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Residency Artist - Creative Writing


Tony Dallas

421 N. Stafford St.
Yellow Springs, OH  45387
Phone: (937) 767-1067

I am a playwright and theatre director. A student in a Dramatic Literature class I was teaching came up to me -- the blaze of revelation in his eyes -- and said, "I've been reading all these books about philosophy and comparative religion: there they talk about the important ideas; in theatre you experience them." He was right. A good play creates a kind of understanding compassion. As an artist in residence I have taught students how to write a short play in one act. I see my job as helping students, through the form of the one act play, to better understand and articulate whatever reality or ideas they are trying to express. The skills learned in the process are numerous: basic writing skills; how to write a play; and, most importantly, to care about probing an idea or situation sufficiently to arrive at a place of cathartic understanding. In this process, especially when the plays are performed before an invited audience, students learn the pride of validation. As playwriting transforms information into experienced reality, that practice can be applied by students to any discipline -- mathematics, history, science, a foreign language. I have worked with elementary through high school age children, college students and adults.

I think my favorite residency involved collecting stories from over twenty adults who grew up in the Ohio Soldiers' and Sailors' Orphans' Home in Xenia, Ohio. I worked much of the transcribed material into a play script, then directed this play, which was presented to both the general public and the orphans who grew up in the Home.

I have written plays for a children's theatre, for junior and high school age kids, and I have written plays for adults. I am one of the founders of the Human Race Theatre Company. For more than twenty years I have been directing and writing plays and teaching all manner of theatre courses at colleges and universities throughout Southwestern Ohio. I received a BA in Creative Writing from University Without Walls; I received my MA in Playwriting from Brandeis University. I have received three Individual Excellence awards from the Ohio Arts Council.

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