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We are used to thinking about theater as a visual and oral spectacle that occurs on a stage. But what happens when the visuals are removed, the stage is gone and all you are left with is sound? In this seminar, students will explore key elements of a radio play and how to approach writing solely for the ear and not the eye. With the guidance of Winter Miller, students will discover how to lean deeper into dialogue, music, and sound effects to paint a compelling and visual story.

This class is for you if you:

  • Love writing or listening to gripping podcasts, radio, or audio plays.
  • Are interested in creating soundscapes and sound design.
  • Struggle to turn stage directions and action into dialogue.
  • Are interested in radio opera.
  • Want to explore a different form of storytelling.
  • Are interested in learning more about Winter Miller’s work and approach to writing.

What to expect:

  • Assignment: Read No One Is Forgotten by Winter Miller, and listen to the radio opera version of the play composed by Paola Prestini.
  • Discussion and open Q&A about the leap from writing a stage play to a radio opera.
  • Students are invited to bring in a question about something specific in their radio plays, sharing challenges and ways to turn those into opportunities. 
From Winter

The proliferation and popularity of plays for radio in this country is a direct response to the confines of the pandemic and writers are getting commissioned to write or adapt new works for radio. Unless you went to radio playwriting school, you may not know how to expand your writing for stage to radio. This is a taste. Or perhaps you are in the midst of a radio play and you’re flummoxed by an issue you’ve encountered in how to tell action without using a narrator? We will dig into the entree of radio and talk about the ingredients and recipes. You’re welcome for that absurd example. We will also have fun.

Winter Miller

The playwright
Member Photo
based inBrooklyn, NY
Raised by activist feminist parents and schooled by Quakers, Winter Miller is surprisingly amusing. She makes and champions art to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Eartha Kitt once held her left hand for five minutes.  Recent works include the 2022 premiere of When Monica Met Hillary “Intense, discomfiting, revelatory,” The Miami Herald; children’s picture book, Not A Cat, from Tilbury House; and the libretto for the 3-D spatial audio radio opera No One Is Forgotten with composers Paola Prestini and Sxip Shirey, adapted from her play No One Is Forgotten, which Winter produced and directed, “a profoundly devastating play,” The New Yorker. Her award-winning play In Darfur premiered in a sold-out run at The Public, followed by an SRO performance at Central Park’s 1800-seat Delacorte, a first for a play by a woman. Winter traveled to the Sudan border with NYT columnist Nicholas Kristof. In Darfur has played theaters nationwide. Plays include Spare Rib, a “quasi comic abortion drama,” profiled by The New Yorker; The Penetration Play “cracklingly funny,” NYT; Paternity, Conspicuous, and Animalia Arthropoda. Her plays are published by Concord, Broadway Licensing, and in anthologies. Winter is a founding member of the Obie-winning collective 13Playwrights, a two-time NYFA awardee (2022, 2016), and has been granted fellowships at Sundance, Djerassi (MacElwee Fellow), Bogliasco Foundation, Cherry Lane Mentor Project, Hedgebrook, Blue Mountain Center, Space at Ryder Farm, The Playwrights Center, Civilians R&D, NNPN, New Georges, SLAC, and a Nancy Dean Lesbian Playwriting Prize. Commissions include: The Guthrie, Joe’s Pub, Miami New Drama, Nature’s Darlings and Keen.  She has created theater with young people surviving in war-torn areas of Northern Uganda and Palestine, and in LGBTQIA communities in NYC. She received a BA from Smith College, an MFA from Columbia University and is a proud affiliate of New Georges and The Playwrights Center and was elected NYC’s first Dramatists Guild Representative. Winter has taught in MFA programs with The New School and Queens University of Charlotte and undergraduates at SUNY Purchase. She has lectured at Princeton, NYU, and Pace, and has led writing workshops with The New Group, Primary Stages, New York Theater Workshop and worked with NYC teens with Arts Connection.  A former journalist, Winter wrote 90+ articles for The New York Times, and is profiled in The New Yorker, Bomb, New York Magazine, and on NPR’s Brian Lehrer and All of It with Alison Stewart. She has essays in the anthologies “Pretty Bitches” and “Click: When We Knew We Were Feminists.”