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Playwriting - Welcome to the 3 Tier Model

The three-tiered playwriting program includes introductory training in Tier 1 with a year-round offering of in-person and online classes designed to provide a strong foundation in the essentials of dramatic writing for a variety of genres. Tier 2 will introduce more advanced concepts over a 2-year offering of in-person and online classes and workshops, plus entry to Writers’ Groups, Table Readings, and Script Reviews. Tier 3 is an application-only platform, pairing more advanced playwrights with mentors, collaborators, cohorts and readings with industry professionals in pursuit of moving to full production. A scholarship and fellowship are available to assist with program cost.


New to dramatic writing? Start at Tier 1

Tier 1 – Fundamentals

Comprising the Writer's 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. At the end of Tier 1 student playwrights will have completed a one-act play, advancing on to Tier 2 to write and refine a full-length play.

Ready to develop and refine a full-length play? Start at Tier 2

Tier 2 – Advanced

Comprising the Writer's Studio’s advanced sequence, students will begin by writing a full-length play, move forward to 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.

Special Topics

Comprising the Writer's Studio’s focused content, students choose their areas of concentration to hone, polish, refine, develop, and improve their writing in order to advance through the tiered program.


Tier 3—Emerging (starting Fall 2019)

Comprising the Writer's Studio’s uppermost sequence, playwrights are selected for Tier 3 based on application, body of work, and interview process. Tier 3 provides extraordinary emerging playwrights full access to the resources of Chicago Dramatists. Playwrights will take part in monthly writing cohorts—finding accountability and the support network necessary to elevate their voice, build theatricality, and receive feedback in the revision of work—will refine their skills through masterclasses and other coursework within the Writer's Studio, be partnered with industry mentors, granted readings of work when ready, and more to develop both the playwright and their plays. Within Tier 3, those extraordinary playwrights who meet the requirements of residency will be encouraged to apply. Application portal opens in Spring 2019.

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