"Writopia online has been a miracle during the pandemic. The workshops have always been the bright spot in Hugh's week and even more so during this past year. Thank you for continuing to provide a top notch creative outlet!"
"Writopia was Abey's first inclusion experience. He was embraced by the community and encouraged to submit his writing for publications and awards. Abey was very happy at Writopia and it gave us the confidence to transition from a private special education school to a NYC public high school. His highest compliment is 'This is just like Writopia.'"
Thursday is Willem’s favorite day of the week! He and several others from their D & D game just chatted with each other on roll20 the other day— love the way this group has bonded. I’m amazed and grateful to know that making friends virtually during a pandemic is totally a thing.
"I never thought I would say this, but i am soooooo happy that your classes are on Zoom so Robbie can continue to take your classes when we move!!! Thank you so much...I cannot express enough how wonderful Writopia has been for my son..."
"Thank you all. One thing I have learned from Covid is what people and activities are really the most meaningful for my child and Writopia is top of the list. Thank you all for creating such an amazing supportive community!!!"
"I just glanced at Shaylem's essay and was really happy with what you all have helped facilitate for him. I really appreciate the feedback, all of your hard work, and the organization as a whole."
"My daughter loved learning to write with Writopia teachers...They inspired her to write award-winning fiction. Long after working with them, my daughter continues to write with great enthusiasm."
"One of the many incredible things about Writopia Lab is that it offers an alternative social universe for quiet and cerebral kids. Its vibe is serious yet edgy, inclusive yet cool. [...] And, quiet or not, most of the Writopia kids read their work aloud at local bookstore events, and a staggering number win prestigious national writing competitions.”
Susan Cain, from her New York Times Bestseller, Quiet
"I came to Writopia without ever having been in a writing class outside of my school. I was scared that I would not be as good as the other members, but as soon as I stepped in I felt right at home. For the first time I was excited and passionate about my writing. Every week I was eager to learn from my friends and writing instructor how to improve my work. In the end I felt that it all paid off. Writopia gave me a chance to think about hard and personal subjects in a different way, and also gave me the chance to express myself in a free manner."
Gabe Fisher, 8th Grade Scholastic Regional Gold Key Winner
“Teaching at Writopia, I am constantly amazed by the bravery and creativity of the young writers in my classes who are equally bursting with things to say. It is so, so important for these kids to have a fun and safe environment to tackle the daunting and spectacularly rewarding feat that is writing. Most importantly, it's an atmosphere of mutual respect—students aren't talked down to, but instead learn how to talk to each other about their work, in turn becoming better writers themselves.”
Bekah Brunstetter, Writopia Lab instructor and two-time New York Innovative Theatre Award-winning playwright of Off-Broadway’s “Oohrah!”
“Writing used to be a solitary activity; shutting the door of my room and drinking iced tea while frantically punching the keys of my typewriter, shooing away anyone who deigned to disturb me. But now I am beginning to believe that writing is best done in a community, surrounded by fellow wordsmiths who can comment on your pieces, provide inspiration, gently offer suggestions, and encourage you to forge ahead regardless of how flawed you perceive your own work to be. In my first two weeks at Writopia Lab, I have already gained more tools and produced more complete work than I have in the years I spent struggling alone.”
Emma Koosis, 15, Writopia Lab
“For a glimpse into the fiercely creative and tremendously talented new generation of writers, check out the Writopia Worldwide Plays Festival. The teaching artists of Writopia Lab know how to get the best of their young playwrights. I’m not kidding.”
Terry Berliner, resident director of Broadway’s “The Lion King”
2011 and 2012 Worldwide Plays Festival Director
"I am one of the ELA teachers that had the pleasure of having Writopia in my class this past semester. I am writing to tell you what a pleasure it was working with Milana and Sarah. Their enthusiasm, creativity, and patience created such a positive and creative work environment. My students (an I!) looked forward to every Tuesday with them. We are all going to miss them!"
Michelle Putnick, PS/MS 89 Teacher,
The Bronx, 2019
"Rebecca has amazing lingual intuition – she knows how words feel and sound, and this enables her to work with all kinds of writing, from short stories to poems to essays... When she makes a suggestion, she is not offended if you don’t agree. She listens and considers your perspective as the writer. She can give general ideas and overall feedback as well as specific analysis, so that the writer is free to use her ideas but interpret them and write them their own way... Rebecca is an awesome (for lack of a more specific word of praise) editor and writer, and an equally amazing person. The gift of working with her is a double bonus – her amazing skill as a writer and editor, and her warm, smiling, funny, happy, wonderful personality."
Noa Bendit-Shtull, 15, Bard College High School,
Scholastic National Gold Key Winner, 2006
"I was so impressed with how the children answered questions in a group setting... and how they were prompted to think creatively. They worked together and listened to each other's ideas. And the instructor really focused on the children's ideas as well."
Cecily C., mother of Lila, three years old
"The best thing about Language Play was watching the kids become active in storytelling, and involved in the creative process. No other comparable program offers practice using language, phonics, and creative language play."
Rebecca R., mother of Avner, three years old
"Living in Europe, our experience with Writopia has been wonderful for Jakob, an American 6th grader, attending a full-time school in Spanish. His lessons via Skype are exciting and above all creative. He's loving it!"
mother of Jakob, 11
"Writopia Lab was an unexpected soaring flight and blossoming of our daughter. She found her voice, was excited every week and could not wait to share what she was writing. 'Please read my work, let me read you what I am writing...' This from a normally reticent 9-year-old. Absolutely amazing!"
Kim, Writopia parent (Fall 2012)
"Writopia has been a blessing for my son. His amazing teacher has connected him to his creative spirit in a way that has never happened before. My 17-year-old son is now proud to call himself a poet and is excited about continuing to learn and write in College."
Denise, Writopia Parent (Fall 2012)
Writopia was really beneficial for students who already see themselves as writers, as it gives them the creative outlet. But it is also great for reluctant writers; they flourish in this type of environment.
Teacher, PS 276 in New York City
I absolutely recommend this class. Discussions and readings changed my thinking about how to teach writing... The classes were fun especially the writing games and exercises. I felt like a kid again.
NYC DOE educator's evaluation of Writopia Lab's Training Institute
"...thanks so much for granting Amira with her first sleepaway camp experience last summer at WriCampia. Amira had an amazing time and wants to attend again this summer... She still talks about her experience at WriCampia to date and keeps in touch with the friends she met. I myself really enjoyed viewing all of the photos, her short story video and fun memories captured! Thanks so much again!"
Tanisha, Writopia Parent (Winter 2019)
"Julio's attitude towards writing has changed so drastically. He’s become so much more confident and actually likes writing now. His teachers have noticed a huge improvement in his writing in school. I credit this to Writopia. I cannot thank Writopia enough! Truly an amazing program. Thank you. "
Lisa, Writopia mom,
Calling all teen screenwriters. Come join us for a semester of feature film screenwriting!
Watch film clips from across the globe, read screenplay excerpts, play screenwriting games, and pursue writing an original, feature-length narrative script. Open to all writers with an interest in film, no experience needed!
Writers will learn the mechanics of the screenplay itself as well as develop original characters and plotlines to create long-form storytelling with the vividness that novels and short stories contain. Emphasis will also include shaping rhythms and tones of dialogue, creating contrasting perspectives of characters, and location-centric writing to help give voice to their pieces.
Screenwriting games will focus on building narrative through photography, art, soundscapes, and other audiovisual elements. Techniques of montage and genre will also be explored!
Writopia’s Music Lab is for musicians of all backgrounds and all skill levels—from beginner to advanced—who want to develop and sustain their lifelong passion in music.
Our programs include: 1) The Music Foundry band program, where teens with intermediate or advanced experience on any instrument come together to discover their own style and sound, and to create, record, and perform new, vital, original music; and 2) Exploratory Music Collective workshops, for beginning musicians to explore instruments, production tools, and music fundamentals; and 3) Songwriting Studio workshops, a place for singer-songwriters to write and share songs with each other, get feedback, and ultimately build community.
Compared to many music schools, Writopia’s Music Lab is first and foremost a place for exploring your own sound, creative voice, and passion in music. Our pedagogy is rooted in the belief that finding one’s place and sound in the world of music lays the foundation for lifelong musicianship. Mimicking and covering the greats or memorizing a songbook of standards are a rite of passage, but not the final destination. Best of all, engaging the creative process in this way deepens our understanding of ourselves and our peer community.
Workshops and band programs at Writopia’s Music Lab are accessible to all income levels through our sliding scale fees or through further financial aid.Schedule for Writopia’s Music Lab programs.
Many of our fall trimester workshops are launching the week of September 13th, but that is not the only time to join! We will be starting new fall workshops throughout the month of September, and we have flexible start dates for all programs (in-person and online). We know there are many schedule details up in the air for families this fall—Writopia is excited to welcome your writers whenever they are able, with prorated tuition rates.
Music Foundry is a school-year-long band program for intermediate and advanced teen musicians who want a relaxed, non-judgemental place to collaborate, take creative risks, and explore their own sound and lyrics. Over the course of the school year, each band will write at least three original songs, record and edit them in Logic to produce a demo EP, and perform them live.
Whether a teen has taken a couple years of rock instrument lessons or is deep into formal training in jazz or classical instruments, Music Foundry is designed to sustain their passion for music by augmenting their ongoing instrument lessons with the tools to embrace new sounds and develop an original musical voice. Intermediate musicians should come with 1 to 3 years experience on any single instrument, while advanced musicians will have 3 or more years experience on any single instrument. Multi-instrumentalists are welcome, of course!
Beginning musicians are encouraged to start with our Exploratory Music Collective workshops before taking the next step with Music Foundry. Music Foundry is 33 two-hour band sessions that meet once-weekly at Writopia’s Upper West Side location. Each band-sized group of teen musicians is matched by age (13+) and experience. In the fall, bands focus on techniques for jamming together, and on developing new music and lyrics. In the winter, the focus includes rehearsing, preparing arrangements, and recording, including a field trip to a recording studio. In the spring, each band will explore stagecraft and promotion, culminating in a live set of their original work.
Late-joining musicians may be allowed up through December (and accordingly pro-rated) only if a placement for them can be found, and with the understanding that they will have missed some of their bands’ writing time.
For singer-songwriters looking for a community, Songwriting Studio workshops offer a focus on poetic techniques, album arrangement, and introductory music theory. In Songwriting Studio, songwriters have dedicated time each week for writing and workshopping new pieces with fellow musicians. Through each trimester’s eleven 90-minute sessions, songwriters learn ways to grow as lyricists and musicians, and bring their art to the world through basic home-recording techniques.
Through Exploratory Music Collective workshops, beginning musicians will learn the basics of how to write a song, from lyrics to musical accompaniment. Guided by their instructor, they will each create lyrics, melody, and chords for their songs. Each group will explore their new creations with a variety of instruments. Don’t know if you are a drummer, guitarist, bassist, or pianist? This program allows writers to try those instruments, digital sounds, and more! Once ready, musicians in EMC workshops will also begin their introduction to collaborative playing. Following eleven 90-minute sessions, musicians in Exploratory Music Collective will each be encouraged to share their work, either through an open mic performance opportunity, or by trying their hand at the basics of recording with Garageband.
Malcolm Knowles has been part of the Writopia Lab team since 2018. He is a writer and multi-instrumentalist originally from Houston, Texas, where he learned to record and release music during his teenage years. He later attended Sarah Lawrence College with a focus in Jazz Guitar, Composition, and Radio. During the summer, Malcolm teaches Creative Writing and Songwriting at both the Writopia Full Day camp and WriCampia, and is the Division Head of Upper Boys at WriCampia. After two years of developing the Writopia Songwriting Studio and its camp electives, Malcolm co-designed, launched, and began overseeing the Writopia Music Foundry in 2021. Both programs are offered as part of Writopia's Music Lab. During the school year, Malcolm helps young and teen writers navigate the process of Essay Writing, Creative Writing, and Songwriting. When not teaching, you can often find Malcolm next to the closest musical instrument.
If you are inquiring about COVID-19 precautions for WriCampia (our sleepaway camp program), please visit our WriCampia page. The information below applies to workshops and day camps held at our labs.
We take the threat of COVID-19 very seriously and work to create as safe an environment as is reasonably possible.
As the situation with COVID-19 evolves and as guidance from the CDC, FDA, and local health authorities evolves, so will our policies regarding safety and protocols.
These special workshops are an opportunity to work with a produced playwright as you start, revise, and/or complete your play.
If you withdraw two weeks (or more) prior to the workshop start date, your payment can be credited toward a future workshop at no cost, or refunded with a $50 cancellation fee. If withdrawal is requested within two weeks of the workshop start date, the same policy applies, as long as we are able to fill the spot. However, if we are unable to fill the spot, we cannot refund or credit the workshop.
Credits may be used for any Writopia Lab program within 18 months of the credit date. Credits not used within 18 months will be converted to charitable donations. If a credit is converted into a refund, it remains subject to the terms of the cancellation policy -- if you get a full credit but you would have been assessed a $50 fee for the refund, you will be assessed the $50 fee when converting the credit to a refund.
Writing Your Activism is for writers looking to transcend the page by using the power of their words as a call to action. How do we document the history we are living in? We will discuss current events and writers will not only share their passion for change, but will engage in a meaningful project that can include: photojournalism; investigative theater; letters to the editor; letters to politicians on the local, state, or national level; protest signage with strategic copy; op-ed pieces; odes to inspiring activists; speeches; and more!
At Writopia Lab, youth have made Social-Emotional Learning gains in areas such as Positive Identity, Academic Self-Efficacy, Social Skills, and Self-management, which are directly linked to long-term positive behavior, thriving youth, improved academic performance, and improved workforce readiness.
Here is Writopia's Program Logic Model, a graphic that presents what we do, how we do it, and the short-term and long-term effects on our youth.