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Upcoming events

    • 18 Mar 2019
    • 06 May 2019
    • 8 sessions
    • Chicago Dramatists
    • 2
    Registration is closed

    Live Storytelling Workshop
    with Instructor Janna Sobel 

    Live Storytelling is a trendy new form of spoken-word performance, occurring in theaters, bars, house events and all over public radio. But it is also the oldest form of performance there is. Storytelling belongs to all of us, and it lives in our DNA. This class helps you remember how to do it brilliantly. The 8-week workshop empowers writers, stand-up comedians, leaders, public speakers - everyone! - to tell compelling, entertaining personal stories. We use the 5-10 minute format of popular live storytelling events, and give you tools to bring your truth and presence to the stage with confidence, skill, and joy. 

    In a dynamic, supportive environment, you will learn to:

    • apply narrative structure to personal stories
    • use dramatic elements to heighten tension and raise stakes
    • use sensory and descriptive detail to bring listeners into a moment
    • theatricalize stories with character, humor and staging
    • hone your unique voice
    • be emotionally honest
    • tell the (sometimes challenging, always important!) truth
    • interact beautifully with an audience
    • honor time limits, and accomplish what you want within any venue's parameters
    • start and end strong

      Classes consist of playful games and exercises that are skill-building and generative, followed by inquiry and discussion. Students will also perform and receive feedback each week. Each student will craft and revise three different stories over the course of the term. Through the process of revision, students hone their work and witness the unique perspective that each teller brings to the stage. The class will culminate with a Chicago-style Live Storytelling event!

      Prerequisite: None

      For more information on Janna, please click here.

      Sessions/Weekday 8 Mondays
      Start/End Date Mar 18 - May 6
      Time Slot 6:30pm-9:30pm
      Notes
      • 21 Mar 2019
      • 25 Apr 2019
      • 6 sessions
      • Literacenter, 641 W. Lake St.
      • 7
      Register

      The Rewrite 
      Instructor: Instructor: Resident Playwright Kristin Idaszak

      Playwriting is rewriting. This class will approach the rewriting process from a variety of angles. Playwrights will tackle rewriting challenges from a structural perspective as well as a more metaphorical, image-driven approach. Writers will work on identifying the heartbeat of their play, tracking information and ideas throughout a script, and strengthening elements of their plays such as character development, dramatic action, and narrative drive. This course is for anyone with a full draft of a full-length play they want to work on. Playwrights will bring in sections of the play throughout the course to address specific questions and problem areas. Whether it's your first play or just your most recent, this course is designed to reinvigorate the revision process and provide new perspectives on areas wherever you feel stuck.

      Sessions/Weekday 6 Thursdays
      Start/End Date Mar 21 - Apr 25  (6 sessions) 
      Time Slot 6:30pm - 9:30pm
      Notes

      About the Tier 2 Advanced Track

      Comprising the Writers Studio’s advanced sequence, students will develop complex characters through actions and consequences, use dramatic language to enhance the world of the play, differentiate between plot and story and how to apply them through the use of time, employ the use of image as a dramatic tool to enrich conflict, and devise dynamic worlds on stage that involve components beyond dialog such as sound, music, movement, media, dance plus other components. Tier 2 culminates in a public reading of a student’s work.

      • 23 Mar 2019
      • 11 May 2019
      • 8 sessions
      • Literacenter, 641 W. Lake St.
      • 4
      Registration is closed

      Connections 1 Workshop
      Instructors: 2 New Work Directors (TBD)

      You’ve written that first draft or story, meticulously developed it scene by scene, done rewrites, refined your work, created a plan for the next year, and now you’re ready to have your work critiqued. In this rare opportunity you will receive feedback from two professional directors—each giving unique insight and advice to advance your work forward - after a table reading of your work.


      Prerequisite: Professional Development plus all Tier 2 coursework up to this point

      Sessions/Weekday 8 Saturdays
      Start/End Date Mar 23 - May 11
      Time Slot 10:00am - 1:00pm
      Notes

      About the Tier 2 Advanced Track

      Comprising the Writers Studio’s advanced sequence, students will develop complex characters through actions and consequences, use dramatic language to enhance the world of the play, differentiate between plot and story and how to apply them through the use of time, employ the use of image as a dramatic tool to enrich conflict, and devise dynamic worlds on stage that involve components beyond dialog such as sound, music, movement, media, dance plus other components. Tier 2 culminates in a public reading of a student’s work.

      • 24 Mar 2019
      • 28 Apr 2019
      • 6 sessions
      • Literacenter, 641 W. Lake St.
      • 6
      Register

      Essentials 1 
      Instructor: Playwright Marsha Estell

      In the first of the Essentials series, you will become familiar with the components of dramatic structure and format, receive tools to explore your unique voice and how to give and receive usable feedback, grasp the difference between dialog and conversation, plus will write and workshop a 10-minute play applying what you have learned.

      Note: Either Essentials 1 or Essentials Weekend Bootcamp must be taken as prerequisites for the other Essentials courses—Essentials 2  and Essentials 3. 

      Sessions/Weekday 6 Sundays
      Start/End Date Mar 24 - Apr 28  (6 sessions) 
      Time Slot 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
      Notes

      About the Tier 1 Essentials Track


      Comprising the Writers Studio’s Essentials 1 through 3 fundamentals sequence, students will explore their unique voice and theatricality, be able to describe and apply dramatic structure, write dialogue, stage direction, construct characters, arrange work in the correct industry format, and employ methods to give and receive feedback.

      Essentials 1 is a prerequisite for Essentials 2, which in turn is a prerequisite for Essentials 3.

      • 24 Mar 2019
      • 28 Apr 2019
      • 6 sessions
      • Literacenter, 641 W. Lake St.
      • 4
      Register

      Essentials 2
      Instructor:
      Resident Playwright Alumni Marsha Estell

      In the second of the Essentials series, you will delve deeper into the components of dramatic structure, evaluate conflict, identify and discriminate theatricality, differentiate use of stage direction, and articulate how you use plasticity of the stage within format—applying it all by writing a new 10-minute play and evaluating your peer’s work.

      This course culminates in a campus presentation of the classes’ 10-minute plays (not available for online students).

      Note: Either Essentials 1 or Essentials Weekend Bootcamp must be taken as prerequisites for the other Essentials courses—Essentials 2  and Essentials 3. 

      For Students: For the first day of class, please bring in a 4 page, 2 character play, There must be an object (onstage manifestation) being negotiated between 2 people. Think about the core principles, when writing your play.

      Sessions/Weekday 6 Sundays
      Start/End Date Mar 24 - Apr 28  (6 sessions) 
      Time Slot 2:30pm-5:30pm
      Notes

      About the Tier 1 Essentials Track


      Comprising the Writers Studio’s Essentials 1 through 3 fundamentals sequence, students will explore their unique voice and theatricality, be able to describe and apply dramatic structure, write dialogue, stage direction, construct characters, arrange work in the correct industry format, and employ methods to give and receive feedback.

      Essentials 1 is a prerequisite for Essentials 2, which in turn is a prerequisite for Essentials 3.

      • 24 Mar 2019
      • 28 Apr 2019
      • 6 sessions
      • Literacenter, 641 W. Lake St.
      • 4
      Registration is closed

      Essentials 3
      Instructor: Playwright Douglas Post

      In the third (and final) of the Essentials series, you will expand your 10-minute play talents to write a one-act utilizing the components of dramatic structure and action. By the course’s end you will be ready to pitch your one-act play to peers PLUS advance to Tier 2!

      Note: Essentials 2 must be taken as prerequisite for Essentials.

      Writers should bring 11 copies of a 10-page scene from your play to the first session. 

      Sessions/Weekday 6 Sundays
      Start/End Date Mar 24 - Apr 28 (6 sessions) 
      Time Slot 6:30pm - 9:30pm
      Notes

      About the Tier 1 Essentials Track


      Comprising the Writers Studio’s Essentials 1 through 3 fundamentals sequence, students will explore their unique voice and theatricality, be able to describe and apply dramatic structure, write dialogue, stage direction, construct characters, arrange work in the correct industry format, and employ methods to give and receive feedback.

      Essentials 1 is a prerequisite for Essentials 2, which in turn is a prerequisite for Essentials 3.

      • 30 Mar 2019
      • 04 May 2019
      • 6 sessions
      • Literacenter (Roombin Hood), 641 W Lake St #200, Chicago, IL 60661
      • 1
      Register

      Musicals in Process Workshop

      Designed to support book writers, lyricists, and composers who have a musical already underway, this advanced course will build on the craft principles taught in Secret Life.
      Over six weeks, you will collaborate, revise, and receive tailored feedback on your musical-in-process—readying you to submit for professional productions and competitive development opportunities.

      Instructors: Cheryl Coons & J.Sebastian Fabal

      Cheryl is a playwright/lyricist, and has co-written more than a dozen musicals which have received professional productions, including River’s End  (ASCAP Foundation Harold Arlen Musical Theatre Award, Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards for Original Script and Score, Theatre for the American Musical Award, NAMT and NYMF), At Wit’s End (Carbonell Award for Best New Work), Sylvia’s Read Good Advice (Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Work), Female Problems (After Dark Award for Best Music) and Phantom of the Country Opera, published by Music Theatre International. Her work has been developed and showcased at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center’s National Music Theatre Conference, the National Alliance of Musical Theater’s Festival of New Works, and the New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF).  Projects she’s written have twice been selected for the ASCAP Workshop in Los Angeles and Chicago. Her original novelty songs have been featured on Good Morning, America, The Today Show, and NPR’s Morning Edition. She is the Chicago Regional Rep for the Dramatists Guild. www.cherylcoons.com

      Sebastian is a composer/lyricist and bookwriter. Originally from Miami, Florida, he recently moved to Chicago after 7 years in New York City where he received his MFA in Musical Theatre Writing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Full length shows: Steve-25, 14 Reasons Why I Love You, Crazy Bet, Yoey & Yeya, Toy Soldiers, Losing Nora, Alligator Ali (book/lyrics by Chris Widney), The Tenth Floor (book by Sara Cooper, Next Link Selection NYMF 2010, Talkin’ Broadway Outstanding New Musical Citation); Children’s Theatre: Help Wanted: Pirates!, The Elko Aliens (both with book/lyrics by Chris Widney). www.jsebastianfabal.com

      Prerequisite: Secret Life of the American Musical

      Sessions/Weekday 6 Saturdays 
      Start/End Date Mar 30 - May 4
      Timeslot 10am - 1pm
      Notes Prerequisite for this class is Secret Life of the American Musical


      About the Musicals Track

      The Musicals track is designed to provide playwrights with a solid foundation for writing musical theatre. It consists of four courses:

      • Musical Theatre Writing: The Secret Life of the American Musical
      • Musicals in Process
      • Musical Theatre Bootcamp
      • Lyric Lab

      Musical Theatre Writing is a prerequisite for Musicals in Process. Musical Theatre Intensive and Lyric Lab may be taken out of sequence with the other two courses.

      • 31 Mar 2019
      • 05 May 2019
      • 6 sessions
      • Literacenter, 641 W. Lake St.
      • 4
      Registration is closed

      Musical Theatre: The Secret Life of the American Musical
      Instructor: Dramatists Guild Chicago Regional Representative Cheryl Coons

      Based on Jack Viertel’s landmark book, The Secret Life of the American Musical, this 6-week class offers participants a chance to tune up their musicals-in-progress, as well as gain insight into what makes great musicals work. Participants share work for feedback in a supportive class atmosphere, and study examples from musical theatre masterworks from Gypsy to Hamilton. Each class session includes a balance of course content and presentation of participants’ work. Flexible weekly assignments allow participants to use the class presentation time in the way that is most valuable for them, by sharing work from existing projects, creating new work based on optional suggested exercises, or presenting revisions of previous work for response. Experienced writers gain new tools for refining their musicals, and newcomers to musical theatre writing gain a “big picture” perspective.


      Sessions/Weekday 6 Sundays
      Start/End Date Mar 31 - May 5
      Timeslot 1:30pm - 4:30pm
      Notes

      About the Musicals Track


      The Musicals track is designed to provide playwrights with a solid foundation for writing musical theatre. It consists of four courses:

      • Musical Theatre Writing: The Secret Life of the American Musical
      • Musicals in Process
      • Musical Theatre Bootcamp
      • Lyric Lab

      Musical Theatre Writing is a prerequisite for Musicals in Process. Musical Theatre Bootcamp and Lyric Lab may be taken out of sequence with the other two courses.

      • 03 Apr 2019
      • 08 May 2019
      • 6 sessions
      • Literacenter, 641 W. Lake St.
      • 6
      Registration is closed

      Writing the Political or Social Play
      Instructor: Douglas Post - Founding Member of the Victory Gardens Playwright Ensemble 

      Are you looking to sharpen your skill in writing political or social theatre? In challenging times theatre has always played an impactful role in raising issues and rousing communities to take action. Through analysis of works by playwrights who have spoken to the tenor of their times, you will build on your own work each week, making it much more provocative and powerful.

      Prerequisites: Essentials 1 or Essentials Bootcamp or Developing the Full-length


      NOTE: Writers should bring 11 copies of a 10-page scene from your play to the first session.

      Sessions/Weekday 6 Wednesdays
      Start/End Date Apr 3 - May 8  (6 sessions) 
      Time Slot 6:30pm - 9:30pm
      Notes This is an all Tier special topic

      About Special Topics Courses

      Special Topics coursework is designed to focus on and often expand upon important topics presented in the Tiered tracks. Various formats are offered, from  the 2-day bootcamps where you will get a concentrated introduction or taste of other workshops, to intensives that take you through 3-4 days of targeted exercises, or the 6-7 week classes that deep-dive into important skill-building for progression of work.

      • 11 Apr 2019
      • 13 Jun 2019
      • 7 sessions
      • Chicago Dramatists
      • 0
      Registration is closed
      "Scene Shop" Play Development Thursday Evenings 

      Instructor: Resident Playwright Will Dunne

      Now in its 12th year at Chicago Dramatists and led by Resident Playwright Will Dunne, author of The Dramatic Writer's Companion and other books, Scene Shop is an ongoing professional resource for experienced writers. Self-contained weekly sessions offer character, scene, and story tools to help you write and revise your script, professional actors to read the work you bring from home, and constructive group feedback in a supportive setting. If you ever need to miss a session, you can always make it up in the other Scene Shop section that week. Workshop members are eligible to participate in the Scene Shop Showcase, a night of staged readings presented twice yearly in the Russ Tutterow Theatre. 

      Prerequisites: The writer has completed at least one play or screenplay.

      Sessions/Weekday 7 Thursdays
      Start/End Date Apr 11 - Jun 13
      Time Slot 6:30pm - 9:30pm
      Notes Does not meet 5/2, 5/23, or 5/30
      • 13 Apr 2019
      • 15 Jun 2019
      • 7 sessions
      • Literacenter, 641 W. Lake St.
      • 0
      Registration is closed
      "Scene Shop" Play Development  Saturday Mornings 

      Instructor: Resident Playwright Will Dunne

      Now in its 12th year at Chicago Dramatists and led by Resident Playwright Will Dunne, author of The Dramatic Writer's Companion and other books, Scene Shop is an ongoing professional resource for experienced writers. Self-contained weekly sessions offer character, scene, and story tools to help you write and revise your script, professional actors to read the work you bring from home, and constructive group feedback in a supportive setting. If you ever need to miss a session, you can always make it up in  the other Scene Shop section that week. Workshop members are eligible to participate in the Scene Shop Showcase, a night of staged readings presented twice yearly in the Russ Tutterow Theatre. 

      Prerequisites: The writer has completed at least one play or screenplay.

      Sessions/Weekday 7 Saturdays
      Start/End Date Apr 13 - Jun 15
      Time Slot 10:00am - 1:00pm
      Notes Does not meet 5/4, 5/25, or 6/1
      • 24 Apr 2019
      • 05 Jun 2019
      • 6 sessions
      • Literacenter, 641 W. Lake St.
      • 3
      Register

      Screenwriting Essentials 1

      Instructor: Resident Playwright Mary Ruth Clarke—Original Screenwriter of Meet the Parents

      Have a story idea for a great Hollywood movie? Or a script you’ve begun to write? Or a play you want to adapt into a motion picture?

      This six-week class teaches the realities of how Hollywood evaluates screenplays. It’s not a marketing class, but a deep dive into bringing ideas to life for the Hollywood mindset. It will help you unearth that great hook that will cause a producer to shout, “That’s a movie!”

      The class emphasizes visual storytelling and the ever-important logline. We will analyze and map out the classic story structure of a screenplay that went on to be made into an Oscar-winning movie.

      There will be ample time allotted to discuss participants’ ideas, stories, structures, and scenes. This class is applicable to any movie genre.

      Sessions/Weekday 6 Wednesdays
      Start/End Date Apr 24 - Jun 5
      Time Slot 6:30pm - 9:30pm
      Notes Does not meet on May 8
      • 30 Apr 2019
      • 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM
      • Chicago Dramatists, Theatre

      Anna O. by Paul Edward Pasulka 

      Moderator: Robert Tenges

      Anna O. tells the story of Bertha Pappenheim, quite arguably the cofounder of psychoanalysis. In 1880 a young woman from an orthodox Jewish family cares for her father who is dying of tuberculosis. She develops an illness, initially diagnosed by Josef Breuer, Vienna’s preeminent physician, as a nervous cough. Her symptoms soonprogress to include severe visual, motor, speech, and mood problems. When she refuses removal to a sanitarium for treatment with blood-letting, cold water baths, and “uterine manipulation”, she and Josef Breuer embark on a wholly unorthodox method of treatment, involving daily therapy sessions of discussion, storytelling, and free association, essentially creating the techniques of psychoanalysis.

      About the First Draft Series

      The First Draft Series is an exclusive series of Tuesday-night play readings for and by First Draft Member playwrights. These are private, salon-style readings in which playwrights perform the roles and then discuss the plays in a format similar to that used in the Saturday Series. The discussions are moderated by a Resident Playwright or member of the artistic staff.

      Become a First Draft Member today!


      • 07 May 2019
      • 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM
      • Chicago Dramatists, Theatre

      Chutzpah by Ken Kaye 

      Moderator: TBD

      Arrogance puts freedom of speech to a test, and loses.

      About the First Draft Series

      The First Draft Series is an exclusive series of Tuesday-night play readings for and by First Draft Member playwrights. These are private, salon-style readings in which playwrights perform the roles and then discuss the plays in a format similar to that used in the Monday Night Series. The discussions are moderated by a Resident Playwright or member of the artistic staff.

      Become a First Draft Member today!


      • 07 May 2019
      • 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM
      • Chicago Dramatists, Theatre

      10-minute Play Night (First Draft Series)

      Moderator: TBD

      List of the plays: TBD


      About the First Draft Series

      The First Draft Series is an exclusive series of Tuesday-night play readings for and by First Draft Member playwrights. These are private, salon-style readings in which playwrights perform the roles and then discuss the plays in a format similar to that used in the Saturday Series. The discussions are moderated by a Resident Playwright or member of the artistic staff.

      Become a First Draft Member today!


      • 13 May 2019
      • 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
      • Chicago Dramatists
      • 75
      Register

      The Volunteer

      by Cassandra Rose

      In March 1981, Roger Fisher published an article detailing a new, more personal form of nuclear deterrence: The nuclear launch codes would be surgically placed behind a volunteer's beating heart, meaning a president would have to kill one person before killing millions. In this dark political comedy, Fisher's proposal becomes an alternate 1980s reality.

      About Cassandra Rose

      This bisexual playwright has had over 300 of her plays performed in Chicago and beyond. That includes the hundreds of micro-plays that made up all five years of The Dictionary Project, a self-produced project in which each play was created for and inspired by a friend of hers. A friend would buy a play, pick a page in Cassandra’s dictionary, and within the year Cassandra would write them a play (1, 3, or 10 minutes long) about one of the words found on that dictionary page. Her longer plays include The Amen TrilogyThe Battle of Charlottesville, Billy to his Friends, and The Volunteer. Her work has been produced by Broken Nose Theatre, City Theatre, Cold Basement Dramatics, Jackalope Theatre Company, Nothing Special Productions, The One Minute Play Festival, and The Whiskey Radio Hour. She has dramaturged shows at Jackalope Theatre Company, Redtwist Theatre, Raven Theatre, and Strawdog Theatre Company. And Cassandra sometimes starts theatre companies; she helped found the Chicago Theatre marathon and Cold Basement Dramatics. Girl gets around. Cassandra earned her BA in playwriting from Columbia College Chicago, and she was one of six inaugural Tutterow Fellows at Chicago Dramatists.


      About the Monday Night Series


      On select Mondays at 7:00pm, Chicago Dramatists hosts a Monday Night Series event in our theatre. Most Series events are public readings of plays-in-progress, though some are special Master Panels or fire-side chats with artists.

      All plays read in the Monday Night Series are directed, rehearsed, and presented with minimal staging. After each reading, the audience members are invited to fill out written response sheets or (when the playwright is amenable) join in a moderated post-reading discussion.

      Ticket revenue only covers 10% of the total cost for the Monday Night Series. Please consider giving a gift to Chicago Dramatists today to support these public play readings.

      • 20 May 2019
      • 15 Jul 2019
      • 8 sessions
      • Chicago Dramatists
      • 10
      Register

      Live Storytelling Workshop
      with Instructor Janna Sobel 

      Live Storytelling is a trendy new form of spoken-word performance, occurring in theaters, bars, house events and all over public radio. But it is also the oldest form of performance there is. Storytelling belongs to all of us, and it lives in our DNA. This class helps you remember how to do it brilliantly. The 8-week workshop empowers writers, stand-up comedians, leaders, public speakers - everyone! - to tell compelling, entertaining personal stories. We use the 5-10 minute format of popular live storytelling events, and give you tools to bring your truth and presence to the stage with confidence, skill, and joy. 

      In a dynamic, supportive environment, you will learn to:

      • apply narrative structure to personal stories
      • use dramatic elements to heighten tension and raise stakes
      • use sensory and descriptive detail to bring listeners into a moment
      • theatricalize stories with character, humor and staging
      • hone your unique voice
      • be emotionally honest
      • tell the (sometimes challenging, always important!) truth
      • interact beautifully with an audience
      • honor time limits, and accomplish what you want within any venue's parameters
      • start and end strong

        Classes consist of playful games and exercises that are skill-building and generative, followed by inquiry and discussion. Students will also perform and receive feedback each week. Each student will craft and revise three different stories over the course of the term. Through the process of revision, students hone their work and witness the unique perspective that each teller brings to the stage. The class will culminate with a Chicago-style Live Storytelling event!

        Prerequisite: None

        For more information on Janna, please click here.

        Sessions/Weekday 8 Mondays
        Start/End Date 5/20-7/15 (no class 6/10)
        Time Slot 6:30pm-9:30pm
        Notes
        • 01 Jun 2019
        • 10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
        • Literacenter, 651 W. Lake St.
        • 9
        Register

        Writing the Adaptation Bootcamp

        Instructor: Resident Playwright Alvaro Saar Rios

        Do you have a favorite short story or folktale you have always wanted to turn into a play? Are you curious about how to adapt original source material, such as folktales, short stories, children’s books or even songs? Then this one-day bootcamp is for you. Learn to brainstorm adaptation ideas, how to adapt source material, create a scene or two, plus much more!

        Prerequisite: None


        Sessions/Weekday 1 Saturday
        Start/End Date Jun 1
        Time Slot 10:00am - 4:30pm
        Notes This is a Tier 1 Special Topic

        About Special Topics Courses

        Special Topics coursework is designed to focus on and often expand upon important topics presented in the Tiered tracks. Various formats are offered, from  the 2-day bootcamps where you will get a concentrated introduction or taste of other workshops, to intensives that take you through 3-4 days of targeted exercises, or the 6-7 week classes that deep-dive into important skill-building for progression of work.

        • 01 Jun 2019
        • 02 Jun 2019
        • 2 sessions
        • Literacenter, 651 W. Lake St.
        • 10
        Register

        Essentials Bootcamp
        Instructor: Resident Playwright Alumna Marsha Estell

        Want to learn the core principles of the six-week Essentials 1 but in a weekend? Designed for writers of all levels seeking a foundation for their craft, this two-day bootcamp will provide the tools of dramatic writing so you can write and respond to another’s work. A great option if you live out-of-town or just want to advance quickly to Essentials 2.         

        Prerequisite: None


        Sessions/Weekday 1 Saturday & Sunday
        Start/End Date Jun 1 - Jun 2
        Time Slot 10:00am - 4:30pm
        Notes This is a Tier 1 Special Topic

        About Special Topics Courses

        Special Topics coursework is designed to focus on and often expand upon important topics presented in the Tiered tracks. Various formats are offered, from  the 2-day bootcamps where you will get a concentrated introduction or taste of other workshops, to intensives that take you through 3-4 days of targeted exercises, or the 6-7 week classes that deep-dive into important skill-building for progression of work.

        • 01 Jun 2019
        • 02 Jun 2019
        • 2 sessions
        • Chicago Dramatists
        • 10
        Register

        Screenwriting for Playwrights Bootcamp 
        Instructor: Resident Playwright Mary Ruth Clarke

        Do you have a play that might work well as a movie? Or perhaps your story idea does not fit the play mold?  This two-day bootcamp offers an intense, nuts and bolts study of the essentials of writing for film. You will explore the similarities and differences between the mediums of stage, film, and TV. Then you will dive into action lines, hooks, loglines, visual thinking, plus much more! Make sure to come ready with a play or idea you want to cinematically bring to life.

        Prerequisite: None


        Sessions/Weekday 1 Saturday & Sunday
        Start/End Date June 1 - Jun 2
        Time Slot  Sat 10:00am - 5:00pm; Sun 2:00pm - 6:00pm
        Notes

        About the Screenwriting & TV Track

        The Screenwriting & TV track is designed to provide writers with a solid foundation for writing for film and TV. It consists of the following courses:

        • Screenwriting for Playwrights Bootcamp
        • Screenwriting Structure Intensive
        • Screenwriting in Progress
        • The About - Screenwriting Workshop

        Screenwriting for Playwrights Bootcamp is a prerequisite for the Structure Intensive, which in turn is a prerequisite for Screenwriting in Progress.  The About has no prerequisite.

        • Writing the Half-Hour Comedy 1 ONLINE
        • Writing the Half-Hour Comedy 2 ONLINE
        • Writing the Half-Hour Comedy 3 ONLINE
        • 03 Jun 2019
        • 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
        • Chicago Dramatists
        • 75
        Register
        MONDAY NIGHT DRAMA

        Time to add more drama to your Monday nights! The Saturday Series, Dramatists’ longest-running program, has moved to Monday nights. This off night for the theatre industry allows us greater access to in-demand directors, actors, artistic directors, and producers PLUS attracts newer audiences already primed to attend evening performances over afternoons.

        Monday night events will consist of public readings of plays-in-progress from our Resident Playwrights as well as other exciting additions, panel discussions, fireside chats with visiting artists, and more!


        About the Monday Night Series


        On select Mondays at 7:00pm, Chicago Dramatists hosts a Monday Night Series event in our theatre. Most Series events are public readings of plays-in-progress, though some are special Master Panels or fire-side chats with artists.

        All plays read in the Monday Night Series are directed, rehearsed, and presented with minimal staging. After each reading, the audience members are invited to fill out written response sheets or (when the playwright is amenable) join in a moderated post-reading discussion.

        Ticket revenue only covers 10% of the total cost for the Monday Night Series. Please consider giving a gift to Chicago Dramatists today to support these public play readings.

        • 05 Jun 2019
        • 10 Jul 2019
        • 6 sessions
        • Literacenter, 651 W. Lake St.
        • 9
        Register

        The Rewrite 

        Instructor: Douglas Post - Founding Member of the Victory Gardens Playwrights Ensemble 

        In this course, you will learn the best practices of rewriting.  Your work will be read aloud and discussed by the instructor and the other participants in a format that is supportive and focused.  You will also be given weekly reading assignments that will help you understand how working playwrights have moved their texts forward and made their careers possible.

        Prerequisites: Writing the Full-Length 2, prior playwriting coursework resulting in a full-length play or permission of the instructor.

        NOTE: Writers should bring 11 copies of a scene no more than 10 pages in length from your play to the first session.

        Sessions/Weekday 6 Wednesdays
        Start/End Date Jun 5 - Jul 10  (6 sessions) 
        Time Slot 6:30pm - 9:30pm
        Notes

        About the Tier 2 Advanced Track

        Comprising the Writers Studio’s advanced sequence, students will develop complex characters through actions and consequences, use dramatic language to enhance the world of the play, differentiate between plot and story and how to apply them through the use of time, employ the use of image as a dramatic tool to enrich conflict, and devise dynamic worlds on stage that involve components beyond dialog such as sound, music, movement, media, dance plus other components. Tier 2 culminates in a public reading of a student’s work.

        • 08 Jun 2019
        • 09 Jun 2019
        • 2 sessions
        • Literacenter, 651 W. Lake St.
        • 5
        Register

        Musical Theatre - A Weekend Intensive

        Instructor: Dramatists Guild Chicago Regional Representative Cheryl Coons

        Chicago Dramatists now offers a Weekend Intensive for musical theatre writers. Designed to support individual writers as well as collaborative teams, this intensive offers a chance to gain valuable new tools for developing musical theatre work, and present work for feedback in a supportive atmosphere. 

        Appropriate for playwrights, lyricists, and composers with projects at any stage of development, this intensive weekend is a kickstarter for new work, and will add fresh perspectives to projects already in process. If you are passionate about musical theatre, this is a weekend you can't miss!

        *Collaborative teams may register together, provided they are, as a team, presenting work from a single project.

        Sessions/Weekday 1 weekend
        Start/End Date Jun 8 - Jun 9
        Time Slot 10:00 AM-5:00 PM Saturday 
        10:00 AM-5:00 PM Sunday
        Notes There will be a 1hr break between 12:00-1:00PM

         

        About the Musicals Track

        The Musicals track is designed to provide playwrights with a solid foundation for writing musical theatre. It consists of four courses:

        • Musical Theatre Writing: The Secret Life of the American Musical
        • Musicals in Process
        • Musical Theatre Bootcamp
        • Lyric Lab

        Musical Theatre Writing is a prerequisite for Musicals in Process. Musical Theatre Bootcamp and Lyric Lab may be taken out of sequence with the other two courses.

        • 08 Jun 2019
        • 09 Jun 2019
        • 2 sessions
        • Literacenter, 651 W. Lake St.
        • 10
        Register

        Solo Show & Storytelling Weekend

        Instructor: Resident Playwright Arlene Malinowski

        This "warrior weekend" class is designed for actors, playwrights, solo artists, and storytellers at all levels – from those who are thinking about writing a one-person show or narrative story to those who are in the final stages of polishing one. We will focus on developing your unique style with class exercises and one on one coaching.

        This hands-on workshop will cover:

        (1)Finding your voice and the voice of the story. 

        (2) The 13 styles of solo/story pieces.

        (3) Designing the solo/story plot structure. Use of narrators.

        (4) Themes & Universal truth.

        (4) Techniques to manipulate the storyteller/audience relationship.

        (5) Character development and character signatures.

        (7) Every Student has the opportunity to work in front of the class and get one on one coaching.

        Participants may choose to bring to the first session: 5-7 minutes of a solo show or story, or even just an idea. This class is designed to serve you and your personal creative goals. We will work hard and have big fun!

        Sessions/Weekday 1 Weekend
        Start/End Date June 8th - June 9th
        Time Slot 12:00 pm - 5:15 pm
        Notes N/A

        About the Solo Show Track

        The Solo Show track is designed to provide playwrights with a solid foundation for Storytelling & writing and performing Solo Plays.


        • 08 Jun 2019
        • 13 Jul 2019
        • 6 sessions
        • Literacenter, 651 W. Lake St.
        • 9
        Register

        Developing the Full-length 1 

        Instructor: Douglas Post - Founding Member of the Victory Gardens Playwrights Ensemble 

        Kicking off Tier 2 advanced coursework, you will build on your fundamental skills to start writing a full-length play.  Your work will be read aloud and discussed by the instructor and the other participants in a format that is supportive and focused.  You will also be given weekly reading and writing assignments that will further your understanding of character, time, place, language, text and subtext.

        Prerequisites: Essentials 3, prior playwriting coursework resulting in a full-length play or permission of Instructor

        NOTE: Writers should bring 11 copies of a scene no more than 10 pages in length from your play to the first session.

        Sessions/Weekday 6 Saturdays
        Start/End Date Jun 8 - Jul 13  (6 sessions) 
        Time Slot 1:30pm - 4:30pm
        Notes

        About the Tier 2 Advanced Track

        Comprising the Writers Studio’s advanced sequence, students will develop complex characters through actions and consequences, use dramatic language to enhance the world of the play, differentiate between plot and story and how to apply them through the use of time, employ the use of image as a dramatic tool to enrich conflict, and devise dynamic worlds on stage that involve components beyond dialog such as sound, music, movement, media, dance plus other components. Tier 2 culminates in a public reading of a student’s work.

        • 11 Jun 2019
        • 16 Jul 2019
        • 6 sessions
        • Online
        • 10
        Registration is closed

        Essentials 3 ONLINE 
        Instructor:
         Playwright Alvaro Saar Rios

        In the third (and final) of the Essentials series, you will expand your 10-minute play talents to write a one-act utilizing the components of dramatic structure and action. By the course’s end you will be ready to pitch your one-act play to peers.

        Note: Essentials 2 must be taken as prerequisite for Essentials 3. 

        Where: On-line using Zoom or Google Hangouts. You will receive instructions on how to access the meeting site prior to class. You must have a solid internet connection along with a computer with working speakers so you can hear and a microphone so that the class and instructor can hear you.  A working camera is a bonus, but not 100% necessary. Pdfs will be shared via email or GoogleDocs prior to class, and some scenes will be read during class. You are expected to access class from a quiet place with limited interruptions and distractions. The instructor will contact you in the week before the class to do a "tech check" and make sure everyone can connect.

        Sessions/Weekday 6 Tuesdays
        Start/End Date Jun 11 - Jul 16 (6 sessions) 
        Time Slot 6:30pm - 9:30pm
        Notes

        About the Tier 1 Essentials Track


        Comprising the Writers Studio’s Essentials 1 through 3 fundamentals sequence, students will explore their unique voice and theatricality, be able to describe and apply dramatic structure, write dialogue, stage direction, construct characters, arrange work in the correct industry format, and employ methods to give and receive feedback.

        Essentials 1 is a prerequisite for Essentials 2, which in turn is a prerequisite for Essentials 3.

        • 12 Jun 2019
        • 17 Jul 2019
        • 6 sessions
        • Literacenter, 651 W. Lake St.
        • 9
        Register

        Acting for Writers 
        Instructor: Playwright & Actor John S. Green

        As a writer, have you ever wondered what it is like to step inside an actor’s shoes? Want to know how actors bring a character to life, speaking your words as a character’s? In this  course, you will access an actor’s toolbox to break a scene down into beats and action verbs, make use of subtext beneath the surface of words, embody the writing with the active needs of the characters.  You will also create dramatic scenes for specific actors, learn how to communicate effectively with actors and directors in terms they understand, explore what does and does not work once a scene is on its feet, and how to translate a character from page to stage. 


        Sessions/Weekday 6 Wednesdays
        Start/End Date Jun 12 - Jul 17  (6 sessions) 
        Time Slot 6:30pm - 9:30pm
        Notes This is an all Tier special topic.

        About Special Topics Courses

        Special Topics coursework is designed to focus on and often expand upon important topics presented in the Tiered tracks. Various formats are offered, from  the 2-day bootcamps where you will get a concentrated introduction or taste of other workshops, to intensives that take you through 3-4 days of targeted exercises, or the 6-7 week classes that deep-dive into important skill-building for progression of work.

        • 18 Jun 2019
        • 6:30 PM
        • 22 Jun 2019
        • 9:30 PM
        • Literacenter, 651 W. Lake St.
        • 10
        Register

        Screenwriting Intensive 

        Instructor: Resident Playwright Mary Ruth Clarke—Original Screenwriter of Meet the Parents

        Have a story idea for a great Hollywood movie? Or a script you’ve begun to write? Or a play you want to adapt into a motion picture?

        This four-day intensive class teaches the realities of how Hollywood evaluates screenplays. It’s not a marketing class, but a deep dive into bringing ideas to life for the Hollywood mindset. It will help you unearth that great hook that will cause a producer to shout, “That’s a movie!”

        The class emphasizes visual storytelling and the ever-important logline. We will analyze and map out the classic story structure of a screenplay that went on to be made into an Oscar-winning movie.

        There will be ample time allotted to discuss participants’ ideas, stories, structures, and scenes. This class is applicable to any movie genre.

        Sessions/Weekday 4 days 
        Start/End Date 6/18-6/22 (Tuesday-Saturday)
        Time Slot 6:30pm - 9:30pm
        Notes
        • 18 Jun 2019
        • 23 Jul 2019
        • 6 sessions
        • Online
        • 8
        Register

        Essentials 1 ONLINE 
        Instructor:
         Playwright Cassandra Rose

        In the first of the Essentials series, you will become familiar with the components of dramatic structure and format, receive tools to explore your unique voice and how to give and receive usable feedback, grasp the difference between dialog and conversation, plus will write and workshop a 10-minute play applying what you have learned.

        Note: Either Essentials 1 or Essentials Weekend Bootcamp must be taken as prerequisites for the other Essentials courses—Essentials 2  and Essentials 3. 

        Where: On-line using Zoom or Google Hangouts. You will receive instructions on how to access the meeting site prior to class. You must have a solid internet connection along with a computer with working speakers so you can hear and a microphone so that the class and instructor can hear you.  A working camera is a bonus, but not 100% necessary. Pdfs will be shared via email or GoogleDocs prior to class, and some scenes will be read during class. You are expected to access class from a quiet place with limited interruptions and distractions. The instructor will contact you in the week before the class to do a "tech check" and make sure everyone can connect.

        Sessions/Weekday 6 Tuesdays
        Start/End Date Jun 18 - Jul 23  (6 sessions) 
        Time Slot 6:30pm - 9:30pm
        Notes

        About the Tier 1 Essentials Track


        Comprising the Writers Studio’s Essentials 1 through 3 fundamentals sequence, students will explore their unique voice and theatricality, be able to describe and apply dramatic structure, write dialogue, stage direction, construct characters, arrange work in the correct industry format, and employ methods to give and receive feedback.

        Essentials 1 is a prerequisite for Essentials 2, which in turn is a prerequisite for Essentials 3.

        • 20 Jun 2019
        • 18 Jul 2019
        • 4 sessions
        • Online
        • 8
        Register

        Solo Show & Storytelling Development Intensive Online 
        Instructor:
        Resident Playwright MT Cozzola

        This four-session course is for playwrights, actors, and storytellers with some story experience, who want an intense period of technique training to develop a solo show or long-form narrative. Each week, you will create and present work-in-progress—doing warm-ups and exercises intended to inspire and deepen your writing—with the goal to ready you for production.

        Prerequisites: Solo Show & Storytelling Bootcamp or Fundamentals


        Where: On-line using Zoom or Google Hangouts. You will receive instructions on how to access the meeting site prior to class. You must have a solid internet connection along with a computer with working speakers so you can hear and a microphone so that the class and instructor can hear you.  A working camera is a bonus, but not 100% necessary. Pdfs will be shared via email or GoogleDocs prior to class, and some scenes will be read during class. You are expected to access class from a quiet place with limited interruptions and distractions. The instructor will contact you in the week before the class to do a "tech check" and make sure everyone can connect.

        Sessions/Weekday 4 Thursdays
        Start/End Date Jun 20 - Jul 18
        Time Slot 6:30pm-9:30pm
        Notes Prerequisite: Solo Show & Storytelling Fundamentals  (or the Bootcamp Weekend), or permission of instructor. Does not meet  7/4.

        About the Solo Show & Storytelling Track

        The Solo Show track is designed to provide writers with a solid foundation for developing and performing solo shows and long-form narratives. The courses include:

        • Solo & Storytelling Bootcamp
        • Solo & Storytelling Fundamentals
        • Solo & Storytelling Intensive
        • Marketing and Producing Your Solo Show
        • Solo & Storytelling Workshop: From Page to Stage
        • Live Storytelling
        • 23 Jun 2019
        • 28 Jul 2019
        • 6 sessions
        • Literacenter, 651 W. Lake St.
        • 6
        Register

        Lyric Lab
        nstructor: Dramatists Guild Chicago Regional Representative Cheryl Coons

        This lyric writing lab offers participants a solid grounding in the craft of lyric writing for musical theatre and cabaret, and stimulating prompts for generating new song ideas. Participants will gain tools for analyzing lyrics, developing ideas effectively through a song and score, and structuring theatre songs lyrically and musically for maximum impact. Participants will present their own lyrics for group discussion and constructive feedback in a supportive atmosphere.

        Prerequisite: None

        Sessions/Weekday 6 Sundays
        Start/End Date Jun 23 - Jul 28
        Timeslot 1:30pm - 4:30pm
        Notes


        About the Musicals Track

        The Musicals track is designed to provide playwrights with a solid foundation for writing musical theatre. It consists of four courses:

        • Musical Theatre Writing: The Secret Life of the American Musical
        • Musicals in Process
        • Musical Theatre Bootcamp
        • Lyric Lab

        Musical Theatre Writing is a prerequisite for Musicals in Process. Musical Theatre Bootcamp and Lyric Lab may be taken out of sequence with the other two courses.

        • 24 Jun 2019
        • 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
        • Chicago Dramatists
        • 75
        Register
        MONDAY NIGHT DRAMA

        Time to add more drama to your Monday nights! The Saturday Series, Dramatists’ longest-running program, has moved to Monday nights. This off night for the theatre industry allows us greater access to in-demand directors, actors, artistic directors, and producers PLUS attracts newer audiences already primed to attend evening performances over afternoons.

        Monday night events will consist of public readings of plays-in-progress from our Resident Playwrights as well as other exciting additions, panel discussions, fireside chats with visiting artists, and more!


        About the Monday Night Series


        On select Mondays at 7:00pm, Chicago Dramatists hosts a Monday Night Series event in our theatre. Most Series events are public readings of plays-in-progress, though some are special Master Panels or fire-side chats with artists.

        All plays read in the Monday Night Series are directed, rehearsed, and presented with minimal staging. After each reading, the audience members are invited to fill out written response sheets or (when the playwright is amenable) join in a moderated post-reading discussion.

        Ticket revenue only covers 10% of the total cost for the Monday Night Series. Please consider giving a gift to Chicago Dramatists today to support these public play readings.

        • 27 Jun 2019
        • 22 Aug 2019
        • 7 sessions
        • Chicago Dramatists, Window Room
        • 9
        Register
        "Scene Shop" Play Development Thursday Evenings 

        Instructor: Resident Playwright Will Dunne

        Now in its 12th year at Chicago Dramatists and led by Resident Playwright Will Dunne, author of The Dramatic Writer's Companion and other books, Scene Shop is an ongoing professional resource for experienced writers. Self-contained weekly sessions offer character, scene, and story exercises to help you write and revise your script, professional actors to read the work you bring from home, and constructive group feedback in a supportive setting. And, if you ever need to miss a session, you can always make it up in one of the other two Scene Shop sections that week. Workshop members are eligible to participate in the Scene Shop Showcase, a night of staged readings presented twice yearly in the Russ Tutterow Theatre. 

        Prerequisites: The writer has completed at least one play or screenplay.

        Sessions/Weekday 7 Thursdays
        Start/End Date Jun 27 - Aug 22
        Time Slot 6:30pm - 9:30pm
        Notes Does not meet 7/4 or 8/1

        About the Tier 2 Advanced Track

        Comprising the Writers Studio’s advanced sequence, students will develop complex characters through actions and consequences, use dramatic language to enhance the world of the play, differentiate between plot and story and how to apply them through the use of time, employ the use of image as a dramatic tool to enrich conflict, and devise dynamic worlds on stage that involve components beyond dialog such as sound, music, movement, media, dance plus other components. Tier 2 culminates in a public reading of a student’s work.

        • 29 Jun 2019
        • 24 Aug 2019
        • 7 sessions
        • Chicago Dramatists, Window Room
        • 3
        Register
        "Scene Shop" Play Development  Saturday Mornings 

        Instructor: Resident Playwright Will Dunne

        Now in its 12th year at Chicago Dramatists and led by Resident Playwright Will Dunne, author of The Dramatic Writer's Companion and other books, Scene Shop is an ongoing professional resource for experienced writers. Self-contained weekly sessions offer character, scene, and story exercises to help you write and revise your script, professional actors to read the work you bring from home, and constructive group feedback in a supportive setting. And, if you ever need to miss a session, you can always make it up in one of the other two Scene Shop sections that week. Workshop members are eligible to participate in the Scene Shop Showcase, a night of staged readings presented twice yearly in the Russ Tutterow Theatre. 

        Prerequisites: The writer has completed at least one play or screenplay.

        Sessions/Weekday 7 Saturdays
        Start/End Date Jun 29 - Aug 24
        Time Slot 10:00am - 1:00pm
        Notes Does not meet 7/6 or 8/3

        About the Tier 2 Advanced Track

        Comprising the Writers Studio’s advanced sequence, students will develop complex characters through actions and consequences, use dramatic language to enhance the world of the play, differentiate between plot and story and how to apply them through the use of time, employ the use of image as a dramatic tool to enrich conflict, and devise dynamic worlds on stage that involve components beyond dialog such as sound, music, movement, media, dance plus other components. Tier 2 culminates in a public reading of a student’s work.

        • 20 Jul 2019
        • 21 Jul 2019
        • 2 sessions
        • Literacenter, 651 W. Lake St.
        • 10
        Register

        New Play Dramaturgy Intensive

        Instructor: Playwright Kristin Idaszak

        This course is designed for dramaturgs, playwrights, and theatre artists who want to strengthen their ability to talk about new work. During this two-day intensive, participants will examine three different approaches for talking about new plays at every stage of development, from a few pages brought into a writers group to a rehearsal-ready draft.

        New Play Dramaturgy Bootcamp will help you:

        ·      Read a new play in preparation for a rigorous dramaturgical conversation

        ·      Engage in a productive conversation that moves a play forward

        ·      Nimbly provide and receive feedback on a new work

        The class is equally geared towards all new play professionals: playwrights who want to be able to give and receive better feedback in seminars and writers groups, dramaturgs and directors who want to have more effective conversations with playwrights, and designers/actors/others who want deeper insight into the dramaturgical process. Some experience may be helpful, but this course does not assume prior knowledge. There will be a short assigned reading in between Day 1 and Day 2.

        Sessions/Weekday One Weekend
        Start/End Date 7/20-7/21 (Saturday and Sunday)
        Time Slot 10am - 2pm
        Notes

        About the Tier 2 Advanced Track


        Comprising the Writers Studio’s advanced sequence, students will develop complex characters through actions and consequences, use dramatic language to enhance the world of the play, differentiate between plot and story and how to apply them through the use of time, employ the use of image as a dramatic tool to enrich conflict, and devise dynamic worlds on stage that involve components beyond dialog such as sound, music, movement, media, dance plus other components. Tier 2 culminates in a public reading of a student’s work.

        • 20 Jul 2019
        • 10:00 AM
        • 21 Jul 2019
        • 4:30 PM
        • Literacenter, 651 W. Lake St.
        • 10
        Register

        Writing the Ten-Minute Play - A Weekend Intensive

        Instructor: Douglas Post - Founding Member of the Victory Gardens Playwrights Ensemble 

        This weekend intensive is specifically designed for writers seeking to hone their skills in writing ten-minute plays.  Contests and festivals for short works are becoming increasingly popular and are a good way for playwrights to get a foot in the door with a theatre group.  But ten-minute plays demand economy, skill and craftsmanship.  Over the course of two days, we will focus on those elements and others needed to tell our stories in a condensed form.  At the end of the session, writers will have acquired a better understanding of how to write a short play that is precise, producible, and has a solid sense of beginning, middle and end.

        Prerequisites: Essentials 1, Essentials Bootcamp or permission of the instructor.

        NOTE: Writers should bring 11 copies of a short play-in-progress that is no more than 10 pages in length to the first session.

        Sessions/Weekday One weekend
        Start/End Date 7/20-7/21 (Saturday and Sunday)
        Time Slot 10am - 4:30pm
        Notes This is an all Tier special topic

        About Special Topics Courses

        Special Topics coursework is designed to focus on and often expand upon important topics presented in the Tiered tracks. Various formats are offered, from  the 2-day bootcamps where you will get a concentrated introduction or taste of other workshops, to intensives that take you through 3-4 days of targeted exercises, or the 6-7 week classes that deep-dive into important skill-building for progression of work.

        • 03 Aug 2019
        • 04 Aug 2019
        • 2 sessions
        • Literacenter, 651 W. Lake St.
        • 10
        Register