 2005 (with developmental workshops at SITI Company and New York Theatre Workshop). He has translated plays by Brazilian dramatists Vinicius de Moraes (Black Orpheus), Luis Alberto de Abreu (Thief of Women), Ricardo Torres’s one-acts (Death over the Mud and In Pieces), and has written (or devised) adaptations of fiction by Anton Chekov (Enemies, Lizanka) and Henry James (Never Give a Lady a Restive Horse). Michael recently completed a commission for the History Theatre of St. Paul entitled The Dreamy Kid (about actor Lew Ayres). Other recent writing projects include the book and lyrics for a musical called P.G. and the comedy sequel called Limited Partnership, Ltd. As a freelance dramaturg, Michael has consulted on dozens of plays at The Playwrights' Center (including PlayLabs), The Kennedy Center, Studio Arena Theatre, Theatre Emory, Horizon Theatre (Atlanta), History Theatre (St. Paul) and Off-Broadway for Ideal Entertainment, Inc. Michael has taught acting at AMDA in New York City, Connecticut College in New London and the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts in Washington, DC. He has taught playwriting and led writing workshops at Young Playwrights, Inc., the Alliance Theatre, Atlanta; the Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis; the Writers' Center in Bethesda, MD and National American University in Bloomington, MN. Michael holds the BFA degree in theater from the University of North Dakota, the MFA in Dramaturgy from the Yale School of Drama. He was a Jerome Playwriting Fellow at the Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis in 1984 (where he continues to work today as a freelance dramaturg and occasional director).
“My approach to teaching playwriting is a straightforward one. I help students develop a methodology for learning to write their own kind of plays and prepare them for the collaborative process. While I can't teach students how to write a box-office success, I can direct their theatrical instincts, advise them on craft and technique and suggest strategies for improvement. As a new play professional I employ a holistic approach to mentoring playwrights, based on the kind of collaboration that happens in new play development today. I understand the demands actors and directors place on new plays and model those approaches in the mentor/playwright relationship.”