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Spring Classes

Creating Compelling Characters

650 433 Play Penn

with Lori Fischer

Join NYU Professor Lori Fischer for an online class combining in-class-exercises, lectures, reading and writing assignments to learn how to create detailed, compelling characters for your plays. Perfect for writers of all experience levels!

What do Hamlet, Troy Maxon, Pee Wee Herman, Electricidad, Michael Corleone and Blanche DuBois all have in common? They are all great characters.

Whether you are a playwright, screenwriter, novelist or television writer, the ability to create compelling, unforgettable characters is key. Ultimately, it is the recognizable yet surprising and unique character that draws in readers and audience members and leads them forward. Join NYU Professor Lori Fischer for an online class combining in-class-exercises, lectures, reading and writing assignments to learn how to create detailed, compelling characters for your plays.

Public Reading of YOUR New Play!

If you register for a PlayPenn class by January 14, 2018, then you can apply for the opportunity to have your unproduced full-length plays given a public, 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, PA in the spring/summer of 2018. The play many not have had a professional production. PlayPenn will cover the costs of the reading, but the student is responsible for their own housing and transportation. If you register for a class by the deadline then additional details will be emailed to you after January 14, along with a submission form.

Perfect for writers of all experience levels!

March 7-April 11, 2018 (Wednesday Nights)

7pm-9pm (EST)

Online. We will use Zoom.us. 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: www.zoom.us. PlayPenn covers the cost of using the system but you are expected to participate independently. We will not be recording these sessions.

Lori Fischer received her M.F.A. from the N.Y.U. Dramatic Writing Department. She is the author of multiple plays and screenplays including the critically acclaimed musical Barbara’s Blue Kitchen, which played at The Adirondack Theatre Festival, Cincinnati Playhouse and Off-Broadway at The Lamb’s Theatre (published by Samuel French). Lori’s musical comedy The Sparkley Clean Funeral Singers is also published by Samuel French and her feature film Chasing Taste is available on Amazon Prime. Lori’s work has been seen at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, the Stonestreet Film Festival, the RipFest Film Festival, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and The Adirondack Theatre Festival. She teaches at NYU and is currently working on her next musical.

$225

Tuition

Register Here

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

 

*Students must register for a class by January 14, 2018 in order to be eligible to submit for the free spring Education reading.

“PlayPenn classes offer a chance to take a break from the mundane, from the frenzy of the everyday, and to focus on your writing for a few hours, or a weekend, while gaining insight and inspiration from some truly excellent professional playwrights and teaching artists. PlayPenn’s opportunities are ones I feel lucky to be exposed to.

” -Mark C., 2017 Student

“The classes are a great opportunity for theater makers and theater lovers to gain useful insight to the playmaking process, as well as helpful tools to apply in any creative endeavor.”

-Andrew C., 2017 Student

One-Person Show Intensive

1024 683 Play Penn

with Nilaja Sun

Obie award winning Nilaja Sun returns with a specialized intensive designed to facilitate students, who are working on their own solo pieces, in honing the craft of writing and performing a dynamic one person show.

Students will discover how their body, voice and unique story telling abilities can set their solo pieces apart from rest. Be ready to move, create and get motivated to finally tell your story, inspire audiences and be the change you want to see in the world!

Read about her current one person show in The New Yorker Magazine. 

Perfect for writers/performers working on one person shows or looking to begin a new one!

Free Reading of YOUR New Play

If you register for a PlayPenn class by January 14, 2018, then you can apply for the opportunity to have your unproduced full-length plays given a public, 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, PA in the spring/summer of 2018. The play many not have had a professional production. PlayPenn will cover the costs of the reading, but the student is responsible for their own housing and transportation. If you register for a class by the deadline then additional details will be emailed to you after January 14, along with a submission form.

February 17 & 18, 2018

1pm-5pm

Wilma Rehearsal Space in South Philadelphia, Gerritt Street Studio, 1213 Gerritt Street, Philadelphia, PA.

Limited parking so arrive early to park. Public transit: The Broad Street Line has 2 stops within 3 blocks and the #45 bus runs down 12th street.

Come prepared to share a 15 minute excerpt from your one-person show or show-in-progress.

Nilaja Sun is the solo performer and writer of the Off-Broadway smashes No Child… and her new show, Pike Street. For her creation and performance of No Child… and its subsequent national tour, Nilaja garnered 21 awards including: an Obie Award, a Helen Hayes Award a Lucille Lortel Award, and two Outer Critics Circle Awards including the John Gassner Playwriting Award for Outstanding New American Play. Theatre credits also include The Commons of Pensacola, Einstein’s Gift, Time and The Conways, Huck and Holden, and The Cook. Tv/Film credits include Madam Secretary, Louie, 30 Rock, Law & Order: SVU, Unforgettable, The International, and Rubicon. As a solo performer, her projects include the critically acclaimed Blues for a Gray Sun (INTAR), La Nubia Latina, Black and Blue, Insufficient Fare, Due to the Tragic Events of…, and Mixtures. Nilaja was awarded the soloNOVA Award for Artist of the Year by terraNOVA Collective and was recently awarded a NYSCHA grant. A native of the Lower East Side, she is a Princess Grace Award winner and has worked as a teaching artist in New York City for over 15 years.

$250

Tuition

Register Here

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

 

*Students must register for a class by January 14, 2018 in order to be eligible to submit for the free spring Education reading.

“PlayPenn classes offer a chance to take a break from the mundane, from the frenzy of the everyday, and to focus on your writing for a few hours, or a weekend, while gaining insight and inspiration from some truly excellent professional playwrights and teaching artists. PlayPenn’s opportunities are ones I feel lucky to be exposed to.

” -Mark C., 2017 Student

“The classes are a great opportunity for theater makers and theater lovers to gain useful insight to the playmaking process, as well as helpful tools to apply in any creative endeavor.”

-Andrew C., 2017 Student
John Yearley

Playwriting Try-It Workshop Session #1

500 752 Play Penn

with John Yearley

Popular PlayPenn Teaching Artist John Yearley returns for a special three hour, one-time session to unlock the playwright inside of you!

If you ever wanted to try playwriting, or get back into it, this workshop is meant for you. John will give you an opportunity to try playwriting through a few short writing exercises as well as talk about the art, craft and industry of what’s involved in the work.

Perfect for those interested in trying writing and beginning writers!

Free Reading of YOUR New Play

If you register for a PlayPenn class by January 14, 2018, then you can apply for the opportunity to have your unproduced full-length plays given a public, 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, PA in the spring/summer of 2018. The play many not have had a professional production. PlayPenn will cover the costs of the reading, but the student is responsible for their own housing and transportation. If you register for a class by the deadline then additional details will be emailed to you after January 14, along with a submission form.

February 4, 2018

1-4pm (EST)

Online. We will use Zoom.us. 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: www.zoom.us. PlayPenn covers the cost of using the system but you are expected to participate independently. We will not be recording these sessions.

John Yearley

John Yearley is the author of The Unrepeatable Moment (Barrow Group), Leap (Kaplan New American Play Prize, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park), Antigone (adaptation, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park), Ephemera (Gassner Award, Summer Play Festival), and Another Girl (PlayPenn, Naked Angels). His plays All in Little Pieces and A Low-Lying Fog are published by Samuel French. He is currently writing for the PBS Kids show Arthur and worked as a script doctor for New Line Cinema. He’s a member of the Writer’s Guild of America, the Dramatists Guild, and twice a MacDowell Fellow.

$75

Tuition

Register Here

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

 

*Students must register for a class by January 14, 2018 in order to be eligible to submit for the free spring Education reading.

“This class was amazing and it was such a pleasure to take.”

-Malika, 2017 Student.

“Your class further ignited my passion for writing and encouraged me that I could do this. You gave me the building blocks needed to understand playwriting. I look forward to using the materials and writing exercises again to boost my creativity.”

-Tashara, 2017 Student
PlayPenn Conference 2016

Seven Week Workshop

1024 681 Play Penn

with L Feldman

Join Bryn Mawr Playwriting Professor, Playwright, and popular PlayPenn teaching artist L Feldman for a seven-week exploration of your new work!

Students are invited to begin a new play during this process or develop a work-in-progress. Sessions will begin with writing prompts and end with artist-driven feedback on student-written scenes. On the final meeting of the workshop, you will hear a 10-page excerpt of your script read by professional actors.

All genres and lengths of plays are welcome.

This workshop is limited to 12 students.

Free Reading of YOUR New Play

If you register for a PlayPenn class by January 14, 2018, then you can apply for the opportunity to have your unproduced full-length plays given a public, 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, PA in the spring/summer of 2018. The play many not have had a professional production. PlayPenn will cover the costs of the reading, but the student is responsible for their own housing and transportation. If you register for a class by the deadline then additional details will be emailed to you after January 14, along with a submission form.

Thursdays: March 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, and April 5 from 5:30pm-8:30pm

Final Reading on Friday, April 13 from 5:30-8:30pm

Smith classroom at Arden Theatre’s Hamilton Family Arts Center, 62 N 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

None. Students are invited to begin a new play during this process or develop a work-in-progress.

Lauren Feldman
L Feldman is a freelance playwright, deviser, professor, and a circus performer & dramaturg. She loves theater that is brave, physical, honest, loving, and slightly impossible. Her plays include A PEOPLE (upcoming Orbiter 3 production); TO THRIVE, OR WHAT YOU WILL; ANOTHER KIND OF SILENCE; AMANUENSIS; THE EGG-LAYERS; and GRACE, OR THE ART OF CLIMBING. She has been nominated for the Wendy Wasserstein Prize, Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, ATCA/Steinberg New Play Award, New York Innovative Theatre Award, and the Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award. A graduate of the Yale School of Drama and the New England Center for Circus Arts, she is currently a New Georges Audrey Resident, a Foundry mentor, and a proud Orbiter 3 playwright. Hailing from Miami, she’s lived in seven cities and is now based in Philadelphia.
For more, visit her website.

$425

Tuition

Register Here

Limited Seats Remaining

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

 

*Students must register for a class by January 14, 2018 in order to be eligible to submit for the free spring Education reading.

“PlayPenn has the ability to cultivate artists from the angles of playwright and actor…It is a great organization which connects artists and allowing them to hone their craft.”

-Iman A.

“Taking a PlayPenn Class you quickly realize how many talented playwrights and creative, generous artists are writing in Philly, and your own work benefits from the experience of working among them tremendously!”

-Joe

Help! Fix My Play: Tips and techniques to bring your writing to life

650 433 Play Penn

with Robert Smythe

Join Guggenheim Fellow and Philadelphia Magazine’s “Best Professor” (“Best of Philly”) Robert Smythe for a workshop that helps you build a foundation for playwriting success. This class is perfect for new/emerging writers, as well as more experienced writers who want to add to their toolkit, or sharpen what’s already there!

In this class, we’ll take the general themes and concepts that first led you to conceive of writing a play and make them specific.

We’ll work on getting the story out of your head and into a form that can be understood and interpreted by your future collaborators: the other artists who will eventually direct, perform, and design because they’re inspired by your words. By the time you finish the first five-minute exercise, you’ll be surprised at what you have inside you.

You’ll learn how to use tension and rhythm, and how to reveal states of mind through personal moments. You’ll write scenes and monologues. And love it. You’ll discover that, in addition, or even instead of all the other things you thought you were, you are a writer of plays. Not because someone told you that you are, but because you know you are.

In each class, you’ll spend time writing and then you’ll share what you’ve written with the rest of us. After you get feedback, you’ll continue writing outside of class for an assignment, or you might just want to continue writing because you’re so excited about getting stuff down on paper.

As we move through the course, we’ll explore how to write for the stage: not just how to write words for actors to speak, but how to make things happen: how to create excitement and surprises, and interest and emotion, so that when people act out your play or see it in a performance, they’ll understand exactly what you mean. And that is extremely satisfying.

Playwriting Technique 2, offered in future semesters, will use these skills to build structure, from crucial moments right to the end of the play.

Free Reading of YOUR New Play

If you register for a PlayPenn class by January 14, 2018, then you can apply for the opportunity to have your unproduced full-length plays given a public, 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, PA in the spring/summer of 2018. The play many not have had a professional production. PlayPenn will cover the costs of the reading, but the student is responsible for their own housing and transportation. If you register for a class by the deadline then additional details will be emailed to you after January 14, along with a submission form.

January 16-February 6 (Tuesday Nights), 6pm-9pm

Adrienne Theatre Rehearsal Room, 2030 Sansom St, Philadelphia, PA (parking and other info will be provided after registration)

Robert Smythe is an acclaimed theater artist and the founder of Mum Puppettheatre, the only regional theater in the United States dedicated to puppetry, serving as its Artistic Director for 23 years. During that time, he wrote, directed and performed over 20 original productions using puppets, masks and human actors, leading Mum on international tours on four continents. According to Philadelphia City Paper, Smythe’s work with Mum “sparked the Philadelphia theater renaissance that continues to this day.” Smythe has won numerous awards and honors, including Guggenheim, Pew, and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, and six solo performer fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts; he’s won six Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theater in areas ranging from education to choreography; and he was the first artist to receive a commission from the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts: the resulting collaboration between him and the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Stravinsky’s “l’Histoire du Soldat,” won the 2011 Barrymore Award for Outstanding Collaboration. Smythe is the founder of the Playwriting Program for the International Puppetry Conference at the Tony-winning O’Neill Theater Center. His ground-breaking application of narrative theory to puppetry, “Reading a Puppet Show: Understanding the Three-Dimensional Narrative,” was published in The Routledge Companion to Puppetry and Material Performance, and his work on motor contagion was been published in Acta Psychologica. He received his MFA in Playwrighting from Temple University, where he was a University Fellow. In 2010, in their annual “Best of Philadelphia” issue, Philadelphia Magazine named him “Best Professor”.

$175

Tuition

Register Here

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

 

*Students must register for a class by January 14, 2018 in order to be eligible to submit for the free spring Education reading.

“An unbelievable environment of support and encouragement. Continuously encouraged growth of any idea that was presented in the class.”

-Tom, 2017 Student

“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

“The classes are a great opportunity for theater makers and theater lovers to gain useful insight to the playmaking process, as well as helpful tools to apply in any creative endeavor.”

-Andrew C., 2017 Student

Writing Great Dialogue

650 433 Play Penn

with James Ijames

Join Whiting award-winning Philadelphia playwright and PlayPenn alum James Ijames for a deep dive into dialogue and what compels people to speak.

What do you want to say? How do you create compelling dialogue that is character based and active?

The class will be a dynamic, on your feet approach to generating distinctive theatrical language for your characters that drives the action of your play and is unique to each character. Come with a play, a scene, or an idea and we will make your dialogue sing.

Free Reading of YOUR New Play

If you register for a PlayPenn class by January 14, 2018, then you can apply for the opportunity to have your unproduced full-length plays given a public, 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, PA in the spring/summer of 2018. The play many not have had a professional production. PlayPenn will cover the costs of the reading, but the student is responsible for their own housing and transportation. If you register for a class by the deadline then additional details will be emailed to you after January 14, along with a submission form.

January 27, 2018

1pm-6pm

Philadelphia Young Playwrights Learning Lab

1219 Vine Street, Floor 2

Philadelphia, PA 19107

Bring a snippet (one page or less) of your favorite piece of dialogue from a play.

James Ijames is a Philadelphia based performer and playwright. He has appeared regionally in productions at The Arden Theatre Company, The Philadelphia Theatre Company, InterAct Theatre Company, The Wilma Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage, Mauckingbird Theatre Company, and People’s Light and Theatre. James’ plays have been produced by Flashpoint Theater Company, Orbiter 3, Theatre Horizon (Philadelphia, PA), The National Black Theatre (NYC), Ally Theatre (Washington DC) and have received development with PlayPenn New Play Conference, The Lark, Playwright’s Horizon, Clubbed Thumb, Villanova Theater, The Gulfshore Playhouse, Wilma Theater, Azuka Theatre and Victory Garden. James is the 2011 F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Artist recipient, and he also won two Barrymores for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play for Superior Donuts and Angels in America and one Barrymore for Outstanding Direction of a Play for The Brothers Size with Simpatico Theatre Company. James is a 2011 Independence Foundation Fellow, a 2015 Pew Fellow for Playwriting, the 2015 winner of the Terrance McNally New Play Award for WHITE, the 2015 Kesselring Honorable Mention Prize winner for .…Miz Martha and a 2017 recipient of the Whiting Award. James is a founding member of Orbiter 3, Philadelphia’s first playwright producing collective and a mentor for The Foundry. He received a B.A. in Drama from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA and a M.F.A. in Acting from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. James is Assistant Professor of Theatre at Villanova University and resides in South Philadelphia.

$125

Tuition

Sold out!

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

 

*Students must register for a class by January 14, 2018 in order to be eligible to submit for the free spring Education reading.

“PlayPenn classes offer a chance to take a break from the mundane, from the frenzy of the everyday, and to focus on your writing for a few hours, or a weekend, while gaining insight and inspiration from some truly excellent professional playwrights and teaching artists. PlayPenn’s opportunities are ones I feel lucky to be exposed to.

-Mark C., 2017 Student

“The classes are a great opportunity for theater makers and theater lovers to gain useful insight to the playmaking process, as well as helpful tools to apply in any creative endeavor.”

-Andrew C., 2017 Student
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