Theatre major earns prestigious national fellowship for work as a dramaturg

Mary Morgan Collier

Theatre major earns prestigious national fellowship for work as a dramaturg

In February, senior theatre major Mary Morgan Collier of Athens, Georgia, competed and won the Region IV Student Dramaturg Award from Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas  and the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

Region IV is one of eight regions for the competition, so eight winners are chosen annually.

From there, a panel of experts selected Collier as a national finalist for Region 4 and recipient of a LMDA/KCACTF Dramaturgy Fellowship for her dramaturgical work on last spring’s Georgia College & State University musical production, “Head Over Heels.”

One of only four students in the nation to receive this honor—Collier now heads to the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. for the LMDA/KCACTF National Festival April 22-26. There, she’ll network with professional dramaturgs and participate in workshops, master classes, presentations, discussions and staged readings.

As a national dramaturgy fellow, Collier will have additional opportunities to participate at the O’Neill Playwrights’ Conference in September in Waterford, Connecticut; the New Harmony Project in Indianapolis, Indiana; and the Playwright’s Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

This is the second year in a row, a Georgia College & State University student has won this esteemed fellowship.

“This shows the impressive level of student talent we have at Georgia College,” said Dr. Amy Pinney, associate professor of theatre. “This is a big deal. This means Mary Morgan’s work as a student dramaturg is one of the strongest and most promising in the entire country.”

To participate in the LMDA/KCACTF regional and national theatre festivals, an undergraduate or graduate student must have worked as a dramaturg in a full theatre production, class assignment or new play workshop.

Dramaturgs do primary research as part of a theatre production team.

They work alongside actors and stage management developing new playscripts, giving support and offering advice. They help put plays into historical and culture context, while providing ideas for new approaches, audience engagement, data collection and technological innovation.

About 18,000 dramaturgy students from colleges and universities across the U.S. compete at the regional festival each year. It gives them a chance to develop and improve theatre skills, experiment with new ideas and have their work professionally critiqued.

Collier presented her work at the LMDA/KCACTF regional competition in February, held at Albany State University. As dramaturg last spring for “Head Over Heels,” a musical comedy about the Go-Go’s, Collier read and researched the screenplay, styled on Greek drama. She collected facts about rock-n-roll and punk music. She also created separate information packets for characters the actors played.

Collier presented her research to the actors, stage managers and backstage crew, so everyone understood the play in historical and cultural context.

This semester, Collier is directing a drama production, called “The Feast,” April 3-6, at the Campus Blackbox Theatre. After commencement in May, she plans to pursue a Master in Fine Arts degree  for theatre.

“To be chosen for a national dramaturg fellow is just extraordinary,” Pinney said. “I am consistently impressed with the work Mary Morgan has accomplished during her time here. I expect her career to be exceptional.”

Updated: 2024-04-02
Cindy O'Donnell
(478) 445-8668
Theatre & Dance, Department of