After School, Weekend, and Summer Half-Day Workshops
Writers of any age who choose to write plays in creative writing workshops are guided by produced playwrights throughout the script-writing process. All Writopia plays written by playwrights ages 8-18 are considered for professional production each year in May as part of our annual Worldwide Plays Festival. Between 25 and 80 plays are produced Off-Broadway each year, depending on funding streams.
Playwriting & Performance
Trimester Workshops and Camps
In age-based groups, young playwrights spend the the first half of each session developing plays or musicals under the guidance of a professional playwright. The second half of each session, writers work to bring their plays to life, exploring acting, directing, and all elements of theater production with NYC theater professionals. The workshop or camp culminates in a final showcase of one-act plays.
Advanced Playwriting Workshop
When you began to write, did you ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?”
Some of us started writing because there was something we desperately wanted to communicate. Some of us simply wanted to pass the time in a joyful, creative way. As we continue to write, it’s useful to ask ourselves important questions. Is there something specific I’m trying to express? How do my choices on the page reflect this? What makes my voice different from others? How can I use this voice in big ways? As we ask ourselves these questions, we evolve into artists with intention.
In Advanced Playwriting workshops, over the course of a trimester and under the mentorship of theater professionals, teen playwrights will play writing games and participate in exercises that mine their subconscious for ideas and emotions that they want to explore on the page. They will write original short plays tackling those ideas getting to know the fundamentals of writing for the stage— dialogue, monologue, action, behavior, character development, structure, theatricality, theme— and investigate the ways in which they can effectively use these fundamentals on the page. The investigation will broaden from the craft of writing to the bigger picture of why it is they write, as they work to discover their individual voices. They’ll craft short “artistic statements,” putting into words what their intentions are as writers. Workshops will culminate in a cold read of their new short plays by professional actors, as well as their own readings of their artistic statements.
NYC Program Application form here.
Musical Theater Workshop
Our feelings are big! Yet it’s rare in everyday life that we get the chance to properly express them. What we can do, however, is allow the characters we create to voice their feelings through dialogue, monologue, action, behavior, and song. We can help them pour their hearts out to a tune we write!
In Musical Theater Workshop, over the course of a trimester, writers meet in age-based groups with theater and songwriting professionals. They learn the fundamentals of writing for the stage: dialogue, monologue, action, behavior, character development, structure, theatricality, and theme. They craft their very own short, high-stakes scripts peopled with characters who have feelings and yearnings so big that, at moments, words alone are not enough to express them. They turn those heightened moments into songs--with original lyrics, melodies, and chords--and weave these songs into their story in a meeting of libretto and score. The trimester culminates in a scripts-in-hand reading (and singing) of their pieces with accompaniment, as they cast themselves and each other in their brand new pieces of musical theater.
Political Plays Workshop: Theater with a Social Conscience
What are the big issues that excite us? Anger us? Make us want to take action? How can we channel those issues into our art?
In Political Plays Workshop: Theater with a Social Conscience, young playwrights will craft short plays for the stage around the issues that matter most to them. We’ll take the political, social, and moral issues fresh on our minds and place them at the heart of brand new pieces of drama.
In Investigative Theater Workshop, young writers become equal parts journalist and dramatist as they investigate a true story or issue that’s important to them and then translate it to the stage. They’ll build questions around their chosen topic and interview subjects who have knowledge or personal experience in that area. They will then take those interviews and craft short theatrical pieces around them, telling these important true stories with the immediacy of the live moment.
In Sketch Comedy, writers will learn how to write jokes, how to tell the jokes through silly characters and dialogue, and how to use comedy and weird characters to find bigger truths about the world. We will discuss comedy, what makes something funny, and specifically discuss the sketch comedy writing process and structure. Writers will participate in a comedy writers room, during which we will discuss any ‘pitches’ and beat out jokes. Then, writers will each write their own sketch and read them aloud in a table read to receive feedback from their instructor and peers, and discuss any joke pitches in a collaborative environment. The workshop will culminate in a performance. Writers will also have the opportunity to submit their sketch to be performed by an established sketch comedy team at the Magnet Theater.