Heather McDonald



Theater Faculty

Heather McDonald, Professor of Theater and Head of Playwriting and Dramaturgy Concentration.

Heather McDonald’s plays include An Almost Holy Picture, When Grace Comes In, Dream of a Common Language, Available Light, The Rivers and Ravines, Faulkner’s Bicycle, The Two Marys, Rain and Darkness and, upcoming, The Suppressed-Desire Ball (developed at Sundance Ucross Writers Retreat). Her work has been produced on Broadway and Off and at such theatres as The Roundabout Theatre, Arena Stage, The McCarter Theatre, Center Stage, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Indiana Rep, California Shakespeare Theatre, Round House Theatre, Signature Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre, The Actors Theatre of Louisville – Humana Festival of New Plays, The La Jolla Playhouse and internationally in Italy, Spain, Portugal, England and Mexico.

Her most recent work, STAY, is the result of a two-year collaboration with choreographer Susan Shields. STAY combines theatre, dance, music and SLAM multimedia projections. Working with a group of actors, dancers, a photographer/filmmaker and set and lighting designers, STAY was built in workshops at Theater of the First Amendment, Woolly Mammoth Theatre and was produced at The Shakespeare Theatre at The Lansburgh.

Ms. McDonald wrote the libretto for the opera, “The End of the Affair,” adapted from the novel by Graham Greene. She and composer Jake Heggie (“Dead Man Walking”) were commissioned by Houston Grand Opera and the opera premiered at HGO and went on to have several more productions.

She has also directed many productions, most recently Stephen Adly Guirgis’ “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot,” a steampunk version of “The Elephant Man,” “The Cripple of Inishmaan” by Martin McDonogh and the world premiere of “Two-Bit Taj Mahal” by Paul D’Andrea. The production she directed of “Dream of a Common Language” was nominated for eight Helen Hayes Awards (including Best Direction) and won four Helen Hayes Awards including Outstanding Resident Production.

Her work has been honored with a nomination for the Pulitzer Prize, three NEA Playwriting Fellowships, The First Prize Kesselring Award and was a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. She has written and sold two screenplays “Rocket 88” and “Walking After Midnight” and is at work on a new project for television, “GOLD.” She received her MFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts and is Professor of Theater at George Mason University.

Course List:

THR 380 001 - Playwriting Workshop

THR 482 001 - Advanced Screenplay Workshop

THR 490 001 - Global Understanding Theater LAB


For current syllabi and Theater course listing, click on Academics

For a brochure or more information, email the department at: theater@gmu.edu or call the School of Theater office at: 703-993-1120 or Fax: 703-993-2191

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Revision Date: 08/25/2014

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