UI Theatre Arts Centennial Media Information


Quick Facts

  • Founded as the Department of Speech when eight dramatic clubs joined forces in 1920, the UI Department of Theatre Arts is one of the oldest theatre programs in the country.
  • Our commitment to new work began under the founding leadership of E.C. Mabie, with approximately 15 new works by graduate and undergraduate students produced and another 25 new plays presented as readings every year.
  • Our playwrights are Obie, Emmy, and Writers Guild award winners, Tony award nominees, Pulitzer Prize finalists, MacArthur Fellows, and winners of playwriting awards across the nation. Their works have been developed and produced on Broadway, off-Broadway, in regional theatres, and internationally.
  • Since the mid-1970s, the department has been producing the Iowa New Play Festival (title has changed over the years), an annual week-long festival of centered on producing, reading, and analyzing new scripts from the Iowa Playwrights Workshop.
  • Established in 1992, the Partnership in the Arts Program supports the creation of major new works of theatrical art by bringing professional artists to campus to collaborate with faculty and students to develop new work.
  • E.C. Mabie Theatre was one of the most technologically advanced in the country when it opened in 1936. In 1985, the multi-space addition to the E.C. Mabie Theatre to create the Theatre Building continued a legacy of technological advancement, which goes on to present day through our commitment to digital arts.
  • Black Action Theatre was established in 1968, with a mission to expose Iowa audiences to African American culture and promote knowledge and understanding to people of different backgrounds. Now known as Darwin Turner Action Theatre, the social outreach component of the department, it is more culturally and socially inclusive and presents dynamic, thought-provoking pieces of theatre for social and cultural awareness.
  • In 2014, our department launched the Big Ten Theatre Consortium’s initiative to commission plays by outstanding American female playwrights.

Media Photos

Photos for use by the media, including captions and credit information, can be found here: UI Theatre Arts Centennial Media Photos.

Media Contacts

The following playwrighting alumni have agreed to be contacts for the media. Contact information and bios are available upon request by contacting Kristan Hellige at kristan-hellige@uiowa.edu.

David Adjmi
Keith Josef Adkins
Lee Blessing
Scott Bradley
Rick Cleveland
Rebecca Gilman
Kirsten Greenidge
Samuel D. Hunter
Marisel Treviño Orta
Jen Silverman

The following Department of Theatre Arts faculty members have agreed to be contacts for the media.

Art Borreca, Co-Head of Playwrights Workshop, Co-Head of Dramaturgy

Mary Beth Easley, Chair of the Department of Theatre Arts, Associate Professor, Head of Directing

Alan MacVey, Director of the Division of Performing Arts, Professor, directing & acting