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Sylvan Oswald

Head of Playwriting; Associate Professor

Sylvan Oswald is a writer and artist working at the intersection of theater and live art. His language-driven plays, texts, publications and videos unravel narrative forms to explore how we construct our identities.

Recent projects include Trainers, a theatrical essay; High Winds, a live show adapted from the artist’s book he co-created with Jessica Fleischmann (X Artists’ Books, 2017); Outtakes, a web series; and A Kind of Weather, a play, which will premiere at San Diego’s Diversionary Theatre in 2020. Other plays include Sun Ra (Joe’s Pub), Profanity (Undermain Theater, Dallas; Nightlands (New Georges), Pony (About Face Theater, Chicago) and Vendetta Chrome (Clubbed Thumb).

Oswald is a 2019 Guggenheim Fellow in Drama and Performance Art. Additional honors include the Dorothy B. Strelsin Playwriting Fellowship at Soho Rep, the Rosati Fellowship from Duke University Libraries, the Thom Thomas award from The Dramatists Guild, a Jerome Fellowship from The Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, and residencies at Sudance/Ucross, Macdowell Colony, Yaddo, Bau Institute/Camargo, and The Millay Colony for the Arts.

His interest in new approaches to playwriting led to Play A Journal of Plays (2003-2011), which he co-published with Jordan Harrison; and the Experimental Text Festival at the Ontological-Hysteric Theater (2007), which he co-curated with Jennifer L. Tsuei; and the major essay “Cut Piece” at Three Hole Press. Other theater writing appears in Imagined Theatres (Routledge), Fifty Playwrights on Their Craft (Methuen); Audience (R)Evolution (TCG), Osmos, The Best American Non-Required Reading 2014PAJFactorialEncyclopedia and The Brooklyn Rail. Oswald also works on issues facing trans artists in theater.