Playwriting

Register now with our Early Bird Special to get 20% off select classes! Offer ends Jun 16.

Ring in the new year with us and create your next great work! We happily accept students from all around the world and invite you to study with us virtually. Take the leap and join us here at Chicago Dramatists.


Summer Classes

New Work and Collaborative Process
7 Thursdays 6:00pm – 9:00pm CT
June 28 – August 16
Instructor: Kate Hendrickson

Enter the rehearsal room in this class with director Kate Hendrickson as she shares her collaborative approach to new work development.

Class Description

Enter the rehearsal room in this class with director Kate Hendrickson as she shares her collaborative approach to new work development. You’ll first read and discuss works that Kate has premiered, and then approach student scripts with the same eye toward how to bring works to full production. Over the course of the class, discussions will include Kate’s detailed notes and a director-to-playwright constructive review of each work as the class listens in. Each session concludes with a group Q&A for further insight into the rehearsal and production process. Participating playwrights will gain a new sense of how a director may approach and envision their new work.

Teacher Bio

Kate Hendrickson is a Chicago based theatre director and teaching artist, who specializes in premiering new plays by radical American playwrights. She is a resident director at Trap Door Theatre where she has directed the world premieres of Lipstick Lobotomy, Fantasy Island for Dummies, ANGER/FLY, Cookie Play, Chaste and Beholder, among others. Additional work includes We Are Pussy Riot at Red Tape, the International Voices Project, Pivot Arts’ Multi-Arts Festival, and Links Hall’s Physical Fest Chicago. Kate has also worked as an actor, casting assistant, and script reader, and is a teaching artist with Urban Gateways.

Course Details

Session DatesJune 28
July 12, 19, 26
August 02, 09, 16
Experience LevelThis course is ideal for writers who are at the advanced level.
Available DiscountsNetwork, Early Bird, New Student

The Power of Our Stories – An LGBTQIA Workshop
4 Wednesdays 6:00pm – 9:00pm CT
June 29 – July 20
Instructor: Kurt Jolly

Join us in pride month and beyond for the next FREE four week course specifically for queer creators! Workshop your stories with other creators, and gain helpful writing exercises to unlock the power in your storytelling!

Class Description

Join us for a 4 week workshop for Queer creatives that will dive into the power of our stories! Taking the shape from stories in your life, this workshop will guide you with unique writing exercises and activities that will help harness your creative energy and focus individual writing goals. We will also be sharing in a group setting what it is like as queer creatives, and work on becoming a stronger community by sharing our unique stories with each other. In the weeks you will explore what you want to share, create memorable scenes and characters, workshop these writings, and work creatively in a shared safe space for queer creatives.

Teacher Bio

Kurt Jolly (he/him) is a Queer Chicago-based writer, director, and interactive artist. He has a diverse experience in many artistic avenues: art education, on the stage, behind the writing desk, and behind the camera. Like his name, he looks to find the joy and happiness in the world while also acknowledging its darkness. He has a Masters in Education and Leadership, and has studied at the Harold Ramis Film School at The Second City Chicago. One of his comedic pilot screenplays was selected as a semi-finalist in the Teen Movie Contest from Powederkeg (Paul Fieg) and ColorCreative (Issa Rae/Deniese Davis), and his latest short film “GlitterLand” was accepted into various film festivals around the country, and will be featured on ImageUnion TV.

Course Details

Session DatesJun 29
Jul 06, 13, 20
Experience LevelThis course is open to all LGBTQIA+ writers, ranging from beginner to advanced.
Available DiscountsFree Course

This free class is being offered as a part of our Anti-Racism & Inequality Free Class Series, and is part of our continued commitment to stand alongside those fighting for social justice, and against inequality.

In accordance with the instructor’s vision for this course, this class will be open to students who identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community.


Scene Shop” Play Development Thursday Nights (Online)
SOLD OUT!!!
7 Thursdays 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Jul 07 – Aug 25
OR
“Scene Shop” Play Development Saturday Mornings (Online)
SOLD OUT!!!
7 Saturdays 10:00am – 1:00pm
Jul 09 – Aug 27
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 DatesJuly 07, 14, 21, 28
August 11, 18, 25

No class 8/4
Experience LevelIntermediate, Advanced
Available DiscountsNew Student, Network
Saturday Details

Session DatesJuly 09, 16, 23, 30
August 13, 20, 27
No class 8/6
Experience LevelIntermediate, Advanced
Available DiscountsNew Students, Network


Playwrights Colloquium (Online)
4 Sundays 1:00pm – 3:00pm CT
Aug 07 – Aug 28
Instructor: Marisela Orta

Pick the brain of a professional playwright on a variety of subjects. Colloquium participants will choose the topics explored in this 4 week course.

Class Description

The Playwrights Colloquium is a 4 week course that meets for two hours each week. Facilitated by a playwright with over 20 productions, the colloquium is designed to offer playwrights a space to delve into a series of topics chosen by participants (i.e. graduate school, career paths, productions, etc.). The facilitator will share their professional knowledge and field participant questions. Each session will conclude with time devoted to a writing exercise.

Teacher Bio

An award-winning playwright, Marisela Treviño Orta is a graduate of the Iowa Playwrights Workshop, a Playwrights’ Center Affiliated Writer, and screenwriter. Her award-winning work has been produced at theatres across the country, including the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Arizona Theatre Company, Nashville Children’s Theatre, Kitchen Dog Theater, Halcyon Theatre, New Jersey Repertory Company, Shotgun Players, and Audible. Recently, Mariselahas ventured into feature film and television.

Course Details

Session DatesAug 07, 14, 21, 28
Experience LevelBeginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Available DiscountsEarly Bird, New Student, Network

Scene Shop” Sampler Thursday Nights (Online)
3 Thursdays 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Sep 08, 15, 22
OR
“Scene Shop” Sampler Saturday Mornings (Online)
3 Saturdays 10:00am – 1:00pm
Sep 10, 17, 24
Instructor: Will Dunne

The Scene Shop Sampler is a once-a-year opportunity to give “Scene Shop” Play Development a try without having to make a full-quarter commitment.

Class Description

Now starting its 16th year, this weekly workshop for experienced playwrights offers writing tools, professional actors, and constructive group feedback to help you write or revise your play. 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 DatesSep 08, 15, 22
Experience LevelIntermediate, Advanced
Available DiscountsNetwork
Saturday Details

Session DatesSep 10, 17, 24
Experience LevelIntermediate, Advanced
Available DiscountsNetwork


Chicago Dramatists Class Fee Policies 

  • If you cancel your registration more than ten days 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 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.
  • 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.
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