Chicago Dramatists

In Response to January 06

On Wednesday, January 6, our country experienced an unprecedented attack. We witnessed domestic terrorists storming the Capitol building, attempting to halt our democracy. While they failed, a serious lesson has been learned: Silence and neutrality are complicity. Consequently, Chicago Dramatists is here on record to unequivocally condemn these assaults to our government.

Chicago Dramatists is not a political institution. We are an arts and culture organization that believes every citizen has the right to their own political choices and beliefs — the core value (and beauty) of our democracy. However, we cannot remain mute in the face of this fomentation of violence, corruption, coercion, and nihilism. 

Our country is founded on the rule of law, which “restricts the arbitrary exercise of power by subordinating it to well-defined and established laws.” As we strive to become a more openly inclusive, egalitarian, and diverse country, pushback that is rigid, reactionary, and oppressive is inevitable. In fact, it seems to be an historic precedent. But –– as history has also proven — silence is never the answer to such despotic and hostile threats. 

So we at Chicago Dramatists commit to rolling up our shirt sleeves and contributing to the hard and gratifying work of transforming our country, through the arts, into a more perfect union. We believe that the American theater has a valuable role to play in this transition. Our community is home to many gifted voices, whose stories reflect the diversity of these United States and what they can become.

Carson Grace Becker 
Artistic Director

Saturday Series 2021

Our first Saturday Series of 2021 will be on Saturday, January 30 at 2pm CST! Being presented will be a series of solo pieces as a part of the Fire & Ice Showcase. These are students of Resident Playwright Arlene Malinowski. The writers and performers being presented are: Julie Danis, Scottie Kersta-Wilson, Doug Widowski, Gigi Grajdura, Bethany Larson, and Rachel Goodstein.

Click here to be taken to our Saturday Series page to read more about the writers and their work. This showcase will be streamed via Chicago Dramatists’ Twitch page. Click the button below on the 30th, to watch!

Free Outreach Classes, Winter 2021

Chicago Dramatists is working to take action against against the inequality that has so firmly established itself in the theatre community with regards to race, gender, sexuality, and ability. We are working every day to improve our own theatre space by providing new opportunities to underrepresented voices while also developing courses to help educate our staff, patrons, and artists in the hopes of creating a wholly inclusive theatre community. To that end, all classes in this series will be offered for free. Read below to see what courses we have available in the current term.

Please note: some courses in this series include an application process.

Self Work For White Allies

7 Mondays 6:00pm – 9:00pm

Feb. 22 – Apr. 5

Instructor: Janna Sobel

This free class is being offered as a part of our initiative to combat racism, and stand alongside those who are fighting for social justice and against racial inequality.

These weekly learning sessions share tools created by United to End Racism. These free, open-source tools help people of all different backgrounds recover from the psychological effects of growing up in a white supremacist culture. UER work is done by people of all cultural backgrounds, and it is suggested to do in affinity groups– or groups of people with shared cultural identity. This particular group is for people with whiteness as any part of our identity, who want to take responsibility for ending racism, starting with ourselves. We’ll use a simple set of tools to do some of that crucial, maybe intimidating “look-at-yourself” work that our BIPOC friends have been asking us to do for a long time.

This approach is supportive, and it involves remembering, reflection and the release of feeling. It holds as a foundational premise that all people are inherently good, we naturally want closeness and equality with people of different backgrounds, we are all capable of solving big problems together, and anything that gets in the way of our being able to tell any of that is the result of early, false, painful conditioning. This workshop shares a useful practice that can help white people who want to be better friends, allies, colleagues and community members to get free of that conditioning.

This course is ideal for writers of all levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced.

Telling Your Truth
7 Fridays 6:00pm – 9:00pm CST
Mar 04 – Apr 15
Instructor: Dionna Griffin-Irons

This free class is being offered as a part of our initiative to combat racism, and stand alongside those who are fighting for social justice and against racial inequality. To that end, this course is open to students of diverse, multicultural backgrounds as a part of that continued effort. In accordance with Dionna Griffin-Irons vision for this course, this includes students who identify as BIPOC, LGBTQ+, differently abled, and/or as white allies, with preference given to underrepresented voices and those in financial need.

Telling Your Truth brings an immersive online experience that allows writers to experiment with low stakes improvisation exercises and guided peer discussion to unveil high stakes truth to the page. Taught by one of Second City’s best mentors, Dionna Griffin-Irons TYT delves into simple scenic exposition, 4 W’s (Who, What, Where and Why), as writers share their creative voice in a variety of fun, creative risks – impromptu scenes, unforgettable characters, and unapologetic rants from the comfort of their home! Breaking the pattern of solo writing, writers interact and connect in a variety of exercises that fuel memory, truth and spontaneity. This class will be by application only.

This course is ideal for writers of every level: beginner, intermediate, and advanced.

Click HERE for the application.

Submissions close on February 15 at 6pm CST. Applicants will be notified of their status by February, Thursday 18.

Chicago Dramatists: Youth Classes

Chicago Dramatists is thrilled to offer it’s first set of classes, designed specifically for young writers! See below for details on our upcoming classes, and click here to visit our Youth Classes page.

Writing & Performing Monologues (Intensive)
1 Day Intensive: Sunday Jan. 31
1:00pm – 4:00pm CST
Instructor: James Leo Ryan

Leap in with this one day workshop, designed specifically for teens and young adults! In this 3 hour youth workshop, students will write an original monologue that incorporates specific, universal themes, but comes from their own individual perspective and experience.  Once written, students will apply Uta Hagen-based character work, and then perform their monologues for their course mates.  This course is aimed at encouraging those taking it to reflect on their own experiences, to write with intention and specificity, and to share that experience in a way that allows the listeners to relate and create specific images in their own minds.  Take the leap–sign up today.

This course is designed specifically for teens and young adults, and is open to students of all levels.

Find Your Light!

7 Sundays: Feb. 21 – Apr. 18

1:00pm – 3:00pm CST

Instructor: Atlie Gilbert

Join us for our newest youth class at Chicago Dramatists, built specifically for young actors!  Looking for the perfect course for your drama-king, queen, or future star? In this dynamic class, young actors ages 11 – 15 will learn about the fundamentals of the audition process, acting, script analysis, and body language, all while developing their confidence, creative writing, and communication skills. The class is structured to inspire and challenge students while creating a fun, supportive, and nurtured environment – allowing students to flourish. Best of all? The course will culminate with a showcase performance on April 18, giving the students a chance to flex their new acting and writing muscles in front of their friends and family!

This course is designed specifically for students ages 11 – 15, and is open to students of all levels.

Chicago Dramatists Support of Black Lives Matter and BIPOC Artists

We continue to stand in solidarity with those fighting for social justice in the name of the Black Lives Matter Movement, and continue our own work towards a greater level of inclusion and diversity in all arenas of our organization.

Please see the link above listed on our top banner, titled “In Support Of Black Lives Matter.” There, you will find all of the details pertaining to our DEI programming, including classes, initiatives, and more. You can also find a link on that page to a list of organizations you can partner with, to help in the fight for social justice.

Chicago Dramatists: COVID-19 Response

Due to circumstances regarding COVID-19, Chicago Dramatists at 1105 West Chicago Ave is currently closed, until further notice. For the time being, all classes and events will be held online. Additionally, we will not be having classes at The Literacenter until further notice. The Literacenter is actively keeping Chicago Dramatists appraised of the situation, as the quarantine continues. As soon as we are able, we will be back in the classroom.

As our phone line connects directly to the theater, please do not call during this time. Any questions and concerns should be sent to the staff via email. Click here to access a full list of contact information for the staff.

Send Us a Message

Get in Touch

Chicago Dramatists
1105 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60642

For office inquiries, buzz the front door on Chicago Ave.

For events and readings, come around to the back entrance on Aberdeen Ave.

Classes are primarily held at the Chicago Literacy Alliance at 651 W Lake St.