Mary Ruth Clarke

I believe in meeting students where they are, at every level, and listening to what it is they yearn to learn – what are the pains and fears and mysteries of the writing process they struggle with?   I believe in laying a base of core competency in idea development and process, structure, visual thinking, character building, and dialog skills – tools which paradoxically allow a writer to get to the fun imaginative stuff in the stories they want to tell.  I believe writing is often a lonely process, and that sharing our work in a nurturing, respectful classroom environment helps us all grow our stories.


Mary Ruth Clarke co-wrote and starred in the original Meet the Parents and co-adapted it into the blockbuster version, starring Robert De Niro.  Her dramedy teleplay Broadway, Ohio is under a short option, and has also advanced to the second round at the Sundance Episodic Lab 2020.  

Her play Bonhoeffer’s Cost has been produced at the Beacon Theater (Philadelphia), the Provision Theater (Chicago), and The Agape Actors Co-op (Austin, Texas).  Her farce Suffer The Long Night, co-written with her “Meet The Parents” partner, Greg Glienna was also produced at Agape, and at Meta Theater (Los Angeles).  Her play Address Unknown was produced in Chicago by 20% Theater Company, and by Fury Theater. Her solo performance, I Could Kill Him For Dying, ran at Three Cat Productions (Chicago). Her play Zap: An Unauthorized History of the Microwave Oven has been produced five times around the country. Her almost one-woman musical, Fay Burns! had a 28 Hour Workshop.  

Saturday Series staged readings include her teleplay Broadway, Ohio, Alice and Celia and Whatever It Takes, and her play Right In Front of Us. Mary Ruth is a screenplay consultant for clients in LA and Chicago. She is a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists, where she teaches screenwriting and TV writing, and also teaches screenwriting at Story Studio. She’s a regular guest lecturer at the Chicago Screenwriters Network monthly meet up and recently ran workshops for the Off Campus Writer’s Group, the Chicago Independent Film Project, Renaissance Theaterworks Milwaukee, and the Michigan City library. She is a member of the Writer’s Guide of America East and the Dramatists Guild.