July 31-August 5, 2017
Masquer Theatre


For two decades writers have been coming to Missoula to share their expertise, passion, and enthusiasm for writing.

We’ve shared stories and knowledge in the beauty of Montana summers. Hundreds of plays have been read, and dozens have gone on to production on stages all across the nation.

This year our guests are Deborah Zoe Laufer, Larissa FastHorse, and John Biguenet. All three professionals will teach a master playwriting class during the week. We will also conduct panel discussions and John Biguenet will deliver a keynote address. The evenings will feature staged readings of new plays. We will read a new piece by each of the guest writer/teachers, and at the end of the week we will stage readings of pieces written by the workshop students. The students will not only participate in the master classes, but will also be paired with one of the guest writers for one-on-one sessions.

We hope you will join us for the Missoula Colony’s 22nd celebration of the playwright’s craft!

To learn more, please contact Salina Chatlain at (406) 243-6809 or by email.


Founded in 1996 by Michael Murphy, Marsha Norman, and Montana Rep Artistic Director Greg Johnson, the Missoula Colony is both a place and an idea. The Colony convenes at the University of Montana in Missoula, where five gorgeous Rocky Mountain valleys and three stunning rivers converge. Missoula is a place blessed with incredible natural beauty—a place where writers from all over the world gather to celebrate the art and craft of writing for the stage and screen.


John Biguenet has published nine books, including Oyster, a novel, and The Torturer’s Apprentice: Stories, released in the U.S. by Ecco/HarperCollins and widely translated, as well as Silence and The Rising Water Trilogy most recently; six of his plays have been produced nationally. His work has received an O. Henry Award for short fiction and a Harper’s Magazine Writing Award among other distinctions, and his poems, stories, plays, and essays have been reprinted or cited in The Best American Mystery Stories, Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, The Best American Short Stories, Best Music Writing, The Best of the Best, Contemporary Poetry in America, Katrina on Stage, and various other anthologies. His work has appeared in such magazines as The Atlantic, Esquire, Granta, Image, The New Republic, North American Review, Oxford American, Playboy, Southern Review, Spolia (Berlin), Storie (Rome), Story, The Sun, Tin House, and Zoetrope. Named its first guest columnist by The New York Times, Biguenet chronicled in both columns and videos his return to New Orleans after its catastrophic flooding and the efforts to rebuild the city.

Biguenet’s radio play Wundmale, which premiered on Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Germany’s largest radio network, was rebroadcast by Österreichischer Rundfunk, the Austrian national radio and television network. Two of his stories have been featured in Selected Shorts at Symphony Space on Broadway, the Long Wharf Theatre, and elsewhere. The Vulgar Soul won the 2004 Southern New Plays Festival and was a featured production in 2005 at Southern Rep Theatre; he and the play were profiled in American Theatre magazine. Rising Water was the winner of the 2006 National New Play Network Commission Award, a 2006 National Showcase of New Plays selection, and a 2007 recipient of an Access to Artistic Excellence development and production grant from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as the 2007 Big Easy Theatre Award for Best Original Play. Shotgun, the second play in his Rising Water trilogy, premiered in 2009 at Southern Rep Theatre, with subsequent productions at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater and Florida Studio Theatre, both in 2010, and other theaters; it won a 2009 National New Play Network Continued Life of New Plays Fund Award and was a 2009 recipient of an Access to Artistic Excellence development and production grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Shotgun is published by Dramatists Play Service, Inc. Mold, premiering at Southern Rep Theatre in 2013, completed his trilogy of plays about the flooding of New Orleans. The trilogy has had over 25 productions and readings around the country and been the subject of articles in American Theatre, The American Scholar, and elsewhere; it was published as The Rising Water Trilogy by Louisiana State University Press in 2015. He was awarded a Marquette Fellowship for the writing of Night Train, which he developed on a Studio Attachment at the National Theatre in London and which premiered at New Jersey Rep Company in 2011. After performances at five new-play festivals and reading series, Broomstick won a National New Play Network Continued Life of New Plays Fund Award, premiering in an extended run at New Jersey Repertory Company in 2013 and going on to be produced at Montana Repertory Theatre, Southern Rep Theatre, Fountain Theatre (Los Angeles), and Artists Repertory Theatre (Portland). In 2008, Biguenet was named Theatre Person of the Year at the Big Easy Theatre Awards, the region’s major professional theater awards. He received the Louisiana Writer Award, the state’s highest literary honor, in 2012. Having served twice as president of the American Literary Translators Association and as writer-in-residence at various universities, he is currently the Robert Hunter Distinguished University Professor at Loyola University in New Orleans.

Larissa FastHorse is an award-winning playwright, director, and choreographer based in Santa Monica. Larissa’s produced plays include Urban Rez (Cornerstone Theater Company), Landless (AlterTheater), Average Family (Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis), Teaching Disco Squaredancing to Our Elders: a Class Presentation (Native Voices at the Autry), Vanishing Point (Eagle Project) and Cherokee Family Reunion (Mountainside Theatre). Her new comedy, The Thanksgiving Play, will be produced at Artists Rep and Capital Stage next season.

Additional theaters that have commissioned or developed plays with Larissa include Kennedy Center TYA, Baltimore Center Stage, Arizona Theatre Company, Mixed Blood, the Center Theatre Group Writers’ Workshop, and the Ground Floor at Berkeley Rep. Larissa was awarded the PEN USA Literary Award for Drama, NEA Distinguished New Play Development Grant, Joe Dowling Annaghmakerrig Fellowship, AATE Distinguished Play Award, Inge Residency, Sundance/Ford Foundation Fellowship, Aurand Harris Fellowship, the UCLA Native American Program Woman of the Year, and numerous Ford and NEA Grants. She is a current member of the Playwrights Union, Director’s Lab West 2015, Theatre Communications Group board of directors, Playwrights’ Center Core Writers, and is an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Sicangu Lakota Nation.

Deborah Zoe Laufer’s play, Informed Consent, opened at the Duke on 42nd Street, a co-production of Primary Stages and Ensemble Studio Theatre, in August 2015. An Alfred P. Sloan Foundation commission through EST, it first received productions at Cleveland Playhouse and Geva Theatre Center. Her works have also been produced at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Portland Stage, and eighty other theaters around the country, in Germany, Russia and Canada. End Days was awarded The ATCA Steinberg citation and appeared at Ensemble Studio Theatre through a Sloan Grant. It received a rolling work premiere through the National New Play Network, and went on to receive over 50 productions after that. Other plays include Leveling Up, Sirens, Out of Sterno, The Last Schwartz, Meta, The Three Sisters of Weehawken, Fortune, The Gulf of Westchester, Miniatures, and Random Acts. Deb is a recipient of the Helen Merrill Playwriting Award and the Lilly Award and grants and commissions from The Edgerton Foundation, the NEA and NNPN. Her plays have been developed at PlayPenn, The Eugene O’Neill NPC, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Ojai, The Missoula Colony, The Cherry Lane Alternative, The Dramatists Guild, New Georges, The Lark, Asolo Rep, and the Baltic Playwrights Conference. She is a graduate of The Juilliard School and a member of The Dramatists Guild.

The Guest Artists | Colony 22
John Biguenet
Larissa FastHorse
Deborah Zoe Laufer

The Colony Company
Salina Chatlain | Producer

Montana Rep
Greg Johnson | Artistic Director

Agnes Ranjo Capps Scholarship
Award Recipients:
2015—Elizabeth Dement
2014—Francine Volpe
2013—Vickie Ramirez
2012—Melssa Ross
2011—Diane Glancy
2010—Deborah Zoe Laufer
2009—Lauren Feldman
2008—Nicole Burdette
2007—Molly Rice