Quite a discussion going on at Theatre Ideas about MFA programs. I recommend it.
EDIT: My opinion? I've debated the merits of applying to an MFA program. Obviously, there are some intangible career benefits to an MFA. Take a look, for example, at this recent post. I made light of it, but the fact is...an MFA seems to make agents and theater's take a person's work more seriously or even crack it open.
On the other hand, an MFA is a costly several years of one's life. I don't personally, no matter the career benefits, like the idea of spending a tremendous amount of money and time for connections and to prove that I'm dedicated to, I don't know, a literary manager. I've seen work coming out of MFA programs and work by people who've never had formal playwriting "training." It's rarely apparent to me that the MFA has made someone a better writer.
Would that we lived in a meritocracy!
That is not to say playwrights with MFAs are not talented or haven't made the right decision. I see a strong argument for an MFA. I reserve the right to suddenly change my mind. But, as of right now, it seems like the main argument for an MFA is about commerce, not art.
- Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.