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Jacqueline Goldfinger

Art for All: A Practical Guide for Leading a Creative Life with Jacqueline Goldfinger and R. Eric Thomas

150 150 Play Penn

Join PlayPenn Education Director Jacqueline Goldfinger and Award-winning Playwright R. Eric Thomas for this fun and informative 90-minute session.

Jacqueline and Eric will share some of their favorite (and effective) playwriting exercises, plus will provide expert advice and insider tips for building confidence while composing plays. They will also discuss different paths to building lives as playwrights and theater makers. Perfect for writers or anyone who has ever been curious about leading a writing-infused creative life. All participants will receive 15% off any upcoming PlayPenn Education course throughout 2018. PRE-REGISTRATION FOR THIS EVENT IS REQUIRED.

February 18, 2018

4:00 to 5:30 p.m.

Philadelphia Young Playwrights Learning Lab, 1219 Vine Street, Floor 2, Philadelphia, PA 19107

R. Eric Thomas is a Barrymore Award-winning playwright and humorist. He is the long-running host of The Moth in Philadelphia. He is a Senior Staff Writer for where he writes “Eric Reads the News,” a daily current events and culture column. His writing has also appeared in The New York TimesPhiladelphia InquirerMan RepellerFusionPhiladelphia MagazineNewsworksThinkingDance, and others. His play, TIME IS ON OUR SIDE, was commissioned by Simpatico Theater Project and developed with PlayPenn and PlayPenn Education. It was the recipient of two 2016 Barrymore Awards, including Best New Play, and was a finalist for the Harold and Mimi Steinberg American Theater Critics Association New Play Award. Forthcoming: MRS. HARRISON (Azuka Theatre, 2018), the Midwest premiere of TIME IS ON OUR SIDE (About Face Theatre, 2018), INFINITY JONES NEEDS SOME SPACE! (development: Act II Theatre), SAFE SPACE (development: Cohesion Theater Company Playwright’s Fellowship). With over a million social media shares, Eric’s column “Eric Reads the News” has quickly become an online humor staple. Covering pop culture, politics and current events, the column is a sardonic and sassy take on our world. Since its inception, it has been praised by such disparate personalities as Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mariah Carey, Maxine Waters, Tamron Hall, and Tituss Burgess. Eric gave a talk at the 2011 TEDxPhilly conference. Since 2014 he has also worked with TED to coach TEDx speakers. He is a alumnus of The Foundry, a Philadelphia playwrights lab, a 2017 Lambda Literary Fellow, and a member of InterAct Theatre Company’s CORE Playwrights program, Baltimore Center Stage’s Playwright’s Collective and the Cohesion Theater Company 2017 Playwright’s Fellowship.


Jacqueline Goldfinger is the Director of Education for PlayPenn and teaches playwriting at the University of Pennsylvania. She won the Yale-Horn Drama Prize for Emerging Playwright, Smith Prize for Political Theater, a Barrymore Award for Outstanding New Play and Philadelphia Critics Award for Best New Play, was nominated for the Weissberger Award and the Blackburn Prize, and received a Commendation from the Terrence McNally Award. Her plays include Babel (NNPN/Florida Studio Theatre Residency),  Bottle Fly (The National Theatre New Work Studio/London, Wilma Theatre‘s HotHouse, PlayPenn New Play Conference), The Arsonists (Kennedy Center Page-to-Stage, La MaMa, National New Play Showcase, Sewanee Writers Conference, Disquiet/Lisbon, Kenyon Playwrights Conference, Perseverance Theatre, Azuka Theatre, Capital Stage, Know Theatre, BenchmarkTheatre, Thrown Stone Theatre), Click (Theatre Exile’s X-hibition Series, Emerson Stage Residency, Drama League Residency), Skin & Bone (Azuka Theatre, Bloomsberg Theatre Ensemble, Orlando Shakespeare PlayFest, Arden Theatre Writer’s Room), Slip/Shot (Seattle Public, FlashpointTheatre, PlayPenn New Play Conference, The Lark’s Playwrights Week), The Oath (Manhattan Theatre Works, Acadiana Rep, Last Frontier Writers Conference), and The Terrible Girls (Azuka Theatre, NYC International Fringe Festival, San Diego Playwrights Collective). Her work is published by Yale Press, Samuel French, Playscripts, and Smith & Kraus. Her work has been supported by New Georges, Yaddo Residency, National Endowment for the Arts, Independence Foundation, The Mitten Lab, People’s Light and Theatre Company’s Harmony Lab, The Producer’s Fund, Passage TheatrePlayLab, National New Play Network, Azuka Theatre Playwright-in-Residence Program, InterAct Playwrights Circle, among others. Read more about her work online:



Register Here

This class is being presented as part of Philly Theatre Week. Click the button below to access our sign up page through Theatre Philadelphia and be sure to check out what else is on offer around the city!

For questions, please email

“When you leave a PlayPenn class, your brain is so full of ideas and new tools, and your heart is full from this new network of collaborators you have just met. Old ideas are revived by the teachers, the tools, and the people in the room. I always leave the class ready to work.”

-Jamie, 2017 Student
Jacqueline Goldfinger

Playwriting 101: Nuts & Bolts

1024 683 Play Penn

with Jacqueline Goldfinger

Perfect for anyone with enthusiasm for the stage!

Due to popular demand, this course is now being offered multiple times each semester.  All sessions will cover the same material.

  • Session 5 – Lunch & Learn: December 4, 5, 6, 7 from Noon-1:15pm

Online. We will use It is a very simple system. You will receive a link prior to class. You click the link and are taken to a site that has multiple boxes (like The Brady Bunch opening credits) where you can see and chat with everyone in the class. You must have a working internet connection and a computer that has both speakers (so you can hear the teaching artist) and a microphone (so they can hear you; be advised, some computer systems require you purchase a headset to use the microphone). If you would like to investigate the system before registering for the class, check out: PlayPenn covers the cost of using the system but you are expected to participate independently. We will not be recording these sessions.

You will be emailed a few pages of material to review prior to class.

Jacqueline Goldfinger

Jacqueline Goldfinger’s  new play, The Arsonists, currently has a NNPN Rolling World Premiere at Azuka Theatre, Know Theater, Capital Stage and Perseverance Theatre. She is an award-winning playwright who has taught playwriting at PlayPenn, University of Pennsylvania, University of California, San Diego, McCarter Theatre, and around the world. Her work has been seen at theaters including: The Kennedy Center, La MaMa (NYC), FringeArts, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Arden Theatre, Azuka Theatre, Flashpoint Theatre, Seattle Public, Barrington Stage, Vermont Stage, and elsewhere. Her work is supported by NEA ArtWorks, Independence Foundation, Producer’s Fund, Yaddo, PlayPenn Conference, Lark Playwrights Week, and others. Read more about her work online:



Join award-winning Playwright and PlayPenn Director of Education Jacqueline Goldfinger for a down and dirty, nuts & bolts exploration of the basics of the art and craft of playwriting. Whether you’re a professional writer or haven’t written a word, this class is great both for polishing skills and picking up new ones.

We will cover: Traditional well-made play structure, Other structural alternatives, Creating engaging characters, Creating strong worlds, Scene-work, Monologue-work, and more. We will also do, and share, several short writing exercises.

Stay Tuned…Fall classes will be announced on September 12!

“Jacqueline Goldfinger’s Workshop was the perfect solution to writer’s block and my fear of writing. It was both hands on and inspiring: practical and thought provoking – I left with questions to answer and new insights. Just what one wants from a workshop!”

-Deborah B.

“The class was a perfect mix of information and examples, practical writing time and sharing time.”

-Jane D.

“This was such an amazing class. I left feeling that I could really write a play. Thank you so much for your encouragement and passion for this art.”

-Karen S.

“I want to write a play and this class helped me get started. Jackie is a teacher who inspires and motivates.”

-Mary D.