Fall 2022 Classes

Writing for the Small Screen (Online)

7 Saturdays 10:00am – 1:00pm CT
Sept. 17 – Nov. 12
Instructor: Mary Ruth Clarke

Television — in all its iterations — is hot. Producers are hungry for new voices and unique ideas. My students are succeeding – staffed on network and streaming shows, creating web series, and winning competitions.

Class Description

The third Golden Age of Television is upon us and the opportunities have never been greater. This class is for anyone who has an idea (any genre) that could make a great series and who wants to learn the crucial basics of how to write it.  We will study and analyze successful pilots to learn the form and craft of writing for television. We will tease out/explore the inherent possibilities in your idea, where it fits in the web, television and streaming landscape, how to position the idea, what makes for great TV characters, visual storytelling, budgetary considerations, proper story structure, and proper formatting.  And you’ll write and rewrite.  Leave this workshop with the makings of a pitch document, a deeper understanding of the the process of creation that optioned shows go through, a stronger grasp of the language that writers/producers/agents speak when talking business, and the beginnings of a rough draft of your very own TV pilot.

Teacher Bio

Mary Ruth Clarke co-wrote and starred in the original Meet the Parents and co-adapted it into the blockbuster version, starring Robert De Niro. Her dramedy teleplay Broadway, Ohio is a finalist in the Chicago Screenplay Awards, Page Turner Awards, and a semi finalist at Sundance Labs. Her comedy screenplay Alice and Celia and Whatever It Takes is a finalist for the Lit Laughs Comedy Film Festival and the Chicago Comedy Film Festival, and a is a semi finalist in the Chicago Screenplay Awards. Mary Ruth’s students are staffed on the TV shows Queens, Woke, and Family Reunion. She consults for clients in LA and Chicago, and she has critiqued about a gazillion plays and screenplays. She’s a regular guest lecturer at the Chicago Screenwriter’s Network and the Off Campus Writer’s Group. She is a member of the Writer’s Guide of America East and the Dramatists Guild.

Course Details

Session DatesSept. 17, 24
Oct. 08, 15, 22
Nov. 05, 12
Experience LevelBeginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Applicable DiscountsEarly Bird, New Student, Network

Solo Show & Storytelling: Fire & Ice
7 Tuesdays 6:00pm – 9:00pm CT
Sept 27 – Nov 08
Instructor: Arlene Malinowski

This hands-on workshop is for writers, actors & storytellers at all levels who want to work on the development of a solo show or story for the stage. This can include work at any stage of development from an idea to a finished piece. The class will focus on finding your unique voice and the voice of your story, plot, structure, character development, and techniques to manipulate storyteller/audience relationship.

Class Description

This hands-on workshop is for writers, actors & storytellers at all levels who want to work on the development of a solo show or story for the stage. This can include work at any stage of development from an idea to a finished piece. The class will focus on finding your unique voice and the voice of your story, plot, structure, character development, and techniques to manipulate storyteller/audience relationship. This class offers an opportunity to develop material, class exercises, one-on-one coaching, AND cheerleading. I am here to be your vision keeper with the goal of getting your work in the world. We will work hard and have big fun!

Teacher Bio

Arlene has been performing and teaching Solo & Story for over 25 years. Her award-winning solo works have been performed both in the US and internationally. She views her solo work as an artistic espresso of her social justice work in the area of Deafness and disability.  Her plays include, A Little Bit Not Normal, Full Disclosure, Aiming for Sainthood, What Does the Sun Sound Like, Interrobang, and Where All of it is True and None of it is Real. Theaters include Victory Gardens, Pritzker Pavilion, 16th Street theater, HBO Workspace, Collaboration, West Coast Ensemble, Minneapolis Arts center, St Louis Center of Contemporary Art and College and Universities. She is the recipient of 3 Arts/UIC fellowship, LA Ovations award, LA Garland Award. Finalist in New Plays from Heartland, semi-finalist Blue Ink award, and the O’Neill.As an actor, she has performed on stages in LA and Chicago including Goodman, 16th Street, Victory Gardens. She has been an Artist in Residence at 16th Street and Quad City. As a storyteller, she has performed all over Chicago & LA. Taught at College of the Canyons, Victory Gardens and Master-classes nationwide. She is a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists where she has developed the Solo & Story curriculum.

Course Details

Session DatesSept. 27
Oct. 04, 11, 18, 25
Nov. 01, 08
Experience LevelBeginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Applicable DiscountsNew Student, Network
*Note* – Early bird discount does not apply to Solo Show & Storytelling.

New Play Development Lab
10 Tuesdays 6:00pm – 7:30pm CT
Sept 13 – Nov 15
Instructor: Emilio Williams
***SOLD OUT*** Join the waitlist.

8 playwrights, 10 weeks, 8 new plays.

Class Description

This course is designed for you to work on a brand new play: your next one! Each of the eight playwrights participating will have four chances to share new pages during the ten-week-long process. The 90-minute zoom meetings will also include discussions and micro-lectures on issues ranging from craft to professional development.

Teacher Bio

A proud resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists, Emilio Williams is a bilingual (Spanish/English) award-winning writer and educator. His critically acclaimed plays have been produced in Argentina, Estonia, France, Mexico, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States, including in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington DC.

Emilio has lectured worldwide and teaches at several U.S. universities, including DePaul University, Columbia College Chicago, and Georgia State University. He holds a BA in Film and Video and an MFA in Writing.

Course Details

Session DatesSept 13, 20, 27
Oct. 04, 11, 18, 25
Nov. 01, 08, 15
Experience LevelBeginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Available DiscountsEarly Bird, New Student, Network

Performance Art (In-Person)
7 Saturdays 10:00am – 1:00pm CT
Oct 01 – Nov 12
Instructor: Kestutis Nakas

Unlock your inner protagonist and turn her/him/them loose LIVE on stage!

You will spend six sessions mining your experience and imagination to develop a ten-minute performance. In our seventh session, you will present your piece in a final, public performance. Performance styles may span the range of traditional variety performance modes: comedy, song, magic, puppetry, song, dance, circus or create something brand new!

This class will culminate with a live showcase, billed as a CD Saturday Series @ 2:00 PM CT on Nov 12. It will enforce any and all COVID-19 restrictions/safety protocols for live performance at that time.

***MASKS AND VAX CARDS REQUIRED FOR CLASS ENTRY***

Class Description

You will spend six sessions mining your experience and imagination to develop a ten-minute performance. In our seventh session, you will present your piece in a final, public performance. Performance styles may span the range of traditional variety performance modes: comedy, song, magic, puppetry, song, dance, circus or create something brand new!

This class will culminate with a live showcase, billed as a CD Saturday Series @ 2:00 PM CT on Nov 12. It will enforce any and all COVID-19 restrictions/safety protocols for live performance at that time.

***MASKS AND VAX CARDS REQUIRED FOR CLASS ENTRY***

Teacher Bio

Kestutis Nakas’ work has been presented at La Mama, Dixon Place, P.S. 122, St. Mark’s Church, 8BC, and many other venues. Works include RIP, Railroad Backward, Remembrance of Things Pontiac, Lightning and  The Andrew Carnegie Story.\He has taught at NYU, UCLA, CUNY, and the University of New Mexico. He is an Emeritus Professor of Theatre at The Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University in Chicago. His performance text about urban beekeeping, No Bees for Bridgeport, was published in Animal Acts, Performing Species Today, an anthology of new performances edited by Una Chaudhuri and Holly Hughes, University of Michigan Press. A bilingual edition of his critically acclaimed tragi-comic cycle: When Lithuania Ruled The World was published by Aukso Zuvys, Vilnius, in February 2017. In December 2017, he presented Channel D a new solo show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. 

Course Details

Session DatesOctober 01, 08, 15, 22, 29
November 05, 12
Experience LevelBeginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Available DiscountsEarly Bird, New Student, Network

Advanced Playwriting (Online)
7 Thursdays 6:00pm – 9:00pm CT
Oct 06 – Nov 17
Instructor: Eric Holmes

In this class, students will write or revise a full-length play. Using a workshop class approach, students will have multiple opportunities to share their work for in-class feedback facilitated by the instructor. Students are welcome to bring plays at any stage of development.

Class Description

In this class students will write or revise a full length play. Using a workshop class approach, students will have multiple opportunities to share their work for in-class feedback facilitated by the instructor. Students are welcome to bring plays at any stage of development. We will take a holistic approach to examining each other’s work—not only focusing on plot, but on all the theatrical elements that can be utilized for storytelling (i.e. imagery, metaphor, structure, etc.). Not only will students deepen their writing craft, they will also develop their ability to give feedback to peers.

Teacher Bio

Eric Micha Holmes is a playwright and audio-dramatist whose work has been heard on Audible (“Rapture Season”), the BBC (“Care Inc.”), and seen at The National Black Theatre (“Mondo Tragic”),  The New Black Fest (“Pornplay; or, Blessèd Are The Meek”), New York Theatre Workshop (“Nimpsey Pink”), and Guild Hall (“Falls For Jodie”). Residencies and fellowships include Djerassi Artist Residency, The Dramatist Guild Fellowship, Space At Ryder Farm, and the ‘I Am Soul’ Playwright’s Residency at The National Black Theatre. “Walking Next To Michael Brown: Confessions Of A Tragic Mulatto,” was commissioned by The New Black Fest and has toured with Kennedy Center’s Civic Artist Award winning “Hands Up: 7 Playwrights / 7 Testaments” to theaters across the country including The Alliance Theatre, The Brooklyn Museum Of Art, Red Door Theatre, Crowded Fire Theatre, The Museum Of The Moving Image, The Hansberry Project, and Flashpoint Theatre.

Course Details

Session DatesOctober 06, 13, 20, 27
November 03, 10, 17
Expereience LevelAdvanced
Applicable DiscountsEarly Bird, New Student, Network

Intermediate Playwriting (Online)
7 Thursdays 6:00pm – 9:00pm CT
Oct 06 – Nov 17
Instructor: Nina Morrison

In this course, we will focus on generating new work. Each week, writing prompts and page count goals will be given. Students can expect to leave the class with around 40 pages of new work.

Class Description

In this course, we will focus on generating new work and discovering the processes and methods that best support your ongoing writing practice. Each week, writing prompts and page count goals will be given. Everyone will share their work out loud and receive structured feedback from the instructor and fellow students. Students can expect to leave the class with at least 40 pages of new work.

Teacher Bio

Nina Morrison is a playwright, screenwriter and stage director. Her plays have been presented in New York City at Dixon Place, Fordham University, the HOT! Festival of Queer Performance, the NY International Fringe Festival, and the Little Theatre series, among others. She was a finalist for New Dramatists in 2018 and 2019, as well as a finalist for the Jerome in 2019. Nina was the Provost’s Postgraduate Visiting Writer in Playwriting 2019-2020 at the University of Iowa. She was also the recipient of an artist’s residency at Dixon Place and a WORKSPACE writer’s residency at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. MFA Iowa Playwrights Workshop.

Course Details

Session DatesOct. 06, 13, 20, 27
Nov. 03, 10, 17
Experience LevelIntermediate
Available DiscountsEarly Bird, New Student, Network

Playwriting Fundamentals (Online)
7 Wednesdays 6:00pm – 8:30pm CT
Oct. 12 – Nov. 30
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.  Led by Marsha Estell, this course is dedicated to helping you find your unique voice as a dramatist.  Class members will write and workshop a 10-minute play, applying all that they’ve learned, over the course of the class! 

Class Description

Discover, Explore, Experiment, and write!
Discover the core principles of dramatic writing by reading established plays.
Explore your unique voice through writing exercises.

In Fundamentals, 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, and will write a 10-minute play or 1st 10 pages of a larger work by applying what you have learned.

Teacher Bio

Marsha Estell is a resident playwright alumna at Chicago Dramatists, 2010 3Arts/Ragdale Fellow, and recipient of the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship for Playwriting. Her plays include Heat, which had its world premiere at Chicago Dramatists and was nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award for Outstanding New Work and many other award-winning work. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, SAG/AFTRA and Actors Equity.

Course Details

Session DatesOct. 12, 19, 26
Nov. 02, 09, 16, 30

NO CLASS NOVEMBER 23
Experience LevelBeginner
Available DiscountsEarly Bird, New Student, Network

Scene Shop” Play Development Thursday Nights (Online)
**SOLD OUT** Join the waitlist.
7 Thursdays 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Oct 13 – Dec 15
OR
“Scene Shop” Play Development Saturday Mornings (Online)
***SOLD OUT*** Join the waitlist.
7 Saturdays 10:00am – 1:00pm
Oct 15 – Dec 17
Instructor: Will Dunne

Designed as an ongoing resource for experienced playwrights and now in its 15th year, Scene Shop offers weekly character, scene, and story tools to help you develop your script, professional actors to read your work, and constructive group feedback to help you evaluate your progress.

Class Description

Designed as an ongoing resource for experienced playwrights and now in its 15th year, Scene Shop offers weekly character, scene, and story tools to help you develop your script, professional actors to read your work, and constructive group feedback to help you evaluate your progress. 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.

Teacher Bio

Will Dunne is the author of THE DRAMATIC WRITER’S COMPANION (2009, Second Edition 2017), THE ARCHITECTURE OF STORY (2016), and CHARACTER, SCENE, AND STORY (2017) all published internationally by the University of Chicago Press. His plays have been presented worldwide in three languages and earned numerous honors, including three selections by the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center for the U.S. National Playwrights Conference, a Charles MacArthur Fellowship awarded by the O’Neill for outstanding comedy, four Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards, two DramaLogue Playwriting Awards, and a Best-of-Year mention from the San Francisco Examiner. He also has been nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Play and twice been named a finalist for the Heideman Award at the Actors Theatre of Louisville.

Thursday Details

Session DatesOctober 13, 20, 27
November 10, 17

December 8, 15
No class 11/3, 11/24, 12/1
Experience LevelIntermediate, Advanced
Available DiscountsNew Student, Network
Saturday Details

Session DatesOctober 15, 22, 29
November 12, 19

December 10, 17
No Class 11/5, 11/26, 12/3
Experience LevelIntermediate, Advanced
Available DiscountsNew Students, Network

Playwriting Fundamentals (Online)
7 Wednesdays 6:00pm – 8:30pm CT
Oct. 12 – Nov. 30
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.  Led by Marsha Estell, this course is dedicated to helping you find your unique voice as a dramatist.  Class members will write and workshop a 10-minute play, applying all that they’ve learned, over the course of the class! 

Class Description

Discover, Explore, Experiment, and write!
Discover the core principles of dramatic writing by reading established plays.
Explore your unique voice through writing exercises.

In Fundamentals, 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, and will write a 10-minute play or 1st 10 pages of a larger work by applying what you have learned.

Teacher Bio

Marsha Estell is a resident playwright alumna at Chicago Dramatists, 2010 3Arts/Ragdale Fellow, and recipient of the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship for Playwriting. Her plays include Heat, which had its world premiere at Chicago Dramatists and was nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award for Outstanding New Work and many other award-winning work. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, SAG/AFTRA and Actors Equity.

Course Details

Session DatesOct. 12, 19, 26
Nov. 02, 09, 16, 30

NO CLASS NOVEMBER 23
Experience LevelBeginner
Available DiscountsEarly Bird, New Student, Network

Scene Shop” Play Development Thursday Nights (Online)
**SOLD OUT** Join the waitlist.
7 Thursdays 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Oct 13 – Dec 15
OR
“Scene Shop” Play Development Saturday Mornings (Online)
***SOLD OUT*** Join the waitlist.
7 Saturdays 10:00am – 1:00pm
Oct 15 – Dec 17
Instructor: Will Dunne

Designed as an ongoing resource for experienced playwrights and now in its 15th year, Scene Shop offers weekly character, scene, and story tools to help you develop your script, professional actors to read your work, and constructive group feedback to help you evaluate your progress.

Class Description

Designed as an ongoing resource for experienced playwrights and now in its 15th year, Scene Shop offers weekly character, scene, and story tools to help you develop your script, professional actors to read your work, and constructive group feedback to help you evaluate your progress. 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.

Teacher Bio

Will Dunne is the author of THE DRAMATIC WRITER’S COMPANION (2009, Second Edition 2017), THE ARCHITECTURE OF STORY (2016), and CHARACTER, SCENE, AND STORY (2017) all published internationally by the University of Chicago Press. His plays have been presented worldwide in three languages and earned numerous honors, including three selections by the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center for the U.S. National Playwrights Conference, a Charles MacArthur Fellowship awarded by the O’Neill for outstanding comedy, four Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards, two DramaLogue Playwriting Awards, and a Best-of-Year mention from the San Francisco Examiner. He also has been nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Play and twice been named a finalist for the Heideman Award at the Actors Theatre of Louisville.

Thursday Details

Session DatesOctober 13, 20, 27
November 10, 17

December 8, 15
No class 11/3, 11/24, 12/1
Experience LevelIntermediate, Advanced
Available DiscountsNew Student, Network
Saturday Details

Session DatesOctober 15, 22, 29
November 12, 19

December 10, 17
No Class 11/5, 11/26, 12/3
Experience LevelIntermediate, Advanced
Available DiscountsNew Students, Network

New Play Development Lab
10 Tuesdays 6:00pm – 7:30pm CT
Sept 13 – Nov 15
Instructor: Emilio Williams
***SOLD OUT*** Join the waitlist.

8 playwrights, 10 weeks, 8 new plays.

Class Description

This course is designed for you to work on a brand new play: your next one! Each of the eight playwrights participating will have four chances to share new pages during the ten-week-long process. The 90-minute zoom meetings will also include discussions and micro-lectures on issues ranging from craft to professional development.

Teacher Bio

A proud resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists, Emilio Williams is a bilingual (Spanish/English) award-winning writer and educator. His critically acclaimed plays have been produced in Argentina, Estonia, France, Mexico, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States, including in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington DC.

Emilio has lectured worldwide and teaches at several U.S. universities, including DePaul University, Columbia College Chicago, and Georgia State University. He holds a BA in Film and Video and an MFA in Writing.

Course Details

Session DatesSept 13, 20, 27
Oct. 04, 11, 18, 25
Nov. 01, 08, 15
Experience LevelBeginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Available DiscountsEarly Bird, New Student, Network
%d bloggers like this: