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Theatre & Dance

Michele Volansky

Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Theatre and Dance; Program Director – Dance Minor
  • B.A., Washington College, 1990
  • M.A., Villanova University, 1992
  • PhD, University of Hull, 2011

Teaching Areas

  • Dramaturgy
  • Dramatic Theory
  • The Modern Age (1850-1950)
  • Contemporary playwrights (1950-present)


Recent Dramaturgy Work


POOR EDWARD by Jonathan Payne, directed by Katherine Brooky, PlayPenn (workshop)

SENSITIVE GUYS by MJ Kaufman, directed by Rebecca Wright, PlayPenn (workshop)

SCHLUTERSTRASSE 27 by Andrea Stolowitz, directed by Daniel Brunet, PlayPenn/English Theatre of Berlin (workshop)

I KNOW THE ROAD HOME by Sarah Galante, directed by Bill Buddendorf, University of the Arts

A.E. Hotchner Playwriting Festival at Washington University – Guest Dramaturg:

            WE THE CONGRESSMAN by Katie Goldston, directed by William   Whitaker

            LIBRARY LOVE STORY by Rachel Wilson, directed by Paige McGinley

THE DIVINE BUOYANCY OF BEING by Cary J. Simowitz, directed by Henry I. Schvey

HUMAN ERROR by Eric Pfeffinger, directed by Paul Meshejian, PlayPenn

WAR STORIES by Rick Dresser, directed by Paul Meshejian, PlayPenn

SHITHEADS by Douglas Williams, directed by Kevin Glaccum, PlayPenn and Azuka Theatre (workshop)



The Collaborative Playwright: A Practical Guide to Writing Your Play by Michele Volansky and Bruce Graham (Heinemann 2007)

Recent Publications


Invited Contributor, “The Clean House,” Best Plays 2004-2005 (published by Best Plays Theatre Yearbook 2005)

Invited Contributor, “Imagining LMDA: Past, Present and Future,” Theatre Topics, vol. 13, number 1 (March 2003)

Invited Contributor, “Dreams of a Dramaturg” in The Student’s Guide to Playwriting Opportunities - 3rd Edition, Edited by Michael Wright and Christi Pyland (published by The Theatre Directories, a program of American Theatre Works, Inc. 2002)


Michele Volansky is Chair and Associate Professor of Drama at Washington College (MD), from which she earned a B.A. in English. She has worked on nearly 200 new and established plays in her professional career, developing new works by such writers as Sam Shepard, Daniel Stern, Warren Leight, Jeffrey Hatcher, Bruce Graham, Tina Landau, Charles L. Mee and Bruce Norris, along with many others. Her work on Shepard’s rewrite of Buried Child (directed by Gary Sinise) and Dale Wasserman’s One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (directed by Terry Kinney and starring Gary Sinise) earned her two Broadway credits and participation in the Tony Award for Best Revival of Cuckoo’s Nest. She has guest dramaturged at the Arden Theater Company, South Coast Rep, the Atlantic Theatre Company, Victory Gardens and Next Theatre, in addition to her staff time at Actors Theatre of Louisville (1992-95), Steppenwolf Theatre Company (1995-2000) and Philadelphia Theatre Company (2000-2004). Her own play Whispering City was produced as part of the Steppenwolf Arts Exchange Program in the Fall of 1999. Since its inception, Dr. Volansky has served as Conference Dramaturg and Associate Artist for the Philadelphia-based new play development conference PlayPenn. She has served as an artistic consultant for the TCG playwright residency program, a reader for the Eugene O’Neill Center’s National Playwrights Conference and the New York Shakespeare Festival/The Joseph Papp Public Theatre’s Emerging Voices Program, as well as a grants review panelist for Philadelphia-area arts organizations. She is the 1999 inaugural co-recipient of the Elliot Hayes Award for Dramaturgy and was the President of LMDA, the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (2002-2004). Volansky’s book on playwriting and collaboration with Bruce Graham entitled The Collaborative Playwright was published in March, 2007 by Heinemann Press. She holds an M.A. from Villanova University and a PhD from the University of Hull (England); her dissertation explores the politics and advocacy of the critics Kenneth Tynan and Frank Rich.