Darrah Cloud

Faculty, MFA in Creative Writing Program
Residency Site: Plainfield VT



Darrah Cloud is currently working on Turning, commissioned  by Centenary Stage and NJPAC, a play about the first U.S. women’s Olympic gymnastics team; the musical adaptation of Willy Holtzman’s play, Sabina, with composer Louise Beach; American Siddhartha with director Nick Demos and composer David Newman (Durga Das); and Understudy Jesus, a play about the actors who perform in The First Original American Passion Play. Recent productions include: Our Suburb, premiere Theater J, Washington, DC, Joan the Girl of Arc, premiere Cincinnati Playhouse, What’s Bugging Greg?The Stick WifeThe Mud AngelDream HouseBraille Garden, and The Sirens. Musical productions include HeartlandThe Boxcar ChildrenHonor Song for Crazy Horse, and the stage adaptation of Willa Cather’s O Pioneers!, filmed starring Mary McDonnell for American Playhouse. She has won numerous awards, including the Macy’s Prize for Theatre for Young Audiences, an NEA, and a Rockefeller. She has had over 10 movies-of-the-week produced on CBS and NBC, is a proud alum of the Iowa Writers Workshop and New Dramatists, and conducts A Howl of Playwrights, a new play development group in Rhinebeck, NY.


MFA in Poetry, Iowa Writers’ Workshop, University of Iowa
MFA in Playwriting, Iowa Playwrights Workshop, University of Iowa
BA in Liberal Arts, Goddard College

Areas of Expertise

  • Dramatic Writing
  • Screenwriting
  • Libretto
  • Poetry
  • Creative Nonfiction
  • Fiction
  • Graphic Novel

Personal Statement

From childhood on, I actively searched for a religion to which I felt I belonged. I tried the Big Three; I chanted with Buddhists; I visited the B’ahai. Meanwhile, my mother constantly took us out of school for matinees downtown: I saw Eve Arden rave in The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, Sandy Dennis run her fingers through raw hamburger in And Miss Reardon Drinks A LittleAs You Like It, with a whole bunch of old people in it, The Organic Theatre’s famous mostly-nude adaptation of Animal Farm, with a whole bunch of young people in it, Oliver!, and a million high-school productions of Oklahoma!. When I graduated from Goddard College in the late ‘70s, I thought I had found my true religion: poetry. This was because I got into the Iowa Writer’s Workshop in Poetry, and I thought it was a sign.

A week into grad school, I realized that sitting around all day writing poetry was not enough for me. Also, I could not quote Yeats. I had wasted my youth on horses, odd jobs and road trips, and couldn’t quote one great writer, let alone a poet. I was an embarrassment to myself. I avoided facing this by enrolling in a course called Basic Playwriting taught by a grad student named Lee Blessing. When the head of the Playwriting Department suddenly quit his job, he was replaced in a matter of hours by an insane Scottish playwright named Tom McGrath, whose exquisite play, The Hard Man, was a huge influence on me, and subsequently by Phil Bosakowski, who taught us that plays were agile things which could be written in a matter of minutes, put on by oneself, and moved on from, like stepping stones, to new places. To me, it seemed like writing a play was just a matter of pumping up a poem. Thus began my journey towards Theatre, my passion, the temple, the church where I belong.


  1. Whats Bugging Greg?
    What's Bugging Greg?Premiered at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park2011
  2. Snow White
    Snow White (Musical Adaptation)Disneyland2007
  3. Hearts Are Wild (Rock Musical) City Theatre, Pittsburgh2006
  4. Heartland (Musical)
    HeartlandMadison Rep Theatre and Dallas Summer Musicals2004
  5. O Pioneers!
    O Pioneers! (Musical Adaptation) The Acting Company2004
  6. The Stick Wife
    The Stick Wife (Play)Dramatic Play Publishing1996