Classes

Winter 2021 Classes Open Online!






Winter Classes at Chicago Dramatists are here and will remain online! Chicago Dramatists is offering more classes than ever before so you can go “back to school” in a wide range of new and returning classes. We happily accept students from all around the world and invite you stay in with us and create your next great work. Have your writing workshopped and seen this Fall; take the leap and join us here at Chicago Dramatists.

Teachers will send out Zoom Meeting to students enrolled in classes within 24hours before class begins.

Click one of these buttons to look at what classes we have in Playwriting, Screenwriting, Musical Writing, and Performance or you can look through our Winter Courses, listed out in chronological order below! We also have a few Fall classes left with seats available that can be found at the bottom of the page, so grab your seat quickly!

Please Note: Network Playwrights receive $25 off all class registrations, but you must be logged into your account for the discount to be applied. This also includes discounts for Resident Playwrights and Tutterow Fellows. You will be prompted to login when attempting to register. If you do not know how to get into your account, enter the email associated with your account under “Forgot Your Password” and an account reset will be sent.


Winter Classes

Playwriting Fundamentals
7 Wednesdays 6:00pm – 9:00pm CST
Jan 13 – Feb 24
Instructor: Marsha Estell

Sold out! Register now for the waitlist!

Looking to kick off your playwriting career?  Get started with “Playwriting Fundamentals,” at Chicago Dramatists!  Study the core essentials of writing your first play, and cover everything from dramatic structure, to character development, to writing realistic and vibrant dialogue.

This class is ideal for students who consider themselves beginners.

Loud And Clear Weekend Workshop
1 Weekend 1:00pm – 4:00pm CST
Jan 16 – Jan 17
Instructor: Jenni Lamb

This workshop is for playwrights who are looking to hone their writer’s voice and create work that is grounded in their unique aesthetic and experience. Writers will also leave with the tools to create better artist statements.

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

This workshop is for playwrights who are looking to hone their writer’s voice and create work that is grounded in their unique aesthetic and experience. Writers will also leave with the tools to create better artist statements.

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

Secret Life of the American Musical

6 Saturdays 10:00am – 1:00pm
Jan 16 – Feb 20

Sold out! Sign up now for the waitlist!

Musical theatre is one of the most lively and complex forms of theatrical storytelling. This course offers participants a big picture perspective on the elements of structure and craft that create dynamic music-driven stories. Experienced writers will gain new insights and tools for refining their work while sharing work from their musicals-in-progress. Newcomers to musical theatre writing will gain an overall understanding of the demands of the form, plus the confidence to present original work for feedback in a supportive class atmosphere.

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

“Scene Shop” Play Development (Thurs.)
7 Thursdays 6:30pm – 9:30pm Jan 21 – Mar 18
OR
“Scene Shop” Play Development (Sat.)
7 Saturdays 10:00am – 1:00pm Jan 23 – Mar 20
Instructor: Will Dunne

Both sessions of Scene Shop are sold out!!

Sign up for the waitlist!

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.

This class is ideal for students with experience ranging from intermediate to advanced.

Angels & Devils – Virtue & Vice: Solo Show & Story
7 Tuesdays 6:00pm – 9:15pm CST
Feb 02 – Mar 16
Instructor: Arlene Malinowski

Sold out! Register now for the waitlist!

This workshop is designed for storytellers, actors, solo artists and playwrights of all levels – who want to work on the development of a one person show or story for the stage. Develop your own material and cultivate your unique style and artistic voice. You’ll receive individual personalized coaching, dedicated to bringing your work into the world. There will be an online class performance which will be held as the eight session on March 23. Bring your ideas, an open mind and your sense of adventure.

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

Intermediate Playwriting
7 Thursdays 6:00pm – 9:00pm CST
Feb 04 – Mar 18
Instructor: Sue Pak

Sold out! Register now for the waitlist!

This course is designed to develop the writer’s individual theatrical style through writing a One-Act play.  Through the practice of writing and investigating plays, students will learn the fundamentals of play construction and theory, explore the elements of dramatic tension, and analyze a variety of plays, performances and exercises to develop a work that best expresses their authentic voice.

This class is ideal for students who consider themselves intermediate.

Romantic Comedy!

7 Sundays 6:00pm – 9:00pm Central
Jul 12 – Aug 23

7 Saturdays 1:00pm – 4:00pm CST
Feb 06 – Mar 20
Instructor: Mary Ruth Clarke

Sold out! Register now for the waitlist!

For screenwriters, playwrights, or teleplay writers, this is a class about the romance and comedy of searching for love, falling in love, being in love, staying in love…and maybe even failing in love. Taught by Resident Playwright Mary Ruth Clarke, (original screenwriter of “Meet the Parents”) writers will do a deep dive into what makes for a successful romantic comedy, in all its iterations.

This class is ideal for students with experience ranging from beginner to advanced.

Writing and Performance for the Internet
7 Wednesdays 6:00pm – 9:00pm CST
Feb 10 – Mar 24
Instructor: Olivia Lilley

Sold out! Register now for the waitlist!

Explore the capabilities of Zoom, Instagram, Tik Tok and other platforms, to create new performances and plays designed specifically for this vibrant and invigorating time. Students will study aspects of filmmaking–from lighting, to cinematography, to production design–and use generative devising exercises to create plays and performances meant to be experienced online. The work developed in class will be showcased as a part of Prop Thtr’s monthly Small Hours Festival. Experiment and play: make something new.

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

The Early Bird Registration Discount is not applicable for this course.  Network Discounts still apply.

Memoir Theatre
7 Saturdays 1:00pm – 4:00pm CST
Feb 20 – Apr 10
Instructor: Wendy Hammond

Sold out! Register now for the waitlist!

Memoir Theatre:  Writing the stories of our lives. Students will play writing games to unearth  what you care about, what enrages you, what hurt you, what shamed you, what lifted you, what you lost, what you gained, how you triumphed. Learn from memoir pieces by Roxane Gay, Jesmyn Ward, David Sedaris, Kiese Laymon, and Jeannette Walls, and talk about ways to make theatre from memoir. In the last class each student will read or perform a short memoir piece, for a Zoom showcase.

This class is ideal for students who consider themselves beginners.

The Early Bird Registration Discount is not applicable for this course. Network Discounts still apply.

Find Your Light
7 Sundays 1:00pm – 3:00pm CST
Feb 21 – Apr 18
Instructor: Atlie Gilbert

Join us for our newest class at Chicago Dramatists, built specifically for young artists! Looking for the perfect course for your drama-king, queen, or future star? In this dynamic performance-based class, young actors 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 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!

Students of all levels welcome.

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.

Ten Minute Play

7 Tuesdays 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Mar 02 – Apr 13

Instructor: Neil Blackadder

Get your next 10 minute play ready for our Second Annual Network 10 Minute Play Festival! As always, this festival is open exclusively to Network Members. This year the festival will take place on July 10, 2021. Submissions open April 1, and close April 30. Details of the Festival will be released later in the year! Sign up for this class below, and take your work to the next level!

How do you tell a complete and satisfying story in only ten minutes? This class, offered exclusively to Network Members is a deep dive into the intricacies and nuances of writing in this precise, compact form. Explore the many elements of the ten minute play, including structure, character motivation, diction, and more from acclaimed director and translator Neil Blackadder.

This course is ideal for writers at the intermediate and advanced levels.

This class is available to Chicago Dramatists Network Members only.

Telling Your Truth
7 Thursdays 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.

Advanced Playwriting
7 Saturdays 10:00am – 1:00pm CST
Mar 27 – May 15
Instructor: Dana Lynn Formby

Sold out! Register now for the waitlist!

In this class, you will pitch, outline, and write a long one-act or full-length play. You will add new tools to your writing toolbox that will help you define your voice and speak about your work. You will also develop a system to keep you on track for submitting your work. The class culminates with a scene of your choice by professional actors. 

Prerequisites: The writer has completed at least one play or screenplay, and has some rewriting and/or new play workshopping experience.

This class is ideal for students who consider themselves advanced.


Chicago Dramatists Class Fee Policies 

  • If you cancel your registration more than three weeks in advance of the class start date, you will be entitled to either a full refund of your money or a full credit applied to your account for future CD classes. 
  • If you cancel your registration less than than three weeks but more than ten days before the class start date, you will be entitled to a full credit applied to your account (minus a $20 administrative fee). However, there will be no refunds. 
  • If you cancel your registration fewer than ten days but more than three days before the class start date, you will be entitled to 50% of your class fee (minus a $20 administrative fee) applied to your account as a credit. 
  • If you cancel your registration less than three days before the class start date, there is unfortunately neither a credit nor refund option available.
  • Failure to pay fee or arrange payment schedule within 48 hours of registration will result in cancellation of registration.
  • Classes that fail to meet the 50% minimum registrant requirement within 48 hours of class start time will be cancelled. In this case, registrants will receive a 100% refund.
  • Separate discounts cannot be combined.