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  • Alumni Alexander Phillips’ film All Jacked Up and Full of Worms (which he wrote and directed), was awarded Special Jury Mention for Best Debut Feature at Fantasia Film Festival, and is screening at multiple festivals across the country, including the Chicago International Film Festival.
  • An adaptation of The Seagull by Thomas Bradshaw (faculty) will premiere off-Broadway in 2022 at the New Group Theatre
  • Brett Neveu (faculty) is adapting the screenplay to Eric LaRue, a movie based on Neveu’s play of the same name that debuted in 2002 at A Red Orchid Theatre in Chicago. The film is set to be Michael Shannon’s directorial debut.
  • The Tattooed Lady book by Erin Courtney (faculty) and Max Vernon, with music and lyrics by Max Vernon, directed by Ellie Heyman will have its World Premiere at Philadelphia Theater Company in November of 2022.
  • Zayd Dohrn’s (faculty) podcast Mother Country Radicals will have its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in June of 2022.
  • Thomas Bradshaw (faculty) received a Special Citation of Excellence from the Laurents/Hatcher Foundation for his play Redemption. The play is a commission from The National Theater in London.
  • Eliza Bent (faculty) had her hybrid short In Service of Memory performed by Project Y’s Women in Theatre festival. 
  • Dave Tolchinsky (faculty) is the writer and director of award-winning film Cassandra, which was curated onto, Apple and Amazon, and is now seen all over Italy. He was also one of the producers of Night’s End, directed by Jennifer Reeder and written by Brett Neveu, funded and distributed by Shudder/AMC. 
  • Nayna Agrawal (MFA WSS ‘15) is currently an Executive Story Editor on a live action Netflix series.  


  • Eliza Bent (faculty) shot her first short film Summer’s Last Swim with photographer and filmmaker Noah Sheldon. Her theatre ensemble Half Straddle had its Broadway premiere with IS THIS A ROOM.
  • Erik Gernand (faculty) had a world premiere of his new play Year One at Premiere Stages in Union, NJ. Erik’s recent short film Sundown (writer/director) had its world premiere in Spain at LesGaiCinemad, the Madrid LGBTQ film festival, and went on to play multiple festivals around the world including One World – International Queer Film Festival.
  • Thomas Bradshaw (faculty) was one of seven award-winning playwrights included in the Seven Deadly Sins, an outdoor theater experience in New York City in June of 2021.
  • Ann, Fran, and Mary Ann by Erin Courtney (faculty) was published by 53rd State Press in 2021.
  • Carrie Barrett (MFA WSS ’09) and her co-creator, theatre alum Katy Fullan wrote and starred in a series of shorts based on their self-produced short, “Chowder.” Several of these shorts can be seen in various episodes of Cake on FX and Hulu. Previously, Carrie & Katy wrote and starred in Luxury, a micro-series for Adult Swim’s Smalls. Luxury was produced by Abso Lutely Productions including producer, Dan Millstein (RTVF ’09)
  • Michael Kastelein (MFA WSS ’14) will return to the show for Season 3 of Apple TV+’s Truth Be Told starring Octavia Spencer, Kate Hudson and Ron Cephas Jones as a Supervising Producer, writing the 4th and 9th episodes, after being the on set Writer / Producer for Season 2.
  • Dolores Díaz’s (MFA WSS ’19) Zulema was produced by Goodman Theatre — in partnership with Sones de México, the Chicago Park District, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Chicago Latino Theater Alliance (CLATA), and the National Museum of Mexican Art — and enjoyed a tour of the Chicago Parks District with a finale in Millennium Park.
  • Jen Spyra (MFA WSS ’12) debuted a short story collection, Big Time, in March 2021, with Random House. It is a Starred Booklist book, features a foreword by Stephen Colbert, and received praise from Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling, Simon Rich, and Jack Handey.


  • Will Arbery (WSS ’15) was named the single Whiting Award Winner of 2020. Will was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his play, Heroes of the Fourth Turning, which premiered at Playwrights Horizons in New York.
  • Sarah Gubbins (WSS ’08) wrote the screenplay for Shirley, a biographical film about noted horror writer Shirley Jackson, directed by Josephine Decker. The film won the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award at Sundance and was picked up for distribution by Neon.
  • Dave Tolchinsky (faculty) wrote, directed, and scored the thriller Cassandra, seen at festivals internationally, winner of 10 awards including best short and best director, and distributed internationally by Alter (
  • Exal Iraheta (WSS ’19) was selected for the prestigious Playwrights Unit at The Goodman Theatre. His play They Could Give No Name was chosen as a finalist for the O’Neill’s 2020 National Playwrights Conference, finalist for the Judith Royer Excellence in Playwriting Award, and was an honorable mention for the American Playwriting 2019 Foundation’s Relentless Award.
  • Ariel Stess (faculty) adapted parts I and II of her play Kara & Emma & Barbara & Miranda into an audio experience for Active Listening, a New Dramatists podcast series. She performed in and directed the audio piece, which was featured on 3Views on Theater. Her high school dramedy I’m Pretty F*cked Up was produced as a virtual play by The Theatre School at DePaul University
  • Eliza Bent (faculty) wrote and performed in the Zoom theatrical Karen, I said, in co-productions with New Georges and All for One Theater. The New York Times praised it as a “wicked satire.”
  • Zayd Ayers Dohrn (faculty) optioned his short story EMPATHY MACHINE to Netflix. Dohrn is attached to write the feature adaptation for director Francis Lawrence (Hunger Games, Red Sparrow)


  • GOODNIGHT, TYLER by B.J. Tindal of Northwestern University’s MFA in Writing for Screen + Stage program is the 16th competition winner of The Alliance/Kendeda Competition and had its world premiere on the Hertz Stage February 16 – March 10, 2019.
  • MFA Faculty Member Honored By Variety Magazine. MFA faculty member, Zina Camblin was included  in Entertainment Education: Top Teachers in Film, TV and More.
  • Welcome to Jeb Stuart! We’re excited that in September, Jeb Stuart, screenwriter of Die Hard and The Fugitive, will be joining us as Writing for Screen + Stage/RTF faculty.


  • Netflix ordered an original Indian pilot written by alumna Marisha Mukerjee (Class of ’11).
  • NU and RTVF are well represented in New City’s Chicago Film 50 with RTVF Chair and Director of the Northwestern University MFA in Writing for Screen + Stage Dave Tolchinsky and Northwestern University MFA in Documentary Media program director Debra Tolchinsky checking in at #7 on the list. Landing on the cover of the NewCity issue as Film Leader of the Moment is Aymar Jean Christian, a courtesy appointment of RTVF. NU alum/Music Box co-director Brian Andreotti is #12 on the list and NU alum/Siskel Film Center Director of Public Programs Amy Beste checks in at #30.
  • The Greenhouse Theater Center has established the MC-10 Playwrights Ensemble, a group comprising some of Chicago’s most prominent “mid-career” playwrights, and will commit to producing at least one play by a member of the group in every season, beginning with the 2018–2019 slate. MC-10 members include Northwestern faculty members Thomas Bradshaw, Zayd Dohrn, Rebecca Gilman, Brett Neveu, and Laura Schellhardt.

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