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Doin' it for the Culture: The Playwright as Cultural Worker & (Post-) Apocalyptic Anthropologist with Erika Dickerson-Despenza
This event takes place on the following dates
10/30/2019 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
11/7/2019 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
11/14/2019 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
11/21/2019 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

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.

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

Where: Online via Zoom

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

Tuition: $150

Bio: 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.

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PlayPenn is always working to secure amazing artists to teach our classes and our teachers often go out of their way to fit teaching with us into their busy schedules. Our class sizes are limited to support individual attention, and as such, we are not able to offer refunds if you are unable to attend. So, before you register and pay, make sure you’ve cleared space on your calendar so that you can guarantee your opportunity to work with our master artists! In very extreme circumstances, we may need to cancel a class for reasons beyond our control and will offer full refunds.

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A Note From Our Education Department:

Sharing your play with the world is an incredible rush—but it’s also unarguably terrifying. After an often isolating writing process, your work is exposed for everyone to see. We know just how vulnerable writers are in these moments, and we’re passionate about helping to navigate them.
Here at PlayPenn, we offer our students supportive opportunities to test out new work and hone their craft, providing them with a sense of camaraderie at all stages of their writing careers. Our PlayPenn classes encourage writers to bounce ideas off of one another, commiserate about industry challenges, and be inspired by the world-class writers and industry experts leading each course. We apply this same ethos to The Foundry, our intensive writers group for emerging Philadelphia playwrights; and to our public readings of our students’ works in progress throughout the year.
By taking a PlayPenn class, you become part of a welcoming community of experienced playwrights, avid playgoers, recent grads, and everyone in between. Please join us!