Biography  
Publications  
Production Dramaturgy  
New Play Dramaturgy  
Teaching  
Events  

Poor Lessing's
Theatre Almanack
  

Dramaturging Montreal/ATHE


It's such a relief to work with a dramaturg who doesn't look at my play as something that needs to be "fixed." In the past, interactions with dramaturgs, artistic directors, and critics have sometimes felt like this - "Hey, let's get down to the hardware store and buy the stuff we need to fix your play. Because - you know - it's broken."
  —Toni Press-Coffman,
     playwright




I love my dramaturg because... she pushes me to find myself—and not just my characters—in my process; because she urges me to write what's happening off-stage so that I understand my own plot; and because, through her, I learnt about my professional ancestors, like Lessing, and have come to see myself in a long parade rather than as a lonely writer who's knocking on doors.
  —Matthew Ivan Bennett,
     playwright




I love my dramaturg because it is like going to the play therapist, except the couch is my couch and I get to wear my pajamas. And we can discuss issues and arcs and intentions via phone, skype and email with the same kind of urgency as if they were real circumstances. So while I moan and wring my hands about character motivations and plot devices, she treats them with the same consideration she would (and does) any personal issue. She understands plays are family.
  —Ellen Struve, playwright








Education

Read article about Heather as a guest teaching artist: "Dramaturging Shreveport"

Heather has been a long-time educator and teaches both dramaturgy and directing at the university level. At both Carnegie Mellon and the University of Arizona, she was the Visiting Assistant Professor of Dramaturgy, supervising both undergraduate and graduate-level dramaturgs and teaching world theatre history. While working professionally, she has been invited as guest lecturer at Harvard, Carnegie Mellon, University of Pittsburgh, Duquesne, University of the Arts, and DeSales University. Her research interests were helped when she was the 2008 recipient of the Beatrice, Benjamin and Richard Bader Fellowship in the Visual Arts of Theatre from the Houghton Library.

       In fall 2010, she was a guest director/dramaturg at Eastern University in Wayne, PA. Her dramaturgical training in adaptation informed her approach to their fall production of Nickel and Dimed (based on the book by Barbara Ehrenreich). In addition to expanding the play for eighteen student actors, students also created a photography exhibit with interviews from service industry workers employed by the university to open the dialogue between the production and the community.

       Heather is a teaching artist for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival's Dramaturgy Initiative. Under Artistic Director Gregg Henry and Chair Mark Charney, she responds to student dramaturgy projects in Region IV and VI, and as well as the National Festival in Washington, D.C. She also reads and evaluates new plays for national awards. Her travels have taken her to Norman, OK, Shreveport, LA, San Angelo, TX, and Daytona Beach, FL to mentor promising dramaturgy students.

College-level

Lesley University: Stage & Screen/MFA Playwriting
Adjunct
Spring 2016: Independent Study in Dramaturgy
Fall 2015: Independent Study in Dramaturgy

Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, NY
Graduate Adviser for MA Theatre History program
Fall 2015: "Theory and Practice of Dramaturgy"

Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Visiting Instructor of Dramaturgy
       F12         Graduate Colloquium: World Theatre History
       F12         Dramaturgy 3: Adaptation
       S13         Dramaturgy 2: History and Practice of Dramaturgy
       S13         Special Topics: History of Drama, Contemporary American Theatre

University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
Visiting Assistant Professor of Dramaturgy
       T AR 342                   Ritual & Performance in World Cultures (FA 07/SP 08)
       T AR 463/563            Advanced Topics in Dramaturgy (FA 07)
       Independent Study:     Theory & Practice of Playwriting (FA 07/SP 08)
       T AR 362                   Introduction to Dramaturgy (SP 08)

Other teaching responsibilities include: Supervising student dramaturgs on two Arizona Repertory Theatre main stage productions and three workshop productions, participating on the A.R.T. production (play selection) committee, evaluating B.F.A. and MA dramaturgs. Planned department events such as workshops and a showcase of talent. Created a dramaturgy website to increase opportunities for student writing.

Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
       Teaching Fellow to Prof. Marcus Stern in "Directing" (SP 2007)
       Teaching Fellow to Prof. Nancy Houfek in "Vocal Production for the Stage" (FA 2005)

Harvard Extension School, Cambridge, MA
       Teaching Assistant to Prof. Scott Zigler in "Directing Workshop" (FA 2006)
       Teaching Assistant to Prof. Scott Zigler in "Actor/Director Collaboration: Mamet, Pinter, Beckett" (FA 2006)

Eastern University, Wayne, PA
Guest Director and Teaching Artist (FA 2010)
       Nickel and Dimed: a three act play with 18 actors, directed a seven-week rehearsal process with a community outreach component.




"I had the privilege of being an actor in a play that Heather directed called Nickel and Dimed at Eastern University. From the very first day of rehearsal, I knew that this play was going to be something unique. Heather treated myself and the rest of my cast as equals, and the play quickly became a mutual effort to create something together. Since the play we did was about the low wage work world, the material we were working through could prove overwhelming. I was struck by Heatherís ability to make this process a conversation within the cast.
     Having a larger role, I had the opportunity to work one-on-one with Heather during rehearsals. On a consistent basis, she was patient with me, especially since I had very little acting experience. At the same time, she pushed me to work harder as an actor and see the different possibilities and choices I had in different scenes. Overall, I felt very supported by Heather throughout the play, but could also constantly rely on her for direction. I feel much more secure as an actor after this experience, and much more developed in my experience of the creative process of theatre."
---a junior at Eastern University.


"I had the pleasure of working with Heather on a wide range of projects during her time here at the University of Arizona and the Arizona Repertory Theatre and in all our interactions I found that she brings a keen intelligence, an articulate voice and a generous collaborative spirit to every aspect of her work.

     Heather served as dramaturg on our highly successful production of Titus Andronicus which I directed. Titus can, of course, be a difficult script to grab hold of and make coherent sense of. I found Heatherís knowledge of Shakespeare and her textual analysis skills to be an invaluable resource. We collaborated on editing the script and she was also a strong presence in the rehearsal hall throughout the process. Heather has the ability to assess not only what may be a historical truth but also she has a keen sense of what will read as a theatrical truth, an important skill. Many was the time that she shed a light on the text that clarified it in such a way that it made my job infinitely easier, the actorís work infinitely clearer and the production infinitely stronger."
---Brent Gibbs, Associate Professor and Artistic Director, Arizona Repertory Theatre