Playwriting

Learn more about Writopia's Playwriting program.

  • Rebecca Wallace-Segall

    Executive Director
    Founder
    Rebecca Wallace-Segall

    Rebecca founded Writopia Lab in April 2007, currently directs the national organization, teaches writing workshops and college essay writing and runs in-school teacher trainings in New York City and throughout the country. She has grown the organization in NYC, and established and oversees Writopia in the DC region, Westchester, Los Angeles, and New Jersey. She trains every Writopia instructor across the nation, as well as classroom teachers and volunteers in the Writopia method.


    Rebecca has won multiple teaching awards including the Scholastic Awards' 2012 Ovation Inspired Teacher Award for submitting the most outstanding senior portfolios on the national level and for "developing a method of working with students that inspires them to create original work that embodies their unique, personal voice.... Because of [her] tutelage... these students are now empowered to bring that voice into the broader world..." She has also won the 2008, 2009, and 2011 National Gold Apple Teacher Award for "submitting the most outstanding group of submissions on the national level" to the Scholastic Art & Writing event. She lectures at schools, events, and parents' organizations on a variety of topics including "How to Inspire the Writer Within Your Child," "Writing for High School and College Admittance," and on "Identifying and Participating in Positive Competitions." Previously, Rebecca established the creative writing program at the Abraham Joshua Heschel Middle School on the Upper West Side of Manhattan as a consultant. While she was there, the program outperformed every other school in the city (including every elite public and private institution) in Scholastic's prestigious Art & Writing Awards competition. She has been awarded recognition from The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards as an "outstanding educator" every year since 2006. (Writopia won Scholastic's official endorsement in 2007.) Rebecca was also nominated by students and selected to be entered into the 11th Edition of Who's Who Among American Teachers.

    Rebecca has taught at SUNY Albany, New York University, and at Gotham Writer's Workshop. In 2009, Rebecca was invited to join The Op-Ed Project Mentor Editor Program and has since helped several brilliant women break into some of the nation's most widely read national opinion pages. In 2002, she had the pleasure of working with young writers in New York City public schools for the first time as a resident writer with the Teachers & Writers Collaborative. By 2003, she was working at the Heschel School, planting the seeds for a unique and successful creative writing program there. She also participated in the judging of the Scholastic competition in 2006 and currently serves as a judge of several national youth writing competitions (in which her students are not involved).

    Rebecca also serves on Writopia Lab’s Board of Directors and is thrilled to have a team of accomplished board members from various social and business sectors, help shape the future of Writopia's youth literary community.

    Writings

    Rebecca began writing for publications in 1997. She has contributed opeds about education and writing to the The Atlantic Monthly and The Wall Street Journal, and thought pieces to The Huffington Post and The Nation, along with five cover stories (and other pieces) to the Village Voice. She has contributed the foreword to Bryant Park's Poem in Your Day Chapbook 2012 and to The Scholastic Award's 2012 Best Teen Writing. She also served as Senior Editor at Psychology Today Magazine, and won Salon's "Best People Story of the Year Award" for "Love Labor's Flossed." In 1999, she became a Journalism Fellow at Brandeis University. In 2003, she entered the world of comedy writing, and began writing and performing sketch comedy around NYC. She won a "Best Sketch" competition at the Upright Citizens Brigade in 2006.

  • Yael Schick

    Director of Programs
    Instructor
    Yael Schick

    Yael is thrilled to be part of the Writopia team! She received her BA in English from Stern College of Yeshiva University, and joined Writopia Lab in 2011. She has taught and tutored writing in several New York City colleges and private schools, and has worked as a director, most recently directing at 59e59 Theaters and at Roy Arias Theater. At Writopia she works as an instructor and program developer. Her Writopia students have received Scholastic recognition on both on the regional and national levels, and she has served as a national judge for the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. In 2012, she was recognized by the Scholastic Awards "as an outstanding educator whose dedication, commitment, and guidance are represented by student work selected for national honors."

  • Danielle Sheeler

    Director of Camps and Curriculum
    Instructor
    DanielleSheeler

    Danielle has been part of the Writopia team since 2011. She currently codirects Writopia’s NYC full-day camps and WriCampia, Writopia’s Sleepaway Camp, and develops in-school and essay writing curricula. Danielle teaches writing workshops at Writopia, in schools, and in Residential Treatment Facilities for incarcerated youth. She provides literacy support and creative writing workshops for at-risk teens who are transitioning these facilities into adulthood as part of Writopia’s Write to Independence Program. She launched the Essay Writing program at Writopia in 2013. In 2015 and 2016, she was recognized by the Scholastic Awards "as an outstanding educator whose dedication, commitment, and guidance are represented by student work selected for national honors." Prior to Writopia, Danielle tutored for the SAT, ACT, and SAT Subject Tests both privately and with a Long-Island based company called Dynamic Tutoring.

    She has studied writing at Stanford University and New York University, and received her Masters in Humanities and Social Thought from the Draper Program at NYU in January 2010. She has co-written (with Yael Schick) a new musical How to Click, which was showcased at Shetler Studios and the Sorter Lee Theater. Her one-act play, Under Somebody's Nose, was produced at Roy Arias theater in November of 2012. She produced and performed the one-acts Graduands to Graduates; The Megalomaniac and Valedictorian Commence; and Scene From a Dartboard at the Manhattan Repertory theatre in March through June 2010, and the one-act Look at Me When I Am Talking to You at the Wings Theatre in New York in May 2008. She has had the opportunity to teach English and creative writing in a classroom setting to children in Pram-pram, Ghana; Quito, Ecuador; Chinatown, New York; East Palo Alto, California; and New Orleans, Louisiana.

  • Daniel Ajl Kitrosser

    Instructor
    Artistic Director of Writopia Plays Festival
    Playwriting and Screenwriting Specialist
    DanKitrosser

    Dan Kitrosser has been teaching year-round at Writopia since 2007. He teaches musical theater, playwriting, language play, and fiction workshops, and also produces and directs Writopia Lab's annual Best Playwrights' Festival. Dan is the resident storyteller at Central Park and an award-winning playwright. His plays and musicals have appeared at Urban Stages, 45 Bleecker Theatre, The Ohio Theatre, The Brooklyn Lyceum and American Place Theatre. His children's musical, Night of the Butterfly, has been declared "a winning original musical!" by TimeOut Kids, and had an extended Off-Broadway run. He was the recipient of the 2010 Brooklyn Arts Council Grant for his one-man musical The Legend of Ichabod Crane (Halloween Pick - Village Voice) which he continues to tour around the city. At Writopia, six of Dan's students have won "Best Play" in Stephen Sondheim's 2008, 2009, and 2010 Write a Play! contests, and many others were named finalists or won honorable mentions. A graduate of NYU, Dan's screenplays include Old Days, directed by Matt Shapiro and starring Brad Oscar (Tony Nomination, The Producers) and Mary Beth Piel (Dawson's Creek) and Bodybuilder Island, directed by Matthew Kliegman. Dan has been a final committee judge for the Philadelphia Young Playwrights Festival for four years (this coming summer will be his fifth). Dan's play Be Here Now won this festival and was a finalist in Stephen Sondheim's National Playwriting Competition.

  • Molly Haas-Hooven

    Instructor
    In-Patient Creative Writing Specialist
    Registration Support
    Molly Haas-Hooven

    Molly Haas-Hooven is a Brooklyn based playwright and educator. She has had the pleasure of teaching creative writing, playwriting, and college-essay workshops at Writopia Lab since 2012. In 2015, she came on board as a full-time instructor, editor, and administrator. Molly’s Writopia students have won Scholastic Writing Awards every year since 2012. She also has been specializing in working with Writopia’s writers with disabilities, and is the Writopia Creative Writing Coordinator at Mount Sinai’s Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department; there she provides bedside writing support 12 hours a week to children struggling with severe medical conditions. She also serves as the Editor-In-Chief of Mount Sinai’s teen literary journal, Surge (which Writopia produces). Her plays have been produced in Boston and New York, and include, Die Kleinen, (NY Premiere, Mastodon Theatre Company, Semifinalist for the Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference, 2014), The House Itself Does Not Burn, (Semifinalist for the Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference, 2015), and The Queen, (Naked Angels). Molly received her B.A. in Theater Arts from Brandeis University, and her M.F.A. in Playwriting from the New School for Drama.

  • Cory Tamler

    Instructor
    CoryTamler

    Cory Tamler (www.corytamler.com) writes and translates essays, fiction, and plays/pieces for performance. She also works as a director, producer, and organizer, often on cross-disciplinary projects with an international component and performed in non-traditional venues. She has made theater in Germany, Serbia, New Zealand, Mongolia, and throughout the United States. Cory is a former Fulbright Scholar, a member of the Network of Ensemble Theaters (NET/TEN Exchange Grant recipient), an alumna of DirectorsLabChicago, and a CEC ArtsLink Grant recipient for her theater work in Belgrade. Her personal and critical writing has been published in The Offing, Culturebot, Extended Play, ArtParasites, Howlround, and Interartive, and her translations have appeared in Asymptote, The Offing, and The Animated Reader (New Museum Triennial). In the fall of 2015 she designed a writing residency on board the RV Roger Revelle, a research vessel on which she shadowed and worked with oceanographers for five weeks. She is the Spring 2016 R&D Season Fellow at the New Museum. A Brooklyn resident since 2011, Cory is originally from Pittsburgh, where she studied physics and fiction writing at the University of Pittsburgh. She will begin a Theater Studies PhD program in fall 2016. As a homeschooled kid, Cory took a lot of writing and theater classes and wouldn't be who she is today without them. She is proud to teach writing and performance across the city with Writopia and with Brooklyn Acts.

  • Stephen Cedars

    Instructor
    Stephen Cedars

    Stephen began teaching fiction and playwriting at Writopia in 2011. His original theatre has been produced throughout New York City for the past seven years through the Brick Theatre, the Downtown Urban Theatre Festival, and the Ontological-Hysteric Incubator, chashama. He has also co-produced community theater for Williamsburg families. He studied English, History and Theatre at Louisiana State University, and recently graduated with his MFA from NYU's Department of Dramatic Writing, where he was awarded the John Golden Prize for Excellence in Playwriting.

  • Sarah Bernstein

    Instructor
    Sarah Bernstein

    Sarah Bernstein is an award-winning teacher and playwright. Sarah studied playwriting with Paula Vogel at Brown University, and her work has been produced and/or developed with companies throughout the country, including the Lark Play Development Center, the Amoralists, Forward Flux Productions,The Motor Company, the Source Festival, FullStop Collective, Caps Lock Theatre, the American Globe Theatre, Project Y, and the New Voices Project. Her play, Perpetuation, and her adaptation of Les Miserables, will be published by Playscripts, Inc. next year. After falling in love with Writopia through her work on the Worldwide Plays Festival, she is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Writopia's brilliant students and staff as an instructor.

  • Laura Miller

    Instructor
    Laura Miller

    Laura is thrilled to join Writopia Lab in DC! She is a teaching artist, dramaturg, writer, and occasional performer. She is the Literary Manager for Forum Theatre, and a freelance dramaturg for many theatres and projects across the country. Raleigh-based company Urban Garden Performing Arts produced her collaborative dance-theatre piece, Mark Twain's Joan of Arc: Part 1 in 2012, and Part 2 in 2013. Laura is the former Creative Development Director of the off-Broadway company Electric Pear Productions and has had the honor of working with The Public Theater, The Kennedy Center, Shakespeares Globe Theatre, The Inkwell, and The Princess Grace Awards, among others. She is a graduate of Brooklyn College and James Madison University.

  • Alex Machock

    Instructor
    AlexMachock

    Alex Machock is very excited to join the team at Writopia L.A. He earned a B.A. in Theater Arts from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and during this time wrote two plays, which were both produced and performed by the faculty. He has worked with youth for the past 6 years, from instructing science lessons at a summer camp to leading SAT test prep workshops, and is thrilled to be able to bridge his love of teaching with his passion for writing. When he isn't working or writing he is most likely indulging his other passion: playing music.

  • Alexandra Cohl

    Instructor
    Program Developer
    Developing Regions Manager
    AlexandraCohl

    Alexandra is thrilled to be an Instructor, Program Developer, and the Developing Regions Manager at Writopia NYC! As Developing Regions Manager, she oversees the growth of new regions and specifically serves as the Program Coordinator for the Chicago and Bay Area regions. Alexandra interned at Writopia NYC during the summer of 2014 after graduating from the University of Delaware with a BA in English Literature and a minor in Theatre Performance. While in school, she wrote and performed a solo Commedia dell’Arte mask show, Stella, for the theatre department and outside guests. Her short fiction has been published in Luna Luna Magazine. Throughout the school year, she instructs multi-genre workshops and private sessions, and in the summer, mainly works with the playwrights, helping them bring their written pieces to the stage. Outside of work, she writes memoir and realistic fiction and is currently working on a series of short stories. Periodic summer visits to her grandparents' house in upstate New York—or as her mother called it: "cousin camp"—proved to be influential in her artistic endeavors and remains a place of inspiration; she and her cousins would create and perform original stories, often times charging for entry. Since then, she has always loved the beauty and therapeutic power of words. In addition to reading and writing, she loves to sing and is especially moved by R&B and soul music.

  • Madeline Taylor

    Registration Coordinator
    Instructor
    Madeline Taylor

    Madeline Taylor joined Writopia as an intern in June 2015 and, after a year of working part-time, began full-time as Registration Coordinator. She also served as the Production Stage Manager for the Writopia Worldwide Plays Festival 2016. She graduated summa cum laude from Barnard College at Columbia University with a BA in English & Creative Writing. At Barnard, she stage managed, edited, and contributed to student-written theater productions, and her main areas of instruction at Writopia are the Playwriting & Performance program and the Essay Writing program. She writes primarily creative non-fiction and short fiction, and received recognition for her non-fiction writing at Barnard College with the Schwimmer Prize for the Humanities and the Estelle M. Allison Prize for Literature.

  • Stephanie Susnjara

    Instructor
    Stephanie Susnjara

    Stephanie is thrilled to help kids and teens discover the joys of writing through Writopia Lab. Stephanie also works as a freelance writer/editor/researcher in the realms of journalism, web content, nonfiction book manuscripts, and film/television project development. In a teaching capacity she has taught creative nonfiction writing online through the Creative Nonfiction Foundation; has run script analysis seminars at NYU/Tisch School of the Arts to graduate and undergraduate film and dramatic writing students; and instructed high school students on writing college entrance essays. Her literary essays and book reviews have appeared in the following literary journals and anthologies: Brain, Child: The Magazine for Thinking Mothers; Brain, Child’s Greatest Hits; Brevity; Creative Nonfiction; Italian Americana; MotherVerse; and The Yorktown Anthology of New Writers (Gotham Press). Stephanie has a BA in Theatre from the University of Colorado (1986) and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Goucher College (2000). She lives in Katonah, New York, with her two children.

  • Lily Ladewig

    Instructor
    Lily Ladewig

    Lily Ladewig is thrilled to join Writopia Lab's Los Angeles team and wishes that she could have taken Writopia workshops when she was a young writer. She earned her MFA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst's Program for Poets and Writers as well as a certificate in screenwriting from New York University's School of Professional Studies. Her full-length poetry collection, The Silhouettes, was published by SpringGun Press in 2012. Lily has taught creative writing at the K-12 and college level, and loves yoga, birthday cake, and reading under the covers with a flashlight.

  • Melanie Howard

    Instructor
    Melanie Howard

    Melanie Howard is excited to join Writopia Lab as an instructor in the Greater Washington DC area. Melanie is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared online and in print in Time.com, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, SELF, Seventeen, Parenting, Good Housekeeping and other major publications. She is the co-author of the satirical novel, Queen of the Court (2013) and her second novel, a mystery set at a girls’ boarding school in 1963, is in the publication process. Melanie is an honors graduate of the University of Virginia with a degree in General and Comparative Literature. She loves writing for a living for many reasons, but mostly because she gets to stay home with her dog, Rocket.

  • Ian McDonald

    Instructor
    ian_mcdonald

    Ian McDonald is thrilled to be back working at Writopia for his third summer! Ian is a playwright, filmmaker, and educator from Portland, Maine. He holds an MFA in Playwriting from Brown University, where he also taught. He is the recipient of a Playwriting Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Clauder Competition Gold Prize, and the Visionary Playwrights Award from Theatre Masters. He has also received residencies from the MacDowell Colony, the Edward Albee Foundation, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the UCross Foundation, and the Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts. He teaches at Loyola Marymount University and writes for the L.A. Review Of Books. Ian's film Some Freaks will be premiering at the 2016 Fantasia Film Festival.

  • Dania Ramos

    Instructor
    dania_ramos

    Dania is excited to be part of Writopia Lab in New Jersey. She is an author and playwright. Her middle grade novel Who's Ju (Northampton House Press) was named the 2015 International Latino Book Awards Best YA eBook and was a finalist for the 2015 ILBA Mariposa Award for Best First Book. Her plays have been featured at Luna Stage (Mainstage Season, Short Play Festival), Writers Theatre of New Jersey (Women Playwrights Program, FORUM and Soundings Reading Series), Repertorio Español (Nuestras Voces Reading Series), and Dreamcatcher Rep (NJTA Stages Festival). Dania holds a BFA in Theatre from Montclair State University and an MA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University.

  • Justin Allen

    Instructor
    Justin Allen

    Justin Allen is excited to be an instructor at Writopia Lab. Justin is the author of two novels, Slaves of the Shinar and Year of the Horse. He is also the author of three plays. Murder at the Masque: The Casebook of Edgar Allen Poe and Gilbert and Sullivan, The Ballet! were both commissioned and produced by Dances Patrelle. The Beatitudes was commissioned by Eidolon Ballet in Concert and was produced for the 2010 New York International Fringe Festival. Justin is curently formulating a new script, which he wants to call Superhero: The Legend of the Lightning Defender. Justin earned his MFA at Columbia University and studied Comic Book Scripting at the Savannah College of Art and Design. He loves fantasy and science-fiction, mystery and alternate history, love stories and comic books, and he adores work that defies classification. He has taught writing as a part of the Columbia Writing Workshops at Bank Street College of Education, led a seminar focusing on graphic novels and comic books at Bethesda Academy, and spent years as a children's ballet master in New York City. He looks forward to reveling weekly in the work of the talented and creative young writers that make Writopia Lab a special place.

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