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Classes

The Artist’s Way, with Lisa Berger

640 433 Play Penn

A 12-week creative recovery. This program offers exercises in gaining self-confidence and harnessing your creative talents and skills.

The Artist’s Way written by Julia Cameron supports people in their creative recovery. It teaches techniques and exercises to assist people in gaining self-confidence in harnessing their creative talents and skills. Participants will read one chapter a week, prior to convening as a group. As a group, you will then come together to discuss the chapter and activities of the week. Lisa Berger will facilitate the group. This is meant to be a safe and brave space. Each participant will make their own goals and have their own journey in reclaiming ownership of their artist practice.

Mondays, June 6th – August 22nd, 8-10pm EST

Online (via Zoom)

A PDF of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron will be distributed before the class, but feel free to purchase a copy of The Artist’s Way as well. Please read the first chapter before class.

Lisa Berger is a director, Meisner teacher and professor of Theatre. Her San Diego directing credits include How High the Moon and The Car Plays: Incident Row (Wow Festival); The Car Plays: We Wait (LaJolla Playhouse, Moving Arts) , Red Truck, Blue Truck, When It Comes and Skelton Crew (readings;The Old Globe), Parlour Song (Backyard Renaissance) A Behanding in Spokane (Cygnet Theatre) Looking for Normal, The Long Christmas Ride Home and The Moors, (Diversionary Theatre) She received her MFA from the University of Montana and is also a graduate of The William Esper Studio in New York City. She currently teaches at Mira Costa College and the University of San Diego. She is co-artistic director of Meisner/Chekhov Integrated Training Studio.

$480

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.

“Writing can be a lonely road. I’m thankful that Philadelphia offers the supportive, talented PlayPenn community.”

-Joe G., 2020 Participant

I walked away with an arsenal of guidelines for what makes a high-concept play, but also with half a notebook full of fantastic off-the-cuff breakthroughs and exercises.

-Danielle B., 2019 Participant

Lyric Blockbusting, with Marcy Heisler

640 433 Play Penn

Creating contemporary lyrics via an interactive lyric writing workshop.

Join Marcy Heisler in a hands-on interactive writing workshop in which lyricists expand the boundaries of their creative toolkit. With a core of instructor-based assignments grounded in professional experience, writers will complete assignments built on themes of adaptation, collaboration, production environment, and more.

March 10, 17, 24, 31, 6:30-9:30pm EST

Online (via Zoom)

Marcy Heisler is a bookwriter/lyricist, performer, poet, author and educator. Primarily working with composer Zina Goldrich, current collaborations include: Ever After (Book/Lyrics), Breathe (Lyrics), Hollywood Romance (Lyrics), Dear Edwina (Book/Lyrics, Drama Desk nomination), Snow White, Rose Red and Fred (Book/Lyrics, Helen Hayes nomination), Junie B Jones, The Musical (Book/Lyrics, Lucille Lortel nomination) Junie B’s Essential Survival Guide to School (Book/Lyrics), The Great American Mousical (Lyrics), and others. Additionally, she is working on Williamsburg, which was recently workshopped at New York Stage and Film in collaboration with Pultizer-prize winning composer Tom Kitt, Emmy Award winning author Jason Katims, and Hamilton producer Jeffrey Seller. She collaborated with Concord composer Georgia Stitt on Alphabet City Cycle, which was based upon her poetry. Her songs have been featured in numerous projects for Disney, ABC, NPR and PBS, and she is co-lyricist of Little Did I Know, a podcast musical collaboration with Doug Besterman and Dean Pitchford. Awards include the 2012 Kleban Prize for Lyrics, 2009 Fred Ebb Award (co-recipient) for outstanding songwriting, the 2012 ASCAP Rodgers and Hart Award, the ASCAP New Horizons Theatre Award, and the Seldes-Kanin Fellowship. She is a Concord publishing artist and her collected works are available at Hal Leonard.

$225

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.

“Writing can be a lonely road. I’m thankful that Philadelphia offers the supportive, talented PlayPenn community.”

-Joe G., 2020 Participant

I walked away with an arsenal of guidelines for what makes a high-concept play, but also with half a notebook full of fantastic off-the-cuff breakthroughs and exercises.

-Danielle B., 2019 Participant

Building a First Draft, with Phillip Christian Smith

640 433 Play Penn

The focus of the class will be on moving forward without getting stuck, and making that great idea, a visceral reality, words on paper.

Students will bring in 5-10 pages a week, those pages will be workshopped in a safe Lerman styled manner. Through, what stuck out to you (popcorn), questions the class has, and questions the writer has, we hope to inspire the playwright to write vigoursly and more effectively by seeing what impact it is having on the class IE what is coming across. A little positive and kind feedback can be a strong motivational factor for an emerging playwright.

March 18, 25, April 1, 8, 7-9pm EST

Online (via Zoom)

Bring 5 pages of a new idea to the first class, if possible – from there in, 5-10 pages of writing will be required for each week’s class.

Phillip Christian Smith is a 2021 O’Neill (NPC) Finalist for his drag ball adaptation of The Importance of Being Earnest titled: A Handbag is Not a Proper Mutha, 2020-21 Playwrights Realm Fellow, Lambda Literary Fellow, Winter Playwrights Retreat, Blue Ink Playwriting Award Semi-Finalist, Finalist for The Dramatists Guild Fellowship and New Dramatists, Finalist and Semi-finalist PlayPenn, Two time Semi-finalist for The O’Neill (NPC), and runner- up in The Theatre of Risk Modern Tragedy writing competition for his play The Chechens, which also won Theatre Conspiracy’s playwriting award, and recently had its third production at Alliance for the Arts. He has been a semi-finalist for Shakespeare’s New Contemporaries (ASC), finalist for Trustus, former Playwright in Residence Exquisite Corpse and founding member of The Playwriting Collective. 2021 Playwright in Residence: Quicksilver Theatre’s Playwrights of Color Summit. Co-Literary Director of Exquisite Corpse Company. His work has been supported by The Fire This Time Festival, Bennington College, Primary Stages (Cherry Lane) ESPA, Fresh Ground Pepper, and the 53rd Street New York Public Library. MFA Yale School of Drama, BFA University of New Mexico. MFA Hunter ’23.

$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.

“Writing can be a lonely road. I’m thankful that Philadelphia offers the supportive, talented PlayPenn community.”

-Joe G., 2020 Participant

I walked away with an arsenal of guidelines for what makes a high-concept play, but also with half a notebook full of fantastic off-the-cuff breakthroughs and exercises.

-Danielle B., 2019 Participant

The Polish, with Jule Selbo

640 433 Play Penn

It’s important for a playwright, after the first solid draft of a play is completed, to be able to step back and analyze the elements of their work.

Are the characters clear? Is there a purpose for the piece? What themes are creeping to the forefront? What does the writer want the audience to “get” from the piece? Is it ready to be produced? Do all elements have a clarity to them, so the reader/producer will understand the writer’s intent? We will work as a group, and also individually, to explore the questions (and more) stated above. Exercises will help generate new content. The plays will be workshopped during the class sessions.

March 21, 28, April 4, 11, 7-9pm EST

Online (via Zoom)

A completed first draft of a play. Instructor will provide reading material.

Jule Selbo loves story – and she writes in many mediums (theatrical plays, screenplays, novels, non-fiction). Her plays have been produced in New York and Los Angeles and in regional theaters. Isolate (directed by Allan Wasserman) was awarded the LA Women’s Playwrighting Prize (1992), Boxes, a nominee for the Valley Awards (directed by Mary Lou Belli), premiered at Theater West (2015) and most recently produced (in 2019) at Good Theatre in Portland, Maine to sold out houses and excellent reviews. One-acts include Open Door (Theater West) The Wedding (Actors Theater Louisville), Two Not So Tall Women (Interact Theatre); her short play Miss Julie was chosen for the LA Pride Festival Zoom reading series and for Acorn Theater’s Spring Festival (postponed because of Covid). Her play, Lake Girls has enjoyed staged readings and is on a short list for possible 2021 production. She’s a produced screenwriter in both film and tv, she’s written “story podcasts” and also for bookshelves (four books so far); her latest novel, 10 DAYS, A Dee Rommel Mystery has been nominated for a 2021 Clue Award. She has also written academic texts on screenwriting, film history. She helped shape the playwriting department at California State University and started a one-act festival at the university; she has taught playwriting workshops in LA, NYC, Maine and Florence, Italy. Her focus, as an instructor, is to help each writer find the core of the work and to help get it ready for an audience. Check out her website https://www.juleselbo.com

$200

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.

“Writing can be a lonely road. I’m thankful that Philadelphia offers the supportive, talented PlayPenn community.”

-Joe G., 2020 Participant

I walked away with an arsenal of guidelines for what makes a high-concept play, but also with half a notebook full of fantastic off-the-cuff breakthroughs and exercises.

-Danielle B., 2019 Participant

Dynamic Dialogue, with Chisa Hutchinson

640 433 Play Penn

How to (you know) write dynamic dialogue.

We’ve all been there. You’ve ruminated on an idea for a play. Dreamed up some really compelling characters. Even outlined major plot points in the shower one morning. Like you know exactly how you want the thing to end and everything. But then you sit down to start writing it and read that first scene out loud and go, “Ughch, all my characters all sound the same,” or “Man, this feels so flat.”

THAT. That’s what this class is for: avoiding that shit. I’ll break dialogue down into elements and give you some tips for how to create dialogue that feels both authentic to your characters and engaging to your audience. Along the way, I will give you two short assignments that will challenge you to flex your dialogue muscles, and we will workshop your work.

March 26, 2-5pm EST

Online (via Zoom)

Just bring something to write on or with.

Chisa Hutchinson (B.A. Vassar College; M.F.A NYU – TSoA) has presented her plays, which include She Like Girls, Somebody’s Daughter, Surely Goodness And Mercy, Whitelisted and Dead & Breathing at such venues as the Lark Theater, Atlantic Theater Company, CATF, the National Black Theatre, Second Stage Theater and Arch 468 in London. Her radio drama, Proof of Love, can be found on Audible (with a pretty boss rating). She has been a Dramatists Guild Fellow, a Lark Fellow, a NeoFuturist, and a staff writer for the Blue Man Group. She’s won a GLAAD Award, a Lilly Award, a New York Innovative Theatre Award, a Helen Merrill Award, and the Lanford Wilson Award. Currently, Chisa is standing by for production on a new TV series she helped write for Showtime, and is about to embark on another with producers Karamo Brown (Queer Eye) and Stephanie Allain (Hustle & Flow, Dear White People). Her first original feature, THE SUBJECT, an indie about a white documentarian dealing with the moral fallout from exploiting the death of a black teen, is available on various VOD platforms after a successful film festival circuit during which it won over 30 prizes. To learn more, visit www.chisahutchinson.com .

$50

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.

“Writing can be a lonely road. I’m thankful that Philadelphia offers the supportive, talented PlayPenn community.”

-Joe G., 2020 Participant

I walked away with an arsenal of guidelines for what makes a high-concept play, but also with half a notebook full of fantastic off-the-cuff breakthroughs and exercises.

-Danielle B., 2019 Participant

The Subconscious First Draft, with C. Julian Jiménez

640 433 Play Penn

This course is designed to free students from the expected into the unknown.

Using writing exercises, students will begin to understand how bucking traditional form can unlock their imagination and help them embrace the messiness of their first draft as something to cherish, instead of something to discard.

November 4th – 7th, 6-9pm EDT

Online (via Zoom)

C. Julian Jiménez Acting MFA (The Actors Studio Drama School at the New School). Awards: The 2009 Public Theater Emerging Writers Group Fellowship, 2015 Queens Arts Council Grant, and The 2014 Best New Work Motif Award. Plays include, Locusts Have No King (INTAR), Animals Commit Suicide (First Floor Theater), Nico was a Fashion Model (LAByrinth) and Man Boobs (The Public Theater). Julian received honors for Best Devised Work & Best Direction at the 49th Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in 2017 for his production of anOTHER. He is an Executive Producer and Writer of the hit web series, Bulk- The Series.

$225

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.

“Writing can be a lonely road. I’m thankful that Philadelphia offers the supportive, talented PlayPenn community.”

-Joe G., 2020 Participant

I walked away with an arsenal of guidelines for what makes a high-concept play, but also with half a notebook full of fantastic off-the-cuff breakthroughs and exercises.

-Danielle B., 2019 Participant

Playwriting Jumpstart, with Anne Marie Cammarato

640 433 Play Penn

Have you been stuck in a creative rut during the pandemic?

Has it been difficult to start or keep writing? Or maybe you’ve written a lot but haven’t had the energy to rewrite. This course is an opportunity to jumpstart your writing in this difficult time. We will work to create a safe space for experimenting, sharing work, and inspiring one another. We will use exercises designed to tap into your creativity, get you writing, and encourage you to make space for writing in your life, no matter the circumstances. If you’ve felt out of touch with your creative side during the pandemic, this is a chance to find it again.

September 30th, October 7th, 14th, and 21st, 7-9pm EDT

Online (via Zoom)

Anne Marie Cammarato is a playwright and director, whose plays include Hazel, Bobby James, Milk Pie, A Scar, 10 Months, and The Big Room. Her work has been developed at PlayPenn, Theatre Exile, Temple University, the University of the Arts and the Resident Ensemble Players, and has been produced at Delaware Theatre Company, Theatre X, and Temple University. She has worked throughout the country at theatres including Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Madison Repertory Theater, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Renaissance Theatreworks, and Delaware Theatre Company, where she served as Artistic Director for six seasons. Anne Marie studied at North Carolina School of the Arts and New York University, and holds an MFA in Playwriting from Temple University. She was a finalist for the Leah Ryan Fund prize (2015) and has been nominated for/awarded multiple Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre. In 2012, she was the Established Literary Fellow in Playwriting for the State of Delaware. She teaches playwriting at the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University, and has taught at Drexel University, the University of Delaware, PlayPenn and The Barrow Group in New York. Anne Marie was recently Playwright-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi.

$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.

“Writing can be a lonely road. I’m thankful that Philadelphia offers the supportive, talented PlayPenn community.”

-Joe G., 2020 Participant

I walked away with an arsenal of guidelines for what makes a high-concept play, but also with half a notebook full of fantastic off-the-cuff breakthroughs and exercises.

-Danielle B., 2019 Participant

A Musical How-To, with Daniel and Patrick Lazour

640 433 Play Penn

In this masterclass, we will be taking students through the creation of a musical.

What makes a good idea for an original musical? What makes a good adaptation? Then, once you have your idea: what are the steps to make that musical in your head a reality. Daniel and I will focus on the practicals of musical theater creation — music & lyrics, the book, collaborations — while also giving some insight into the world of development and production, as well as smart and responsible independent theater making. We are all writing a musical to make a musical… and that means produce a musical! Hopefully, our masterclass will give some insight to take your show to the next level.

October 4th, 6th, 11th, and 13th, 7-9pm EDT

Online (via Zoom)

A serious interest in musical theater, and a desire to write a musical

Daniel and Patrick Lazour are Lebanese-American brothers and music theatre writers. In May 2019, they premiered their musical We Live in Cairo at the American Repertory Theatre directed by Obie Award-winner Taibi Magar. Their album Flap My Wings (Songs from We Live in Cairo) was recorded remotely during the pandemic and features major activist-songwriters from across the Arab world. They are developing a new musical with Ritesh Batra based on his movie The Lunchbox, commissioned by Lincoln Center Theater, and their musical community project about cancer treatment, patients and caretakers is being developed with Harvard University and the American Repertory Theater. They have developed their work during residencies at O’Neill, Yaddo, UCross and SPACE at Ryder Farm. Patrick and Daniel are MacDowell Fellows and New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspects. Most recently, they were artists-in-residence at the American University in Cairo. They perform their songs live weekly at the Boiler Room, a gay dive bar in New York City. @frereslazour

$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.

“Writing can be a lonely road. I’m thankful that Philadelphia offers the supportive, talented PlayPenn community.”

-Joe G., 2020 Participant

I walked away with an arsenal of guidelines for what makes a high-concept play, but also with half a notebook full of fantastic off-the-cuff breakthroughs and exercises.

-Danielle B., 2019 Participant

Finding Your True Subject: How to Write the Plays That Only You Can Write, with Anne Marie Cammarato and John Yearley

640 433 Play Penn

This class will assist students in identifying their true subjects and celebrating what they can uniquely bring to a play.

As audiences, we have all sat though plays wondering why the playwright has chosen this particular subject to write about. As playwrights, we have all struggled to approach a subject that we want to write about but can’t find our way into. Finding Your True Subject provides the tools to unlock these subjects, striving to help each writer discover what you (and only you) can bring to a subject, whether that subject is autobiographical or not.

June 7, June 10, June 14, and June 17, 6-9pm E.S.T.

Online (via Zoom)

Anne Marie Cammarato is a playwright and director, whose plays include Hazel, Bobby James, Milk Pie, A Scar, 10 Months, and The Big Room. Her work has been developed at PlayPenn, Theatre Exile, Temple University, University of the Arts and the Resident Ensemble Players. She has worked throughout the country at theatres including Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Madison Repertory Theater, Theatre X, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Renaissance Theatreworks, and Delaware Theatre Company, where she served as Artistic Director for six seasons. She was a finalist for the Leah Ryan Fund prize (2015) and in 2012, she was the Established Literary Fellow in Playwriting for the State of Delaware. She is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. She has taught at the University of Delaware and Temple University, and is currently Playwright in Residence at the University of Mississippi.

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, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park), Ephemera (John Gassner Award), Another Girl (PlayPenn), and Bruno Hauptmann Kissed My Forehead (Abingdon Theatre). His latest play, 8 Minutes, 20 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 children’s TV program Treasure Trekkers and has worked previously on PBS Kids’ Arthur and as a “script doctor” for New Line Cinema. Teaches playwriting, TV Writing, and screenwriting at Temple University, Drexel University, and the Barrow Group in New York City, as well as previously being a lead artist of the Foundry, a playwriting group in Philadelphia. Member of the Dramatists Guild, Writers Guild, and twice a MacDowell Fellow.

$225

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.

“Writing can be a lonely road. I’m thankful that Philadelphia offers the supportive, talented PlayPenn community.”

-Joe G., 2020 Participant

I walked away with an arsenal of guidelines for what makes a high-concept play, but also with half a notebook full of fantastic off-the-cuff breakthroughs and exercises.

-Danielle B., 2019 Participant

Creative Ways into Building a Character, with R. Eric Thomas

640 433 Play Penn

What makes a character memorable? How do we mold a three-dimensional person out of our ideas?

Join playwright, screenwriter, and PlayPenn Alum R. Eric Thomas on an exploration of masterfully created, specific characters, using examples from great works for stage, Eric’s own experience, in-class exercises, and more. Students will come away with more tools for fleshing out their ideas into fully realized people and activating their plays with dynamic personalities. Perfect for new or experienced playwrights!

July 17, July 18, 1-5pm E.S.T.

Online (via Zoom)

R. Eric Thomas, a national bestselling author and playwright, won the 2016 Barrymore Award for Best New Play and the 2018 Dramatist Guild Lanford Wilson Award, was a finalist for the 2017 Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award and is a finalist for two 2021 Lambda Literary Awards. He was a staff writer for the Peabody Award-winning series Dickinson (AppleTV+) and Better Things (FX) and has been commissioned or produced on stage by Arden Theatre Company, Baltimore Center Stage, Theatre Exile, Simpatico Theatre, Azuka Theatre, Single Carrot Theatre, About Face Theatre, City Theatre Miami, Act II Playhouse and more. He is an alumnus of The Foundry, the Lambda Literary Fellowship, and the Ingram New Works Project. Website: Rericthomas.com New Play Exchange: https://newplayexchange.org/users/892/r-eric-thomas

$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.

“Writing can be a lonely road. I’m thankful that Philadelphia offers the supportive, talented PlayPenn community.”

-Joe G., 2020 Participant

I walked away with an arsenal of guidelines for what makes a high-concept play, but also with half a notebook full of fantastic off-the-cuff breakthroughs and exercises.

-Danielle B., 2019 Participant