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Emerson Alumnus, Faculty Named Huntington Playwriting Fellow

MJ Halberstadt’s passion for playwriting began when he wrote his first play at age 15. He chased this passion throughout college and his career, writing several plays. Most recently, his passion secured him a spot as one of Huntington Theater Company’s 2017 Playwriting Fellows.

Halberstadt ’10, an affiliated Visual and Media Arts faculty member, said he has been applying for this fellowship since he arrived in Boston in 2007 because he thinks the program is one of the best playwriting programs in Boston that focuses on new writers.

“I’ve always seen it as a reach, and I’m still flabbergasted that I got it,” said Halberstadt, whose play The Launch Prize won a 2016 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding New Script.

Halberstadt said he sees the fellowship as a great way for him to work with talented actors and staff members. He said he hopes his writing will improve and he will learn more about himself and his creative process through the program.

He is also looking forward to engaging in the theater community, as well as with Brenda Withers, the other 2017 Playwriting Fellow, he said. He said he hopes the program will allow him to make connections with artists outside of the fellowship and will help him grow as an educator.

Halberstadt uses his writing to address social issues—especially issues regarding privilege—using humor. He has written plays examining white privilege and cisgender privilege.

Currently, he is writing a play that addresses the way white gay men engage with the rest of the LGBTQ+ community, an issue he has wanted to write about since he came out. He is also interested in addressing climate science.

He said he wants to continue working to make these difficult themes more accessible for his audiences.  

“I hope to build up my canon to address even more of the themes I engage with,” Halberstadt said.



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