Featured Classes

    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