MacArthur Fellows Program

Richard Foreman

Theater Director and Playwright | Class of 1995

Theater Director and Playwright
New York, New York
58 at time of award
Area of Focus
Theatrical Arts
Published July 1, 1995

About Richard's Work

Richard Foreman, a director, a playwright, and a theorist of experimental theater, founded the Ontological-Hysteric Theatre in 1968.

Foreman’s original vision and commitment to developing new theatrical vocabularies have influenced the direction of American avant-garde theater.  He has written and directed over fifty plays, including Rhoda in Potatoland (1975), Film Is Evil: Radio Is Good (1987), My Head Was a Sledgehammer (1994), I’ve Got the Shakes (1995), King Cowboy Rufus Rules the Universe! (2004), and The Gods Are Pounding My Head: AKA Lumberjack Messiah (2005).  He has also directed and designed numerous classical productions for major theaters around the world.  His many publications include Unbalancing Acts: Foundations for a Theater (1993), My Head Was a Sledgehammer: Six Plays (1995), No-Body (1996), Paradise Hotel and Other Plays (2001), and Bad Boy Nietzsche! and Other Plays (2005).


Foreman is the founder and artistic director of the Ontological-Hysteric Theatre and has instituted a project there to train young playwrights and directors.  His plays have been co-produced by such organizations as the New York Shakespeare Festival, the Wooster Group, the Festival d'Autumn in Paris, and the Vienna Festival.

Foreman received a B.A. (1959) from Brown University and an M.F.A. (1962) from Yale University.

Recent News

Richard Foreman has been making theater for forty-three years and is now also making film.

Updated July 2015

Select News Coverage of Richard Foreman
May 16, 2013
"Richard Foreman, at Play in the Theater Lab"
From The Wall Street Journal
Richard Foreman, MacArthur Fellow, 1995
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