Melissa Cooper is an award-winning playwright whose plays and adaptations have been commissioned and produced at theaters around the country, including Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Dallas Theater Center, Portland Stage Company, East Los Angeles Classic Theater, San Diego Repertory, Echo Theater (Dallas), Asolo Theater and Coterie Theatre (Kansas City). Plays include Red Badge Variations; NYC Coyote Existential (a play with songs and science); Little Medea; Antigone Now; Nothing But Music; Mirandolina; and The Sternheim Project. Ms. Cooper's four ventriloquist plays, including Tales From the Jack Wood: a solo duet for a girl and her dummy and A (ventriloquial) Christmas Carol, were presented in NYC at Coney Island USA, Limbo Lounge, West Bank Cafe, PS 122, BACA Downtown, and Cornelia Street Cafe as well as at Seattle's Empty Space.
As Resident Dramaturg/Artistic Associate at Dallas Theater Center and Portland Stage Company, Ms. Cooper co-founded and produced two long-running annual festivals of new and experimental theater: Dallas's Big D Festival of the Unexpected and Portland's "a little festival of the unexpected." Her extensive work as a production dramaturg includes a wide range of new plays and classics as well as the Obie Award-winning premiere of Mac Wellman's Terminal Hip at P.S. 122 and Salzburg Marionette Theater's international touring production of The Sound of Music. Ms. Cooper has taught or directed at Amherst College, Smith College, University of Massachusetts, Mount Holyoke College, Hampshire College, Boston University Theater Institute, and Southern Methodist University.