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Idaho's Caisley Named Playwright in Residence at U of Southern Miss.

Robert Caisley

Robert Caisley, University of Idaho Associate Professor and Head of Dramatic Writing in the Department of Theatre Arts, has been chosen as a playwright in residence for the 2011 Blaine Quarnstrom Playwrights Series at the University of Southern Mississippi. 

The USM Quarnstrom Series showcases playwrights whose work has been produced nationally and who are committed to teaching playwriting. 

Former playwrights who have served as playwright in residence or have participated in the  Series include Gary Garrison, Executive Director of Dramatist’s Guild of America, and educator/playwrights Kia Corthron, Dawson Moore, Beth Lincks and Pulitzer Prize-winner Beth Henley. 
 
The goal of the Series is to give students direct access to a professional playwright. To facilitate that exchange, the program provided Q&A sessions with Caisley that were open to students and the general public. Caisley’s duties also included leading intensive writing workshop sessions, rehearsals, and a public presentation of excerpts from selected works. 

Caisley also penned a new one-act comedy, “HUNGRY 4 U,” which premiered at the Woods Theatre in Hattiesburg as part of the event.

Each year the playwright in residence structures four consecutive Writing Workshop sessions around his or her own interests.  Caisley planned workshops that focus on dramatic structure, writing effective dialogue, the art of the monologue and a lecture entitled “First Aid for Playwrights: The Seven Deadly Sicknesses of Playwriting.”  The workshops and presentations took place on the USM campus Jan. 26 – 30, 2011.

The Series residency also provides an opportunity for faculty and staff to meet the visiting playwright, to share ideas on teaching playwriting, etc.

“I’m honored to be named as this year’s playwright,” says Caisley. “Frustrated playwrights frequently bemoan the state of new writing in the American Theatre, and point to the lack of developmental opportunities around the country.  I personally believe that the number of theatres, training programs, residencies, writers colonies, new play festivals and developmental workshops is at an all-time high. The Blaine Quarnstrom Playwrights Series is a wonderful example of the opportunities available to foster new work for the stage. I’m extremely grateful to The University of Southern Mississippi, Lou Rackoff and the USM Department of Theatre and most especially George C. Calhoun, whose patronage has made this event possible.  I’m really looking forward to visiting Hattiesburg, rolling up my sleeves and getting to work with those young playwrights.”

Caisley’s full-length plays include “The Lake,” which ran at Walnut Street, Philadelphia and Mill Mountain Theatre, Roanoke, VA; “Kissing.” staged at the New Theatre, Miami and Phoenix Theatre Festival of New Works; and “Santa Fe,” which premiered at StageWorks/Hudson in New York and was a finalist for the 2004 Heideman Award.

SANTA FE & OTHER SHORT PLAYS by Robert Caisley is now available on Amazon.