Aoise Stratford, a visiting assistant professor in Performing and Media Arts, was named the 2017 Blaine Quarnstrom Guest Playwright at the University of Southern Mississippi in January. Stratford spent five days on the Southern Mississippi campus at the beginning of the year giving public talks, having her work read and teaching a series of intense hands-on playwriting workshops for students across the undergraduate and graduate programs in theatre and English.
In addition to this residency, Stratford has been honored with numerous fellowships and awards such as the Pinter Review Prize for Drama, the Susan Glaspell Award and the Yukon Pacific Playwright Award, and was recently in residence at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh.
Bringing these past experiences with her, Stratford found her University of Southern Mississippi residency rewarding as it allowed her to engage with new writers. “Unlike some of the other recent residencies and awards I have been fortunate enough to enjoy, this wasn't about a specific play of mine,” Stratford said. “Rather, it was more about my work teaching and mentoring new writers, and about my career and process as a playwright.”
For Stratford, the fellowship was an opportunity to teach master classes and engage in discussions over the state of American theatre and about her work as a playwright, scholar, feminist and educator.
Along with teaching at Cornell, Stratford is currently designing a new course, working on two new plays, revising a journal article and working on a monograph about contemporary women playwrights.