John Werner Trieschmann IV (1964–)

John Werner Trieschmann IV is a playwright and professor living in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Trieschmann’s many plays have been staged by Moving Arts in Los Angeles, California; Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York; the New Theatre in Boston, Massachusetts; Red Octopus Productions in Little Rock; and other companies, as well as by countless middle schools and high schools in the United States and abroad. First-prize winner of the Contemporary Arts Center of New Orleans New Play Competition, Trieschmann was also the first playwright to have been honored with the prestigious Porter Prize in Arkansas (1994).

Werner Trieschmann was born on September 9, 1964, in Hot Springs (Garland County), the oldest of four boys. His father, John Trieschmann, was a pediatrician, and his mother, Ann Grisham Trieschmann, was a homemaker.

Trieschmann grew up in Hot Springs, attending public schools, and graduated from Lakeside High School in 1982. Having been born with Gaucher’s disease, a rare enzyme disorder that weakens bones and causes other complications, Trieschmann spent a fair amount of his childhood and teenage years in hospitals, in doctors’ offices, and on bed rest recovering from surgeries. Trieschmann credits this time as teaching him to use his mind to keep himself occupied, fostering his interest in writing.

After high school, Trieschmann entered Hendrix College in Conway (Faulkner County) in 1982 and graduated with a BA in English in 1986. While at Hendrix, studying with Frank Roland and Dr. Rosemary Henenberg sparked Trieschmann’s love of the theatre and led him to pursue playwriting. From 1987 to 1988, Trieschmann studied with Nobel Prize–winning poet and playwright Derek Walcott as he pursued and received an MFA in creative writing (playwriting) at Boston University.

In 1991, Trieschmann returned to Arkansas. The next year, his play Lawn Dart won first prize in the Contemporary Arts Center of New Orleans New Play Competition, and his comedy You Have to Serve Somebody was published by the Dramatic Publishing Company in 1997. As Trieschmann matured as a playwright, he also did some freelance writing of music reviews and features, primarily for alternative newspapers such as the Village Voice, Boston Phoenix, Nashville Scene, and Memphis Flyer.

In 1999, he married Martha Castleberry; the couple has two children.

From the late 1990s to 2013, Trieschmann published plays, both full-length and one-act, with the New York publishing company Playscripts and with Dramatic Publishing Company in Illinois. These published plays have been staged more than 100 times per year, mostly by middle schools and high schools in the United States, as well as by schools and theatre companies in Canada, England, New Zealand, Romania, Japan, and Italy.

The TheatreSquared theatre company in Fayetteville (Washington County) commissioned Trieschmann to write about an Arkansas subject in 2009. He chose to research the life of photographer Mike Disfarmer, and versions of what would later become the full-length play, Disfarmer, were read or performed as part of the Arkansas New Play Festival in 2009, 2011, and 2013. In 2014, as part of the inaugural ACANSA Arts Festival, director Bob Hupp and a cast that included John Lenartz of New York City and Arkansan Natalie Canerday performed the finished play for the first time. In conjunction with the play’s production, the festival also hosted an exhibit of Disfarmer’s photographs.

In August 2012, Trieschmann joined the full-time faculty of University of Arkansas-Pulaski Technical College.

For additional information:
“Werner Trieschmann.” Playscripts. (accessed September 8, 2021).

Sandy Longhorn
Pulaski Technical College


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