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Press Release: Prominent Playwright/Screenwriter/Producer Joins Local Arts Writer in Conversation

Craig Wright and Dominic Papatola discuss the intersection of art and spirituality June 5 at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities

Craig and Dominic.png(NEW BRIGHTON, Minn., May, 2017)—Craig Wright’s plays have been produced around the country in dozens of productions – from Minneapolis’ Jungle Theater to Broadway. He’s received a Helen Hayes Award, an LA Drama Critics Award and the 2009 Horton Foote Excellence in American Playwriting Award. He’s known as writer and producer of hit TV series, Six Feet Under, Brothers and Sisters, The United States of Tara, and now, Greenleaf with Oprah Winfrey. He’s also a distinguished alum of United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. And on Monday, June 5, he’ll visit his alma mater for a special evening, In Conversation: Craig Wright with Dominic Papatola. The event, free and open to the public (with advance registration), will be held from 7-9pm in the United Chapel, 3000 5th St. NW in New Brighton.

Los Angeles-based Wright is known for weaving theological depth into all his work, whether for stage or screen. He once said that “being a writer and a minister aren’t such different jobs, both are creative outlets for articulating questions” (The Oregonian).

Papatola, who’s covered the arts for publications ranging from the St. Paul Pioneer Press to The New York Times, is also a United alum. Papatola and Wright will talk about the intersection of the arts and spirituality in the context of today’s community. Both have gone very far in their careers to have significant impact in the entertainment field.

Wright’s Minnesota connections are strong. He attended St. John’s College in Collegeville and apprenticed at the Children’s Theater before receiving a Jerome Playwriting Fellowship. While attending United, he wrote two well-received plays (The Pavilion and Orange Flower Water), which launched his career. Those plays, along with his first play, Molly’s Delicious, and Melissa Arctic are all set in Pine City, Minnesota.

Cindi Beth Johnson, United Professor in the Practice of Theology and the Arts, said, “As a place that concerns itself with the big questions of meaning and human condition, we’re thrilled to have two of our illustrious alumni in conversation about why spiritual reflection is important to the arts.”

Advance registration is requested. Reservations can be made online at For more information, visit or call 651.255.6138.

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Craig Wright’s
gift of writing was recognized early in life being awarded a Jerome Fellowship at age 21. He has maintained close ties with the Playwright Center and had several plays produced at The Jungle Theater and around the country. Wright moved onto bigger projects with plays such as Recent Tragic Events, Adventures While Preaching the Gospel of Beauty and The Pavilion. Wright is also known for his work in television, writing and producing such HBO hits as Six Feet Under, Brothers and Sisters and Lost. In addition, he has been writer/producer for Dirty Sexy Money and Tyrant. Currently, Craig is writing and producing Greanleaf, with Oprah Winfrey airing now on OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) and Netflix.

Dominic Papatola is, by day, a senior program officer with the Otto Bremer Trust, a St. Paul-based philanthropic organization serving Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin. By night, Papatola is the theater critic for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, and has covered the arts landscape for publications ranging from American Theatre to the New York Times. He has taught arts journalism across the country and served as juror and chair for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama numerous times. A graduate of United, Dominic Papatola also serves as a member of its Arts Advisory Committee.           

Founded as a welcoming, ecumenical school that embraces all denominations and faith traditions, United has been on the cutting edge of progressive theological thought leadership since it was established in 1962. Today, United continues to train leaders who explore the transformative power of the arts, dismantle systems of oppression, explore multifaith spirituality, and push the boundaries of knowledge. Learn more at


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