About Marie Kohler

Director, writer, actor, dramaturg and award-winning playwright, Marie Kohler is a long-time member of the professional Milwaukee theater community. Kohler is Resident Playwright and a co-founder of Renaissance Theaterworks, where she served as Co-Artistic Director from 1993 to 2012. She is a freelance writer for local and national publications, and has been Playwright Respondent and Director Respondent at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. 

Kohler is a member of Dramatists Guild, Chicago Dramatists Workshop, The Playwrights’ Center, Actors' Equity Association, and the Wisconsin Society of Arts and Letters, and serves on the board of the Wisconsin Humanities Council.

Raised in Wisconsin, Kohler holds a BA from Harvard University (magna cum laude) and an MA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her curiosity and passion for the written word as well as her enduring love of theater and nature inspire her work. She lives in Milwaukee and Spring Green with her actor husband, Brian Mani. Together they have three grown daughters and seven grandchildren.


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Milwaukee Arts Board
"Artist of the Year"


Named “Artist of the Year” by the Milwaukee Arts Board, Marie Kohler has written six plays, five of which have been professionally produced and received significant recognition.

  • WITCH HOUSE, Kohler's most recent playwriting venture, is currently in development. It was named a finalist for both the Todd McNerney Playwriting Award and the Wisconsin Wrights Play Festival.

  • THE DIG was nominated for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize (along with BOSWELL’S DREAMS and COUNTING DAYS).

  • BOSWELL’S DREAMS was named “Best of the Year” by Milwaukee Magazine in 2005.

  • MIDNIGHT AND MOLL FLANDERS University of Wisconsin-Parkside production was invited to KCACTF Region III Festival, Madison, WI, 2019. Earned “Best New Play of 2000” from Milwaukee Magazine. In 2018 it was named a semifinalist in Southeastern Louisiana University's Inkslinger playwriting competition.

  • COUNTING DAYS earned a nomination for the American Association of Theater Critics’ “Best New Regional Play.”

  • Published by YouthPLAYS! A GIRL OF THE LIMBERLOST, an adaptation from the novel, earned honorable mention for the Beverly Hills Theatre Guild’s Julie Harris Playwright Award. Purchase Play