Playwriting

Bring your story to the stage.

Summer Classes at Chicago Dramatists are staying online due to the quarantine. We happily accept students from anywhere in the world (and even have some out of state teachers this term). Due to the pandemic and its impact on our staff hours, cash flow, and management capacities, we have discontinued our deferred payment option. We apologize for this inconvenience and hope to relaunch it in the future. Thank you for your understanding.

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.


Summer Classes

Playwriting Fundamentals

7 Sundays 1:00pm – 4:00pm Central
Jun 14 – Jul 26

In Fundamentals, taught by Resident Playwright Marsha Estell, you will become familiar with the components of dramatic structure and formatting, receive tools to explore your unique voice and learn how to give and receive usable feedback. Students will write and workshop a 10-minute play applying what you have learned.

This class is ideal for beginner students.

Structure as Storytelling

7 Wednesdays 6:00pm – 9:00pm Central
Jun 24 – Aug 05

Sold out!

Structure as Storytelling, taught by Resident Playwright Kristin Idaszak, will allow students to deepen their understanding of how structure works and to deploy it strategically within their writing. Through this course we will look at plays with a variety of structures and break them down to understand how and why they are functioning.

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

“Scene Shop” Play Development (Thurs. Nights)

7 Thursdays 6:30pm – 9:30pm Jun 25 – Aug 27

OR


“Scene Shop” Play Development (Sat. Mornings)

7 Saturdays 10:00am – 1:00pm Jun 27 – Aug 29

Both Sessions are Sold Out!

Taught by Resident Playwright Will Dunne, these 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. Click on either of the links above to registered for your preferred day of the week!

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

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

Sister, Soldier, Self-Preserver:
Writing through Storms

7 Wednesdays 6:00pm – 8:00pm Central
Jul 15 – Aug 26

This workshop is designed for Black playwrights who are Female, Femme identifying, Non-binary, and/or identify as women, to explore strategies for writing, with a balance of both self-care and their own larger artistic mission. Using plays from the Black female canon and elsewhere as inspiration, participants will be guided through discussions and generative exercises to develop new pages.

Chicago Dramatists is offering this course free-of-charge to up to 8 students. Students will be chosen by a simple application process via the link provided. Selected applicants will be notified of their acceptance by July 8, by the instructor.  Class will then begin on July 15.

This class is ideal for intermediate to advanced students.

Genre Writing for the Stage:
Sci-Fi, Fantasy, & Horror Plays-in-Progress

2 Weekends 1:00pm – 2:30pm Central
Jul 18 – Jul 26

Playwright Derek Lee McPhatter leads four workshop sessions focused on play development techniques in a genre context (sci-fi, fantasy, horror). Participants will analyze scenes from fantasy, sci-fi and horror theater scripts. They will participate in several rigorous in-session writing and feedback sessions, and will complete the workshop with a ten-minute play or first ten pages of their new script! The workshop is designed for writers developing a specific original sci-fi/fantasy/horror play or adapting a project in these genre categories.

Chicago Dramatists is offering this course free-of-charge to up to 10 students. Students will be chosen by a simple application process via the link provided.Applicants will be invited to participate after completing a brief survey, with a select number of slots reserved for black writers as part of Chicago Dramatist’s ongoing response to the current moment. The deadline for submission of applications is midnight on July 10.

This class is ideal for intermediate to advanced students.

Master Class: End of Play

7 Tuesdays 6:00pm – 9:00pm Central
Jul 21 – Sep 01

This is a special master class with Chicago Dramatist Resident Playwright Emilio Williams. Up to 8 playwrights will work on the final drafts of their plays. Students will be chosen by an application process via the link above. Selected students will then be provided the link to register for the course via our events portal.

This class is ideal for advanced students.

Discount Codes may not be applied to Master Class: End of Play.
Membership discounts are still applicable.

The Playwright’s Craft

7 Wednesdays 6:00pm – 9:00pm Central
Jul 22 – Sep 02

This class, led by Resident Playwright Emilio Williams, is designed for playwrights who have completed, at least, one draft of a full-length play. The class will deal with how to overcome the obstacles to develop a sustainable writing practice. We will discuss how the text can be improved through the use of theatrical devices such as props, sound, lighting, costumes, and scenic design. We will focus on the craft of structure, on developing three-dimensional characters and excellent dialogue. We will also learn how to self-edit our final drafts.

This class is ideal for advanced students.

Discount Codes may not be applied to The Playwright’s Craft.
Membership discounts are still applicable.

The Poetics of Playwriting (Sat. Mornings)

7 Saturdays 10:00am – 1:00pm Central
Jul 25 – Sep 05

SOLD OUT!!

Led by Playwrights’ Center Core Writer and nationally-produced playwright Marisela Treviño Orta, this class will examine specific poetic elements and how different playwrights use them in their storytelling. 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.

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

The Poetics of Playwriting (Sun. Afternoons)

7 Sundays 1:00pm – 4:00pm Central
Jul 26 – Sep 06

Sold Out!

Led by Playwrights’ Center Core Writer and nationally-produced playwright Marisela Treviño Orta, this class will examine specific poetic elements and how different playwrights use them in their storytelling. 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.

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

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)
“Scene Shop” Sampler (Sat. Mornings)

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.