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Join us for a day-long conference on October 1, 2016. The event includes panel discussions, artist roundtables, guest speakers, and chances to see new work development in action.

Designed for theater makers--but open to all--we'll be engaging Chicagoland artists in all aspects of new work, from considerations in acting and directing to issues of diversity in casting and the role of the critic.

With forty years of new play development experience, Chicago Dramatists is opening its doors and resources to theater artists to start targeted conversations on the craft of playwriting. 

General registration is free; select events have an admission fee.

Join us for the whole day or select programming. Register here



·      9-10 a.m. Coffee and Check-In
·      10-11:30 a.m. The Critic and New Play Development: 
Panelist include Chris Jones, Kerry Reid, the Dueling Critics, and Hedy Weiss.

·      11:45 a.m.-1 p.m.        Morning Sessions - choose one
o   Color-Conscious Casting for New Work
o   How to Effectively Moderate Discussions
o   Incorporating Designers in the New Play Development Process
o   Sample Playwriting Class with a Resident Playwright (TBD)

·      1-2 p.m. Lunch and Information Sessions
·      2:15-3:45 p.m. Afternoon Sessions - choose one
o   Open Rehearsal: RUTHERFORD’S TRAVELS
o   Acting in Readings: A Crash Course
o   Directing Readings: A Crash Course
o   Playwrights and Readings: Getting the Most Out of the Process
o   Sample Playwright Class with a Resident Playwright (TBD)

·      4-5:30 p.m. Keynote Event: In Conversation with Lydia Diamond
·      5:30-7:30 p.m.  Dinner and Drinks
·      7:30 p.m. DEAD CHILDREN by Resident Playwright Robert Tenges
A Grafting Project partnership with side project theatre company 

Saturday Series

Most Saturday Series events are public readings of plays-in-progress, but other events include panel discussions and fireside chats with visiting artists. All plays are directed and rehearsed, but are presented with minimal staging. After each reading, audience members are invited to join in a moderated post-reading discussion.

August 27, 2016  
THE CROONER
By Resident Playwright Marsha Estell

September 3, 2016  
LABOR DAY WEEKEND - NO READING

September 10 , 2016  
Solo Show: From Page to Stage
Join us for  work-in-progress solo shows from Resident Playwright Arlene Malinowski's solo class.

Looking for a description of each play? Click here.  

Chuck O'Connor Memorial

Tuesday, August 30 at 7 p.m.
Russ Tutterow Theatre

Please join us at Chicago Dramatists in celebrating the life and work of fellow playwright and long-time Network and Scene Shop member Chuck O'Connor.

The evening will begin with staged readings of Chuck's work:
  • Opening scene of Miracles in the Fall, winner of the Dionysus Cup, Polarity Ensemble Theatre
  • High Hard Ones, 10-minute play, finalist for the Heideman Award, Actors Theatre of Louisville

After the readings, we'll share favorite memories of Chuck. The evening will conclude with an Irish wake in the lobby. Please bring liquid refreshments to share.

Register for Classes

Each quarter, Chicago Dramatists offers a variety of courses. Spring classes have started, but there are still sessions available.  Visit our upcoming classes page to view a summary of each course along with prices and meeting times. 

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