• Headshot of Professor Oliver Mayer
  • Oliver Mayer

Oliver Mayer

Professor in Dramatic Writing
Associate Dean of Faculty & Strategic Initiatives


Oliver Mayer is the director of the MFA Program in dramatic writing, a professor of dramatic writing, associate dean of strategic initiatives and associate dean of faculty at the USC School of Dramatic Arts.

Mayer is a playwright, poet and librettist, whose new opera 3 Paderewskis, composed by Jenni Brandon, received its world premiere at Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center in November 2019, as well as in Poznan, Poland and on the USC campus. Their new musical Amour Fou is currently in development. He is the author of more than 30 plays, from his ground-breaking Blade to the Heat to its long-awaited sequel Members Only. New plays include Ghost Waltz (commissioned by the Latino Theater Company), The Dragon Tree, and Letters from the Black Sea (commissioned by the Getty Villa). Other produced plays include Blood Match and Yerma in the Desert, inspired by the plays of Federico Garcia Lorca; Fortune is a Woman, The Wallowa Project, Dias y Flores, Dark Matters, Conjunto, Young Valiant, Joy of the Desolate, The Sinner from Toledo, Laws of Sympathy and Ragged Time. Mayer also wrote the libretto for the opera America Tropical, composed by David Conte, and the book for Blue House with music and lyrics by Perla Batalla and David Batteau. He writes essays regularly for Zocalo Public Square, and has written a book of poetry entitled Body Languages. He also wrote the children’s books Big Dog on Campus Learns to be a Trojan, and its follow-ups Big Dog on Campus Goes to the Library and Big Dog on Campus Goes on Patrol.

On campus, he has received several university honors, including the USC Associates Award for Excellence in Teaching, Phi Kappa Phi Faculty Recognition Award, and a Mellon Mentoring Award for mentoring undergraduates. His writing has received various awards, including The American Prize for new opera.