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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 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 HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT by Suzanne Bradbeer, directed by John Pietrowski, PlayPenn and Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey (workshop)

THE DIZZY LITTLE DANCE OF RUSSELL DIFINALDI by Stephen Bleber, directed by Benjamin Kamine, PlayPenn

HotCity Theatre Greenhouse New Play Workshop (St Louis, MO):

            SUNK by Cory Finlay, directed by Chuck Harper

            MARLA AND HER PRAYERS by Kim Merrill, directed by William Whitaker

            VENGEANCE by Brian Sutow, directed by Annamaria Pileggi


THE FIRST MRS. ROCHESTER (workshop) by Willy Holtzman, directed by Paul Meshejian, New Dramatists

“The Recovery Project” research with America in Play, NYC

THE MOST SPECTATCULARLY LAMENTABLE TRIAL OF MIZ MARTHA WASHINGTON (workshop) by James Ijames, directed by Niegel Smith, PlayPenn (*the production at Flashpoint Theatre in Philadelphia was nominated for a 2013-2014 Barrymore Award for “Best New Play.”


IF I WERE YOU AND OTHER ELVIS PRESLEY SONGS (workshop) by Leah Barsanti, directed by Jeffery Matthews, Washington University, A.E. Hotchner Playwriting Festival

MY TIDY LIST OF TERRORS (workshop) by Jonathan Norton, directed by Melissa Maxwell, PlayPenn

HOPE STREET AND OTHER LONELY PLACES by Genne Murphy, directed by Kevin Glaccum, Azuka Theatre


ALL BLUES by Robert Earl Price, directed by Dale Daigle, Washington College/7Stages (Atlanta)

AMERICAN WEE PIE (workshop) by Lisa Dillman, directed by Jackson Gay, PlayPenn


CLEMENTINE IN THE LOWER NINE (workshop) by Dan Dietz, directed by Aaron Posner, PlayPenn

ANY GIVEN MONDAY (production) by Bruce Graham, directed by Harriet Power, Act 2 Theater/Theatre Exile


SOMETHING INTANGIBLE (production) by Bruce Graham, directed by Terence J. Nolen, Arden Theatre Company
*Production earned 2009 Barrymore Awards for Best Play, Best Overall Production, Best Direction, Best Leading Actor, Best Set Design, Best Lighting Design, Best Costume Design

MY NAME IS ASHER LEV (production) adapted and directed by Aaron Posner from Chaim Potok, Arden Theatre Company


A HUMAN EQUATION (workshop) by Peter Bonilla, directed by Casey Stengl, PlayPenn

HOUSE OF GOLD (workshop) by Gregory Moss, directed by Holly Derr, PlayPenn

THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD (reading) by Lucy Thurber, New Dramatists


THERE OR HERE (workshop) by Jennifer Maisel, directed by Amy Feinberg, PlayPenn

DEX AND JULIE SITTIN’ IN A TREE by Bruce Graham, directed by James J. Christy, Arden Theatre Company


SCARCITY (workshop) by Lucy Thurber, directed by Brian Mertes, PlayPenn

BAD FOR THE JEWS (workshop) by Peter Morris, directed by Danny Stein, PlayPenn

DAUGHTERS OF GENIUS (production) by Evan Smith, directed by Jennifer Childs, 1812 Productions


ACT A LADY (workshop) by Jordan Harrison, directed by Annie Kaufman, PlayPenn

THE OVERWHELMING (workshop) by JT Rogers, directed by Lucie Tiberghien, PlayPenn

DAUGHTERS OF GENIUS (workshop) by Evan Smith, directed by Jennifer Childs, 1812 Productions



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.