Theater Begins Here 

John Olive

Email the Playwright

Core Writers 2009 //  Core Writers 2008 //  Core Writers 2010 //  Core Writers 2011 //  Core Writers 2012 //  Core Writers 2013   

John Olive is a widely produced and award winning playwright, a novelist, a screenwriter and a popular teacher of creative writing.

His plays include: Standing on my Knees, Minnesota Moon, The Voice of the Prarie, Evelyn and the Polka King, Killers, The Summer Moon, The Ecstasy of St. Theresa, Careless Love, and many others. Producing theaters include: the Manhattan Theatre Club, Old Globe, Steppenwolf, Wisdom Bridge, South Coast Rep, Alley Theater, the Guthrie, Actors Theatre Of Louisville, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, ACT/Seattle, and many others.

Lately John has written many plays for young audiences, both adaptations and originals: Sideways Stories from Wayside School, Johnny Tremain, Jason and the Golden Fleece, The Magic Bicycle, Pharaoh Serket and the Lost Stone of Fire, Water Babies, among others. These plays have been widely produced, at Seattle Children's Theatre, First Stage Milwaukee, Stage One Louisville, Oregon Children's, the Arden Theatre, People's Light and Theatre Co., Dallas Children's Theatre, Main Street Theatre, and others.

Awards include: Jerome Fellowship, McKnight Fellowships, National Endowment For The Arts Fellowship, Bush Fellowships, Society of Midland Authors Award For Drama (Standing on my Knees), Kennedy Center Award For New Plays (The Summer Moon), Rockefeller Residency (Wisdom Bridge). John has written screen and teleplays for: Disney, Amblin Entertainment, ShadowCatcher Entertainment, Yorktown Productions, Lorimar Television, among others. He has developed material at the O'Neill, Sundance, New Harmony Project, PlayLabs, etc. John has two prose projects going: a YA novel called Smartass and a nonfiction book about bedtime stories, Tell Me A Story In The Dark. Currently, John teaches screenwriting at the University of Minnesota.

He lives in Minneapolis with his wife Mary and their son Michael.

His website is:

Search for published plays by John Olive...



Marooned devils Michael and Catherine discover a peasant girl who may be their ticket back to hell. But the more Catherine manipulates her, the more entranced she becomes by the girl’s passion. Combining epic scope and subtly drawn characters, God Fire explores the tie between spirituality and sexuality in the woman who would come to be known as Joan of Arc.

Read the Dialogue interview with John Olive about God Fire!

The Other End of Nowhere


The Other End of Nowhere is an adaptation of the classic children's novel The Water Babies, written in 1863 by Charles Kingsley.

A Slaying Song Tonight


A Slaying Song Tonight is a full blown musical, a holiday play, a sweet love story about an axe murderer. The play takes place in the 1920s in Ghost Lake, Minnesota, across the lake from Canada in what is now called the Boundary Waters.

The Deflowering of Young Father Trimleigh


In 1968, a wealthy and famous writer walks away from a locked psychiatric hospital in order to recover his stolen notebooks — and solve a murder.



Join us Wednesday, June 5, at 3 p.m. for a free public reading of Core Writer John Olive's new play SINGAPORE.

No tickets or RSVP necessary - just show up! The Playwrights' Center is at 2301 E Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis.

Director: Rick Shiomi
Cast: Christina Baldwin*, Kurt Kwan, Tracey Maloney*, Michael Sung-Ho

*Member of Actors' Equity

bottom rule

©2002-2014 The Playwrights' Center / All Rights Reserved | 2301 East Franklin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55406-1099 | Privacy Policy | Terms and Conditions