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

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.

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
“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

One spot remaining!

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

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 Thursdays 6:00pm – 9:00pm CST
Feb 06 – Mar 20
Instructor: Mary Ruth Clarke

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

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

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.

Ten Minute Play

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

Instructor: Neil Blackadder

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.   Members may apply both the 20% Early Bird Registration, and their Network Discount.

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.

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

Limited spots remaining! Sign up now!

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.

Fall Classes

Playwriting for Teens:
Writing the One Page Play

3 Day Intensive 4:30pm – 6:00pm CST
Dec 02 – Dec 16
Instructor: Cassandra Rose

In this playwriting class geared towards high schoolers, learn how to write a full play in one page. And then do it again. And again. And again. At the end of the course writers will each have 3 brand new plays, freshly written. At the end of the class, they will get to see their best work read by Chicago’s best professional actors. Perfect for both young writers that have never written a play before and for those that have written quite a few.

This class is ideal for teenage students.

Solo Show & Storytelling: Warrior Weekend
2 Day Intensive 1:00pm – 5:15pm CST
Dec 05 – Dec 06
Instructor: Arlene Malinowski

Sold out!

This workshop focuses on finding your voice and the voice of the story. It is filled with hands-on activities, lecture and one-on-one coaching that is designed to uncover, develop and shape those stories that are uniquely yours.  All levels are welcome including actors, storytellers, writers and solo artists.

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

Radio Play Bootcamp – December Session
3 Day Intensive
Dec 11: 6:00pm – 8:00pm CST
Dec 12: 10:00am – 2:00pm CST
Dec 13: 10:00am – 12:00pm CST
Instructor: Connie Kuntz



Sign up now for the waitlist!

Podcasts and audio plays have never been more vital than they are right now.  Learn how to write and edit a play for radio using Zoom and Adobe Audition!–create work that can be crafted and shared now.  All writers will finish the course with a rough cut of the radio play they created together during the class.

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