Monthly Archives :

    August 2019

    Doin’ it for the Culture: The Playwright as Cultural Worker & (Post-) Apocalyptic Anthropologist with Erika Dickerson-Despenza

    640 433 Play Penn

    What do we do while standing at the edge of ongoing apocalypses? We make new futures possible by writing the world(s) to come.

    In this workshop, participants use anthropological frameworks, exercise principles of cultural work and examine an array of speculative literary and visual texts in order to generate speculative dramatic scenes that will culminate in an original, interdisciplinary short work. Participants will also develop a community-centered initiative that would lead, accompany and/or follow the performance. By practicing the future together, participants will be empowered to “respect their rage and their power” as liberation workers in the collective struggle for justice.

    Online: October 30, November 7, November 14, November 21: 7p – 9p E.S.T. / 5p – 7p P.S.T.

    Online via Zoom.

    Enrolled students will be contacted prior to the first session with required reading and preliminary assignments.

    Erika Dickerson-Despenza is a Blk feminist poet-playwright, cultural worker, educator and grassroots organizer from Chicago, Illinois. She’s the recipient of the 2019 Princess Grace Award in Playwriting/Fellowship at New Dramatists and was a 2018 Relentless Award Semifinalist. Erika is a National Arts & Culture Delegate for the U.S. Water Alliance’s One Water Summit 2019. She’s the 2019-2020 Tow Playwright-in-Residence at the Public Theater, a 2019 Writers’ Gathering Jerusalem Writer-in-Residence, a 2019 New York Stage and Film Fellow-in-Residence, a 2019 New Harmony Project Writer-in-Residence, a 2018-2019 Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellow and was The Lark’s 2018 Van Lier New Voices Fellow. Erika is a 2019-2020 member of Ars Nova Play Group and a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Obie-winning Youngblood collective. Her work has been developed at The Lark, Vineyard Arts Project, New York Stage and Film, Public Theater, Victory Gardens Theater, Fault Line Theatre and Jackalope Theatre. Current plays in development include: ocean’s lip/ heavn’s shore, took/tied, hung/split, shadow/land, and cullud wattah (2019 Kilroys List; Public Theater, 2020). In addition to this water tetralogy, Erika is developing a 10-play Katrina Cycle, including [hieroglyph] (2019 Kilroys List), focused on the effects of Hurricane Katrina and its state-sanctioned man-made disaster.

    $150

    Tuition

    Register Here

    Click the link below to visit our Reservation Page, where you can view all classes and register for this course. For questions or to inquire about payment plans, please email classes@playpenn.org.

    When you register for a PlayPenn class before September 20, 2019 you’ll be invited to submit your unproduced, full-length play for consideration for a professional staged reading. PlayPenn will produce one student’s play as a reading with a professional director, professional actors and a PlayPenn dramaturg in Philadelphia in early 2020. Only plays that have not had a professional production or reading will be considered. PlayPenn will cover the cost of the reading, but the student is responsible for their own housing and transportation. If you register for a class by the deadline, additional details will be emailed to you along with a submission form.

    If you like expanding theatre’s depth and breadth, you’ll love PlayPenn.

    -Tasha Maria T., 2019 Student

    “If you are thinking about taking a class from PlayPenn, do it.”

    -Stacey, 2018 Student

    Writing From The Deep with Lisa Kenner Grissom

    640 433 Play Penn

    Harness personal experience in your dramatic writing.

    We all have significant personal experiences that define, change or transform us—some are joyful, others painful. People often say, write what you know. But how? In this workshop, we will explore techniques to tap into your personal history in a safe way in order to enrich your characters with deep emotional resonance and subtext. Both in-class and at-home writing exercises will help you ask meaningful questions of yourself and your characters, construct compelling pieces from your own source materials, and make your story come alive with an authentic voice. This four-week online workshop is for writers who want to draw upon their personal histories to use emotions, memories and experiences to deepen the themes, characters and stories in their dramatic work.

    Tuesdays (online): October 29, November 5, November 12, November 19: 7 pm – 9 pm E.S.T. / 5 pm – 7 pm P.S.T.

    Online.

    Enrolled students will be contacted prior to the first session with recommended reading and preliminary assignments.

    Lisa Kenner Grissom is an LA-based playwright whose work explores complex social issues through intimate relationships, often through the lens of strong, complicated women. Her award-winning short film Tattoo You is based on her award-winning one-act of the same name (Winner, Samuel French Off Off Broadway Festival), and has screened at festivals nationally and internationally. Full-length plays include: Four Chambers (Winner of the Jean Kennedy Smith Award, Kennedy Center ACTF; O’Neill Playwrights Conference Finalist), Motherland (Princess Grace Fellowship and Bridge Initiative Finalist), Building The Perfect Chair (TruVoices Finalist) and Shelter (PlayPenn Semi-Finalist). In addition, her work has been recognized as a finalist for The Ashland New Play Festival, The Lark, The Playwrights’ Center and Heideman Award, among others. Her short plays are published by Smith & Kraus. Lisa twice attended the O’Neill Playwrights Conference as a Kennedy Center Fellow. Her work has been presented and/or developed at The Kennedy Center, Antaeus Theater Company, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, Chalk Rep, Clurman Theater, Inkwell Theater, Moving Arts, Manhattan Theatre Source, Road Theatre and more. Originally from Boston, Lisa is a proud member of the Playwrights Union, Dramatist Guild and Antaeus Playwrights Lab. www.lisakennergrissom.com

    $150

    Tuition

    Register Here

    Click the link below to visit our Reservation Page, where you can view all classes and register for this course. For questions or to inquire about payment plans, please email classes@playpenn.org.

    When you register for a PlayPenn class before September 20, 2019 you’ll be invited to submit your unproduced, full-length play for consideration for a professional staged reading. PlayPenn will produce one student’s play as a reading with a professional director, professional actors and a PlayPenn dramaturg in Philadelphia in early 2020. Only plays that have not had a professional production or reading will be considered. PlayPenn will cover the cost of the reading, but the student is responsible for their own housing and transportation. If you register for a class by the deadline, additional details will be emailed to you along with a submission form.

    “This was an unbelievable learning experience for both beginners and experienced playwrights. [My teacher] was inspiring and encouraging, smart and effective, wise and warm, informed and generous.”

    Emma L., 2018 Student

    “PlayPenn offers wonderful courses with insightful instructors. … What a treat to be able to study with the best in playwriting for a reasonable fee.”

    -Pam P., 2019 Student

    Honing Your Creative Voice with Amy E. Witting

    640 433 Play Penn

    Bridge the gap between the first spark of inspiration and crafting a strong story in your own voice.

    Ideas come to us, but we are often left not knowing how to move forward. This workshop will help students dive deeper into the development process, trusting that our inspiration will provide us with the map to craft structure, story, and a better understanding of what our characters want.

    October 5 and October 6: 1-5pm

    The Wilma Theatre, 265 S. Broad St., Philadelphia

    Please bring 1-5 pages of a playwriting project-in-progress that you’re currently working on.

    Amy E. Witting (PlayPenn ’19, ARCHIPELAGO) resides in Queens, where she received a QAF New Work Grant for her documentary play, SUNNYSIDE IMPRESSIONS. Other work includes ANNE PAGE HATES FUN (American Shakespeare Center World Premiere), THE HOUSE ON THE HILL (CATF World Premiere, Atlantic Theater Commission, NNPN Showcase, The Kennedy Center ACTF/NNPN MFA Alumni Playwright Workshop), and A BAD NIGHT (NY Rep Workshop, MTC Creative Space). Her plays have been developed at Atlantic Theater, The Lark Play Development Center, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Tofte Lake Center, Roundabout Theatre, National New Play Network, Abingdon Theatre, and The Kennedy Center. She received her MFA in playwriting from Hunter College.

    $170

    Tuition

    Register Here

    Click the link below to visit our Reservation Page, where you can view all classes and register for this course. For questions or to inquire about payment plans, please email classes@playpenn.org.

    When you register for a PlayPenn class before September 20, 2019 you’ll be invited to submit your unproduced, full-length play for consideration for a professional staged reading. PlayPenn will produce one student’s play as a reading with a professional director, professional actors and a PlayPenn dramaturg in Philadelphia in early 2020. Only plays that have not had a professional production or reading will be considered. PlayPenn will cover the cost of the reading, but the student is responsible for their own housing and transportation. If you register for a class by the deadline, additional details will be emailed to you along with a submission form.

    “I feel lucky to have PlayPenn just around the corner from me; a hallowed place where writers are the focus, where audiences come not to judge but to witness. PlayPenn is essential to the theatre industry.”

    -Paige, 2019 Student

    “Getting involved with PlayPenn has been one of the best things I’ve done since moving back to the city.”

    -2019 Student

    Jump-Starting Your Playwriting Process with Stephanie Kyung Sun Walters

    640 433 Play Penn

    Helpful for writers of other disciplines, and serves artists at all experience levels.

    Foundry member playwright and educator Stephanie Kyung Sun Walters knows a thing or two about how intimidating it is to begin writing a new play. That blank page, staring at you—she’s getting sweaty just thinking about it. Over the course of four sessions, she’ll guide you through actionable exercises to jump-start your new project and increase your comfort with the blank page.

    Tuesdays, October 15 – 29, November 5: 7-9pm

    TBD in Center City, Philadelphia

    Stephanie Kyung Sun Walters is an emerging playwright and Barrymore nominated actor. She’s a member of The Foundry at PlayPenn and Lead Artist on the Philly Asian Performing Artists’ Playwrights Project. Esther Choi and the Fish that Drowned will receive a world premiere with Simpatico Theatre in spring 2020. Esther Choi… was recently presented at the PlayPenn Conference and the Philadelphia Women’s Theatre Festival 2019. Keep Me Posted received a staged reading at the 2018 Philly Asian American Film Festival. Her play, Are You My Father or the dream ballet of north korea, received a workshop and reading with PlayPenn and HBMG Foundation’s National Writers Retreat, as well as a residency with Philadelphia Asian Performing Artists/Asian Arts Initiative. Are You My Father… was also a finalist for Unicorn Theatre’s 2019-2020 In-Progress New Play Reading Series. Additional plays have been produced and developed with Dragon’s Eye Theatre, Revamp Collective, Asian Arts Initiative, Philadelphia Women’s Theatre Festival, and Philadelphia’s Future is Female Festival. She is a graduate of Bucknell University, the London Dramatic Academy, and CAP21.

    $150

    Tuition

    Register Here

    Click the link below to visit our Reservation Page, where you can view all classes and register for this course. For questions or to inquire about payment plans, please email classes@playpenn.org.

    When you register for a PlayPenn class before September 20, 2019 you’ll be invited to submit your unproduced, full-length play for consideration for a professional staged reading. PlayPenn will produce one student’s play as a reading with a professional director, professional actors and a PlayPenn dramaturg in Philadelphia in early 2020. Only plays that have not had a professional production or reading will be considered. PlayPenn will cover the cost of the reading, but the student is responsible for their own housing and transportation. If you register for a class by the deadline, additional details will be emailed to you along with a submission form.

    “My class at PlayPenn was not only insightful, but also reinvigorating. I left with a sense of excitement, increased confidence, and a vast amount of new ideas to be explored.”

    -Mackenzie H., 2019 Student

    “If you are thinking about taking a class from PlayPenn, do it.”

    -Stacey, 2018 Student

    The Art of Musical Collaboration with Michael Hollinger

    640 433 Play Penn

    The process of creating a musical is all about forging strong creative partnerships.

    Led by PlayPenn regular and The Foundry co-founder Michael Hollinger—who has authored more than two dozen plays, including comedies, dramas, musicals, and plays for children—the course will bring playwrights, lyricists, composers, and book writers together in a “speed-dating”-style introduction to musical theater collaboration. Through written exercises and open conversation, the class will delve into how music and text can work together to tell complex and theatrically rigorous stories.

    October 14 and 18: 6-9pm, October 19 and 20: 2-5pm

    TBD in Center City, Philadelphia

    Michael Hollinger is a playwright, librettist, lyricist and composer whose works have enjoyed numerous productions around the country, in New York City and abroad. Plays premiered at Philadelphia’s Arden Theatre Company include the recent musical TouchTones (co-authored with Robert Maggio) and the plays Opus, Red Herring, Incorruptible, Ghost-Writer, Under the Skin and others. Work premiered elsewhere includes the musical A Wonderful Noise (co-authored with Vance Lehmkuhl) at Colorado’s Creede Repertory Theatre, Hope and Gravity at Pittsburgh’s City Theatre, a new translation of Cyrano (co-adapted with Aaron Posner) at the Folger Theatre in Washington, D.C., and Sing the Body Electric at Philadelphia’s Theatre Exile. Awards include the Frederick Loewe Award for musical theatre, a Steinberg New Play Citation from the American Theatre Critics Association, a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award, a Mid-Atlantic Emmy, an Edgerton Foundation New American Plays Award, four Barrymore Awards (including the F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Theatre Artist), nominations for Lucille Lortel and John Gassner awards, and fellowships from the Independence Foundation, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation and Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Michael holds degrees from Oberlin Conservatory and Villanova University, where he is currently Professor of Theatre and Studio Art, as well as Artistic Director of Villanova Theatre. He is a proud alumnus of New Dramatists and the PlayPenn new play conference.

    $250

    Tuition

    Register Here

    Click the link below to visit our Reservation Page, where you can view all classes and register for this course. For questions or to inquire about payment plans, please email classes@playpenn.org.

    When you register for a PlayPenn class before September 20, 2019 you’ll be invited to submit your unproduced, full-length play for consideration for a professional staged reading. PlayPenn will produce one student’s play as a reading with a professional director, professional actors and a PlayPenn dramaturg in Philadelphia in early 2020. Only plays that have not had a professional production or reading will be considered. PlayPenn will cover the cost of the reading, but the student is responsible for their own housing and transportation. If you register for a class by the deadline, additional details will be emailed to you along with a submission form.

    “If you like expanding theatre’s depth and breadth, you’ll love PlayPenn, a unique and exciting Philadelphia program to develop plays, playgoers, and playwrights, appealing to today’s diverse audiences and helping create tomorrow’s artistic communities.”

    -Tasha Maria T., 2019 student

    “If you are thinking about taking a class from PlayPenn, do it.”

    -Stacey, 2018 Student
    John Yearley

    Playwriting II with John Yearley

    640 433 Play Penn

    Playwriting II is designed to take the art of playwriting from something you've tried to something you do.

    You’ve taken a class. You’ve written scenes. Maybe you’ve even written a play. Now you want to delve more deeply into the art of playwriting. Playwriting II is designed to take the art of playwriting from something you’ve tried to something you do. We will use a series of prompts, assignments, and in-class exercises to further develop your writing. We will study modern masterpieces like Jez Butterworth’s The Ferryman, Naomi Wallace’s One Flea Spare, and Sarah Ruhl’s The Clean House to deepen your understanding of what makes great plays great. Finally, we will explore what steps we can take to try and make our own work great.

    Thursday, October 10, 17, 24; Wednesday, October 30; Thursday, November 7, 14, 21: 6-9pm

    Independence Learning Lab at Asian Arts Initiative, 1219 Vine Street

    All students must have taken a PlayPenn class or have previous playwriting experience.

    John Yearley is the author of The Unrepeatable Moment (“Thought provoking…exhilarating…painfully hilarious” – New York Times, “Yearley is a master” – Huffington Post), Leap (Mickey Kaplan New American Play Prize), Ephemera (John Gassner Award), Another Girl (PlayPenn), and Bruno Hauptmann Kissed My Forehead (Abingdon Theatre). His latest play, Eight Minutes, Twenty Seconds, was workshopped by LABryinth Theatre Company and performed at Temple University. Work for young audiences include The Last Wish (Macy’s New Play Prize for Young Audiences) and an adaptation of Sophocles’ Antigone. Short plays All in Little Pieces and A Low-Lying Fog are available through Samuel French. He currently writes for the animated TV show Treasure Trekkers. Previous TV/film work include the PBS Kids show Arthur, and a stint as a “script doctor” for New Line Cinema. He teaches playwriting and TV writing at Temple University, Drexel University, and the Barrow Group in NYC. Member of the Dramatists Guild, Writers Guild, and twice a MacDowell Fellow.

    $450

    Tuition

    Register Here

    Click the link below to visit our Reservation Page, where you can view all classes and register for this course. For questions or to inquire about payment plans, please email classes@playpenn.org.

    When you register for a PlayPenn class before September 20, 2019 you’ll be invited to submit your unproduced, full-length play for consideration for a professional staged reading. PlayPenn will produce one student’s play as a reading with a professional director, professional actors and a PlayPenn dramaturg in Philadelphia in early 2020. Only plays that have not had a professional production or reading will be considered. PlayPenn will cover the cost of the reading, but the student is responsible for their own housing and transportation. If you register for a class by the deadline, additional details will be emailed to you along with a submission form.

    “PlayPenn is THE place in Philadelphia to develop and hone your craft. It’s the most worthwhile investment I ever made in my writing.”

    -2019 Student

    “If you are thinking about taking a class from PlayPenn, do it.”

    -Stacey, 2018 Student
    1024 690 Play Penn

    One day workshops, master classes, and more to be announced soon!

    Check back at https://www.playpenn.org/classes/

    “PlayPenn instructors genuinely care about helping students improve their writing, and have the practical experience to back up what they teach.”

    -Mark C., 2018 Student

    “I was nervous, but excited before I took this class. And I was very excited when it was finished. I can’t wait to write!”

    -Michelle P., 2018 Student