Playwriting

Bring your story to the stage.

Fall 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.

Learn the art and craft of this time-honored form. Enrich your writing and hone your playwriting tools, with one of our many courses. Writers are afforded the opportunity to collaborate with actors, dramaturgs, and directors: leaders in the field of dramatic storytelling. Come to class, and bring your story to the stage.

Choose the class that suits you and click on the class’s name to go to the details page.

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.


Fall Classes

Playwriting for Devising Processes
7 Saturdays 1:00pm – 4:00pm CST
Sep 05 – Oct 17
Instructor: Olivia Lilley

SOLD OUT!!

In this course, you will learn how to refine your concept, assemble a team, and write for or with an ensemble. I will take you through every step from identifying the story you’d like to tell, figuring out who should tell it with you, assembling your team in a respectful and intentional way, and creating collective agreements.

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

Fall Discounts codes are not applicable for this course. Network & Membership discounts still apply.

The Making of Monsters
8 Mondays 7:00pm – 9:00pm CST
Sep 07 – Oct 26
Digital Showcase: Nov 02
Instructor: Hester Kamin

From Iago to Grendel, from The Snow Queen to Lady Macbeth, how are antagonists born? What backstory and what conflicting systems of need and desire fuse to create characters who plant seeds of jealousy and doubt, summon chaos, and fuel violence?  This course asks questions about the development of conscience, the nature of evil, and the relationship between history, fate, and choice.

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

Fall Discounts codes are not applicable for this course. Network & Membership discounts still apply.

Playwriting Fundamentals
7 Wednesdays 6:00pm – 9:00pm CST
Sep 09 – Oct 21
Instructor: Marsha Estell

SOLD OUT!!

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.

The Poetics of Playwriting
7 Saturdays 10:00am – 1:00pm CST
Sep 12 – Oct 24
Instructor: Marisela Orta

SOLD OUT!!

Over the course of seven-weeks, students will read five assigned plays and participate in class discussion to explore how to employ these narrative tools in their own writing. Using writing exercises and assignments, students will have the opportunity to experiment with these new tools to deepen their own playwriting craft. In this supportive class environment, we will learn by doing—we will experiment with these tools and take risks to push our writing in new directions.

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

Fall Discount codes are not applicable for this code. Network & Membership discounts still apply.

“Scene Shop” Play Development (Thurs.)
7 Thursdays 6:30pm – 9:30pm Oct 08 – Dec 10
OR
“Scene Shop” Play Development (Sat.)
7 Saturdays 10:00am – 1:00pm Oct 10 – Dec 12
Instructor: Will Dunne

SATURDAY SCENE SHOP IS SOLD OUT!!

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.

Fall Discount codes are not applicable for this course. Network & Membership discounts still apply.

Intermediate Playwriting
7 Wednesdays 6:00pm – 9:00pm CST
Oct 21 – Dec 02
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 (1) learn the fundamentals of play construction and theory, (2) explore the elements of dramatic tension, and (3) 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.

Advanced Playwriting
7 Saturdays 10:00am – 1:00pm CST
Oct 24 – Dec 12
Instructor: Dana Lynn Formby

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.

Comedic Storytelling:
Finding the Funny in the World and in You

7 Tuesdays 6:00pm – 9:00pm CST
Oct 27 – Dec 15
Instructor: Kurt Jolly

Comedy can be a true tonic to the toxicities and confusions of our modern world — as well, the art of humor can be used as a unique and diagnostic mirror into it. In this class, you will learn how to “find the funny” with special writing exercises, unique brainstorming tricks, and methods of tapping into your own comedic voice.

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

Serving the Story:
Crossing Narrative Borders

7 Thursdays 6:00pm – 9:00pm CST
Oct 29 – Dec 17
Instructor: Carey Friedman

How a script is structured supports an underlying belief system of how reality is constructed.  Traditional western structure is often not inclusive of realities outside of a Judeo-Christian ideology.  This class will examine texts from Asia, Africa and Indigenous America to explore how belief systems create story and structure that serve essential creeds of the community.  Students will use these concepts to create dramatic work that challenges, explores and supports their own personal patterns and structured realities.

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

Radio Play Bootcamp – November Session
3 Day Intensive
Nov 20: 6:00pm – 8:00pm CST
Nov 21: 10:00am – 2:00pm CST
Nov 22: 10:00am – 12:00pm CST
Instructor: Connie Kuntz

SOLD OUT!!

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.

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

SOLD OUT!!

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.


Summer Classes

Intermediate Playwriting

7 Sundays 1:00pm – 4:00pm Central
Aug 02 – Sep 13

This course, taught by Resident Playwright Marsha Estell, is the next step for any student who has embarked on Playwright Fundamentals. Students will delve deeper into the components of dramatic structure, evaluate conflict, identify and discriminate theatricality, differentiate use of stage direction, and articulate how to use plasticity of the stage within format—applying it all by writing the first draft of a one-act play or the first act of a full-length play.

This class is ideal for intermediate students.

“Scene Shop” Sampler (Thurs. Nights)

Only 1 Spot Remaining!
“Scene Shop” Sampler (Sat. Mornings)

Only 2 Spots Remaining!

3 Thursdays 6:30pm – 9:30pm Sep 10 – Sep 24
or
3 Saturdays 10:00am – 1:00pm Sep 12 – Sep 26

A once-a-year opportunity to see how Scene Shop works without having to make a full-quarter commitment. This course is taught by Resident Playwright Will Dunne. Over the course of three sampler sessions, you’ll do character, scene, and story explorations of your script, hear professional actors read the work you bring from home, and receive constructive group comments in a supportive setting. If you find the “Scene Shop” process helpful and want more, you can sign up for the full quarter starting in October.

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

Discount Codes may not be applied to “Scene Shop” Sampler.
Membership discounts are still applicable.


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.