university courses

Playwrights’ Center, in partnership with Augsburg University, is offering online, accredited playwriting and television-writing courses taught by today’s leading writers in the field to students from all over the country!

Each semester-long course can be taken on its own or alongside other courses at a student’s school: a one-class, online, study-away experience. Our partnership with Augsburg University’s Center for Global Education & Experience (CGEE) allows us to grant college credit, which can be earned at either the undergraduate or graduate level.

These courses are designed to supplement what schools already offer. They provide intimate creative and professional mentorship from writers working actively in the field. And they bring together student writers and other working artists in a vibrant learning community. A passion for writing, an eagerness to learn with and from amazing writers all around the country, and a desire to tell stories on stage are all that’s required.

Reach out to Zoë Rodine, Director of University Programs and Partnerships, at zoer@pwcenter.org or 612-547-5743 to learn more!

Courses
coming up

Summer 2024
PWC 330

Writing for Digital Media

Instructor
Instructor
Alexa Derman

HEAR DIRECTLY FROM OUR STUDENTS

We connect with students around the corner, and around the world.

Angelique Dina Speaks About Her Experience in the University Courses Program

Gage Pipkin Speaks About His Experience in the University Courses Program

India Mallard Speaks About Her Experience in the University Courses Program

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Summer 2024
PWC 330

Writing for Digital Media

Some of the most exciting storytelling today isn’t happening in a theatre or on a movie screen: it’s happening on your computer, on your gaming console, in your podcast app. In this course, we’ll explore the unique possibilities of writing for digital media, from audio storytelling to video-game writing to uncategorizable immersive digital experiences. Together, we’ll closely examine exciting digital works that challenge our notions of what counts as a “game” or “radio play” as well as dissecting how established forms of digital media (think AAA video games like The Last of Us or podcasts like Serial) become international blockbusters.  We’ll not only sharpen our writing skills as we consider the needs of these emergent forms, but also expand our technical abilities, experimenting with simple but robust tools like Twine to create our own immersive digitally-native experiences. Digital storytelling empowers us to be writer-builders: to not just draft a blueprint for an experience, but to actually make the thing itself. This class is for writers eager to not just write but also create — to be architects of strange new digital worlds all their own. 

Instructor
Instructor
Alexa Derman
Spring 2024
PWC 320

Writing for Television: Developing and Pitching Your Show

Have you ever been watching TV and thought: I’m pretty sure my ideas are better than this? Or are you a writer who knows you’ve developed the skills to write for television, but doesn’t know how the industry functions? This class introduces you to the process and business of ideating, developing, and pitching a television show. You’ll learn what makes a good TV idea, and experiment with adapting stories you love to the medium of television as well as developing original concepts. You’ll learn what a TV treatment is and how to write one, create a pitch deck for your very own TV show, and learn the skills you need to pitch to executives. And you’ll be learning from an industry professional who has experience pitching and developing shows for various studios and audiences and can help you understand what working in television is really like.

Instructor
Jessica Huang
Fall 2023
PWC 320

Playwriting: Foundations to Full-Length Draft

This class is designed to create a firm foundation for anyone interested in writing for the stage. We will be exploring the fundamentals of playwriting, story structures, and understanding the role of the playwright in society. This class will contain a series of writing exercises that will help generate pages as you create a 100-page rough draft for your final project, plays to read as you gain more knowledge and context of the playwright’s rich history in the American Theater, and most importantly, you’ll be part of community of fellow playwrights whose voices you’ll become familiar with through reading and focused critique. Be prepared to write.

Instructor
Instructor
Josh Wilder
Fall 2023
PWC 320

Writing for Television: The Pitch, The Pilot, and Beyond

The art of scriptwriting is at the heart of what TV writers do, but pitching, outlining, and working collaboratively with producers and/or writers’ room colleagues are all just as important, require just as much skill and, ideally, can offer almost as much creative satisfaction. Students in this course will complete polished original pilots, but as part of the process, we’ll do a deep dive into the kinds of work that are external to the script itself but absolutely crucial to a project’s success. Students will participate in mock writers’ rooms, pitches, and note sessions that will help them craft a great script while also reflecting the real-world circumstances in which most television writing gets done. Writers of all levels of experience are welcome. 

Instructor
Instructor
Kate Fodor
Fall 2023
PWC 310

Topics in Playwriting: Cultivating Wildness

We are living in the midst of escalating, and linked, climate and extinction crises. There are growing (and laudable) efforts in theatre and TV/film to produce narratives that directly address climate change. We need such stories that focus on the urgent and overdue needs of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, building a post-fossil-fuel economy, and removing carbon dioxide and methane from our atmosphere, as well as adapting to our new reality of increased droughts, floods, and hurricanes. Yet these narratives, and political organizing in pursuit of these goals, remains human-centric, and can risk reproducing the notion that humans act upon our environment rather than being inherently embedded in it. How might our stories seek to interweave humanity with the species from which we evolved and with whom we share this planet? How can we create narratives that don’t reify our separateness from plants, animals, fungi, but rather interrogate our interdependence? This class will be an experiment. As playwrights, we will explore how to create theatre that is deeply connected to place and ecosystem, that seeks to honor the agency of non-human life (without forced anthropomorphizing), and, ultimately, seeks to help us, and by extension our communities, forge deeper, lasting connections with the land where we live, and all of the beings that call it home.

Instructor
Instructor
Andrew Saito
Summer 2023
PWC 510

Topics in Writing for Screen and Stage: Advanced Pilot Writing

It’s time to raise the stakes. It’s time to incorporate those dramatic tools into a highly entertaining pilot that will keep your audience glued to the screen…And it’s time to do it fast…I mean, really fast–because that’s how it happens when you actually write for television. This course will expose you to the pace of the industry, while also sharpening your craft. Through in-class exercises, participants will experiment with developing complex and active characters that both push the story forward and speak in dialogue that is rich and contains subtext. We will analyze accomplished shows, and each student will write two original pilots, one comedy and one drama. For both shows, students will create a pitch document that includes an outline/beat sheet, character descriptions, and themes to be tackled in the show before they start work on the pilot script. Let’s get started on creating the next Breaking Bad, Abbott Elementary, Squid Game, Modern Family, Godfather of Harlem, or The Wire!

Instructor
Instructor
James Anthony Tyler
Raquel Almazan

Raquel
Almazan

Website

Raquel Almazan is an interdisciplinary artist, facilitator, and activist. (MFA Playwriting, Columbia University). Her eclectic career spans original multi-media solo performances, playwriting, devising, and dramaturgy. Almazan’s work has been featured in New York City—including Off-Broadway—throughout the United States, and internationally in Greece, Italy, Slovenia, Colombia, Chile, Guatemala and Sweden; including several of her plays within the Latin is America play cycle—writing bi-lingual plays in dedication to each Latin American country. She has been awarded Professional Development residencies with Bric Arts, The Eugene O’Neill Center Playwrights Conference, and The Playwrights’ Center. Recipient of the Map Fund, National Association of Latino Arts and Culture Grant, Kennedy Center’s Latinidad Award, Kate Neal Kinley Playwriting Fellowship, and the LGBTQ Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation Playwriting Prize. Select plays include La Paloma Prisoner (2020 Kilroys List, upcoming: World Premiere at Next Door- NYTW/ Workshops: The Signature Theatre, La Mama, The Lark, INTAR and Labyrinth Theatre Company, WPI, Stockholm); La Migra Taco Truck (off-Broadway Theatre Row); When I Came Home (Pregones- PRTT); LA NEGRA (Workshop: Bric Arts/Reading: Lincoln Center- Classical Theatre of Harlem); Does that Feel Good to you My Lark?: A Doll’s House Adaptation (Bushwick Starr reading/New Georges Audrey residency); CAFÉ (Workshop: Columbia University/Reading, The Kennedy Center). Almazan is the Artistic Director of La Lucha Arts dedicated to producing works in collaboration with social movements. TV Performance Credits: Law & Order: SVU, Limitless, and The Blacklist. Lecturer and Guest Lecturer: Marymount Manhattan College, Columbia University, Harvard University, New York University, The New School, SUNY Purchase, Carnegie Mellon, and Amherst College. Almazan is the President of the Board of Directors of The Independent Theatre Fund.

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Lucas Baisch

Lucas
Baisch

Website

Lucas Baisch is a Guatemalan-Mexican-American playwright and artist from San Francisco. His plays have been read and developed at The Goodman Theatre, The NNPN/Kennedy Center MFA Playwrights’ Workshop, Playwrights Horizons, Clubbed Thumb, Chicago Dramatists, Links Hall, SF Playground, etc. Full-length plays include: REFRIGERATOR (First Floor Theatre), On the Y-Axis (The Bushwick Starr Reading Series), Dry Swallow (Brown University), import speech_memory (Cutting Ball’s Variety Pack Festival), The Scavengers (DePaul University), A Measure of Normalcy (Gloucester Stage Company), and co-writing on The Arrow Cleans House (The Neo-Futurists). Lucas is a recipient of a 2020 Steinberg Playwright Award, the Kennedy Center’s 2020 KCACTF Latinx Playwriting Award, the 2021 Chesley/Bumbalo Playwriting Award, and the 2021 Princess Grace Award in Playwriting. He was a 21-22 Jerome Fellow through The Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis and a 21-22 Princess Grace Fellow at New Dramatists. Lucas has taught writing at Brown University, Rhode Island School of Design, Macalester College, and through the Chicago Public Schools. His plays have been published by Bloomsbury/Methuen Drama and Yale’s Theater Magazine. Outside of writing for theatre, his artwork has been presented at Elsewhere Museum, the Electronic Literature Organization, gallery no one, and the RISD Museum. He has held residencies through ACRE, Elsewhere Museum, Millay Arts, the Goodman Theatre’s 2016-17 Playwrights Unit, and as a 2018 Lambda Literary Playwriting Fellow. Lucas received his MFA in Playwriting from Brown University, where he studied under Lisa D’Amour and Julia Jarcho.

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Philip Dawkins

Philip
Dawkins

Website

Philip Dawkins is an educator with more than 20 years of experience in the classroom and a professional playwright whose plays have been performed all over the world. At the university level, Philip has taught playwriting fundamentals, playwriting for young audiences and young voices, Tiny Gothic, Playwriting Sequence, and Playwriting II at Northwestern University, DePaul University, Independence Community College, and Loyola University Chicago. As a teaching artist for Chicago Dramatists, Pegasus Players, Timeline Theatre, and others. Philip spent a decade in Chicago Public classrooms at every grade level, including ESL classes and programs for students on the Autism spectrum. As an international artist, Philip has traveled the country teaching his own Kung Fu Playwriting Course which integrates the teachings of Master Bruce Lee and Jeet Kun Do with the fundamentals of playwriting. Philip has also acted as a writing coach for several published authors, motivational speakers, and playwrights, and he has mentored and taught through multiple theaters and training programs across the country, including online. For four years, he also led the Artists Development Workshop for writers with and without disabilities at Chicago’s Victory Gardens Theater. PWC 300 will be Philip’s fifth time leading a class for the Playwrights’ Center, where he is a proud Affiliated Writer. Philip’s plays include Failure: A Love Story (Victory Gardens Theater), Le Switch (About Face Theatre, The Jungle), The Homosexuals (About Face Theater), The Burn (Steppenwolf for Young Audiences), Dr.Seuss’s The Sneetches, the Musical with composer David Mallamud and Spamtown, USA (both with Children’s Theater Company, Minneapolis), The Gentleman Caller (Raven Theatre, Chicago; Abingdon Theatre, NY), Charm (Northlight Theatre; MCC), Miss Marx: Or The Involuntary Side Effect of Living (Strawdog Theatre), and his solo play, The Happiest Place on Earth (Sideshow Theatre/Greenhouse Theater Center). He’s been a fellow at the Hawthornden Castle International Retreat for Writers in Scotland and the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire. Many of Philip’s plays are available through Dramatists Play Service, Playscripts, Inc., and Dramatic Publishing.

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Alexa Derman

Alexa
Derman

Website

Alexa Derman is a playwright and screenwriter from Jersey who writes about gender, genre, systems, and speculation. Her plays include PSYCHOPSYCHOTIC (Relentless Award Honorable Mention), GIRLISH (Fresh Ink), RESTORATION MASTER RESET (Cutting Ball in WAYS TO LEAVE A BODY), and I’LL BE IN MY HANUKKAH PALACE (sold-out at Ars Nova ANT Fest). Other honors and experiences include Orchard Project Audio Lab, nomination for the Cherry Lane mentor project and the Susan Smith Blackburn, and selection as a Playwrights Center Core Apprentice. She is currently under commission from Manhattan Theatre Club via the Sloan Foundation and was recently a staff writer for Netflix. BA from Yale in Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies; MFA from Brown in Writing for Performance, where she studied with Julia Jarcho and was a member of the Brown-RISD Game Developers. She also makes weird digital things.

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Catherine
Filloux

Website

Catherine Filloux is an award-winning playwright who has been writing about human rights and social justice for over twenty-five years. Her plays have been produced around the U.S. and internationally. Catherine has been honored with the 2019 Barry Lopez Visiting Writer in Ethics and Community Fellowship; the 2017 Otto René Castillo Award for Political Theatre; and the 2015 Planet Activist Award. Filloux is the librettist for four operas, produced nationally and internationally. Her new musical Welcome to the Big Dipper is a 2018 National Alliance for Musical Theatre finalist. Recent plays include White Savior at Pygmalion Productions in Salt Lake City, Utah; her web drama about deportation and children, “turning your body into a compass” live streamed by CultureHub, and “whatdoesfreemean?” produced in New York City by Nora’s Playhouse. Filloux’s plays have been widely published and anthologized. She received her MFA at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts’ Dramatic Writing Program and her French Baccalaureate in Philosophy, with Honors, in Toulon, France. She is a co-founder of Theatre Without Borders and the first Art & Peacebuilding Scholar at the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego, as well as an alumna of New Dramatists. Catherine has taught playwriting at many universities and colleges including Vassar College, Wesleyan University, and Bennington College. Filloux has served as a speaker/panelist at playwriting, human rights conferences, and organizations around the world.

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Kate Fodor

Kate
Fodor

Kate Fodor is a writer and Co-Executive Producer on a forthcoming Apple TV series (details still under wraps) as well as a writer and Supervising Producer on JULIA on HBO Max. She is also at work on a screenplay for HBO Max. Previous television writing credits include LIVING WITH YOURSELF on Netflix and multiple seasons of the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning series THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL on Amazon. Kate has written pilots for HBO, Starz, AMC and John Wells Productions. As a playwright, she has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a McKnight Fellow at the Playwrights Center in Minneapolis and a resident playwright at New Dramatists. Her plays have been awarded the Kennedy Center’s Roger L. Stevens Award, the National Theater Conference’s Barrie Stavis Award, a Joseph Jefferson Citation and an After Dark Award. A novel for young adults co-written with Laurie Petrou is forthcoming from Groundwood Books. 

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Marvin
González De León

Marvin González De León is a first-generation Mexican-American who writes plays that incorporate a myriad of genres—from sci fi to horror—anchored in the traditions of Latin American literature. His work has been produced and developed at Teatro Bravo, Arizona State University, Texas State University, Teatro del Pueblo, Round House Theatre, Page 73 Productions, The Playwrights Realm, and the Playwrights’ Center. He is the recipient of the 2022 Page 73 Playwriting Fellowship. He is also a Core Writer and a Jerome Fellow at the Playwrights’ Center, where he was previously awarded the McKnight Fellowship in Playwriting and the Many Voices Fellowship. He was a member of the Interstate 73 Writers Group at Page 73 Productions and was a Virtual Realm Mentee with The Playwrights Realm.

González De León received his MFA in Dramatic Writing in 2017 at Arizona State University. He teaches playwriting at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN.

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Christina
Ham

Website

Christina Ham was named one of “The Top 20 Most-Produced Playwrights of the 2018-19 Season” by American Theatre magazine. Her plays have been developed and produced both nationally and internationally with the Kennedy Center, Arena Stage, The Guthrie Theater, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, by Tony Award-winning producer Arielle Tepper Madover off-Broadway at Theater Row, and the Tokyo International Arts Festival among many others. Christina is a two-time recipient of a McKnight Fellowship in Playwriting and a Jerome Fellowship from the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, and a MacDowell Residency. She has received commissions from The Guthrie Theater, Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Kennedy Center among many others. Her plays are published by Dramatic Publishing, Heinemann, PlayScripts, Inc., Smith and Kraus, and Oberon Books. A graduate of the University of Southern California with an MFA in Playwriting from The UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television, she is a member of the Playwrights Union and The Kilroys, an advocacy group fighting for gender balance on the American stage. She has had the privilege of working for such television horror and science fiction genre auteurs as Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Nick Antosca, and Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy. She has been a staff writer, executive story editor, and producer on such streaming shows as The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Brand New Cherry Flavor, and Sweet Tooth, all for Netflix. She’s done the social horror series THEM for Amazon and most recently she was the Writer/Supervising Producer on the hit HBO Emmy Award-winning series Westworld. She currently has an overall deal with Universal Content Productions and has been tapped by Blumhouse to write a paranormal thriller directed by Academy Award winner John Ridley.

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Jessica Huang

Jessica
Huang

Website

Jessica Huang is a playwright and librettist whose work includes: Blended 和 (Harmony): The Kim Loo Sisters (with composer Jacinth Greywoode – World Premiere in spring 2024), The Paper Dreams of Harry Chin (available from Theatrical Rights Worldwide; History Theatre, Indiana Repertory Theatre, San Francisco Playhouse, New York Stage and Film Powerhouse Season, Barry and Bernice Stavis Award, Kilroy’s List), and Mother of Exiles (Venturous Award, NNPN Annual Showcase, Rosa Parks Playwriting Award, Paul Stephen Lim Playwriting Award, Kendeda Prize Finalist). Her audioplay Song of the Northwoods is now available on Audible. She is developing an original television show with WBTV. She is a Venturous Playwright Fellow at the Playwrights’ Center, and was the inaugural 4 Seasons Resident Playwright. She has received awards from the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, the National Theatre Conference, the Jerome Foundation, The Dramatists Guild, and The Bret Adams and Paul Reisch Foundation. She has developed work at Hedgebrook, The Hermitage, The MacDowell Colony, New Harmony Project, New York Stage and Film, and Space on Ryder Farm, among many others. She is a four-time Playwrights’ Center fellow, and has been a member of Ars Nova Play Group, Civilians R&D Group, Two River Theatre’s Emerging Writers Group and Page 73’s Interstate 73. She is a graduate of the Playwrights Program at Juilliard.

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Sofya
Levitsky-Weitz

Website

Sofya Levitsky-Weitz is a playwright and TV/film writer who splits her time between Brooklyn and Los Angeles. She has written for Hulu’s THE DROPOUT, FX’s THE BEAR, and GASLIT for Starz. Her play this party sucks (on the 2019 Kilroy’s List) was optioned by Mark Gordon Pictures for the stage and film/TV rights and will be commercially produced next year. Other plays include Cannabis Passover (The Playwrights’ Center Playlabs, 2021-2 finalist for the O’Neill Playwrights’ Conference), be mean to meGehinnom (semi-finalist for O’Neill Playwrights’ Conference, Playwrights’ Realm, and Princess Grace Award), and Intuitive Men. She was a 2018-2019 Jerome Fellow and is a current Core Writer at the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis. She is a fellow at the MacDowell Colony and has attended Barn Arts and TOFTE Lake. She was the recipient of the Penn State 2020 New Musical Initiative and her musical Nostalgia Night (composer: Matt McCollum) was produced in Winter 2022. She has worked on several movies with Michael Showalter including Fox Searchlight’s The Eyes of Tammy Faye. She got her MFA in Writing for the Screen & Stage from Northwestern University, where she serves on the Advisory Board, and is a member of EST/Youngblood.

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C.
Meaker

C. Meaker (she/they) is a playwright and screenwriter whose work often explores queerness, feminism, and the end of the world currently based in the Twin Cities. Growing up in Tennessee, they were naturally obsessed with the horrific and grotesque, which often finds its way into the strange worlds they create whether it’s an unexpected banjo riff as harbinger of death, a screeching banshee that sounds like church bells, or collapsing belief systems ripping through a body. Meaker’s plays have been performed and developed across the United States, including the Kennedy Center and National New Play Network, Seattle Repertory Theatre, San Francisco Playhouse, Annex Theatre in Seattle, About Face in Chicago and Macha Monkey in Seattle. They are a former Jerome Fellow at the Playwrights’ Center, an alumna of Seattle Repertory Theatre’s Writers Group, and former Walter E. Dakin Fellow at Sewanee Writers’ Conference. They are a graduate of Knox College and received an MFA in Playwriting from University of Iowa’s Playwrights Workshop. They currently teach queer theater and playwriting around the Twin Cities. In their spare time, they obsessively research monster and zombie theory, DM Dungeons and Dragons, and drink a lot of tea while reading cozy mysteries.

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Andrew Saito

Andrew
Saito

Andrew Saito is an internationalist playwright who focuses on Indigenous, intersectional and cross-racial stories, hybridity, and struggles against colonialism and its long-lingering footprints. He has worked with Peru’s legendary theater collective Grupo Cultural Yuyachkani, Cuba’s Conjunto Cultural Korimakao, and the Asociación Xajooj Tun in Rabinal, Guatemala, culture bearers of the Rabinal Achi, named intangible cultural patrimony of humanity by UNESCO. He holds an MFA from the Iowa Playwrights Workshop, and was a Fulbright Scholar in Papua New Guinea. From 2013 to 2016, he was Andrew W. Mellon Resident Playwright at the Cutting Ball Theater, which produced his plays Krispy Kritters in the Scarlett Night, Mount Misery, and his translation of Calderón de la Barca’s Life is a Dream. FaultLine Theater produced Stegosaurus (or) Three Cheers for Climate Change. His play Men of Rab’inal, co-created with Lakin Valdez, was commissioned and presented at La Peña Cultural Center and El Teatro Campesino. AlterTheater and the Parsnip Ship co-produced an audio version of his TYA play Br’er Peach. He has developed work with Victory Gardens, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Crowded Fire, East West Players, the Playwrights Center of Minneapolis, Mu Performing Arts, Brava Theater, Playwrights Foundation, and Just Theater. He is an Assistant Professor of Applied Theatre at SUNY Purchase, was a member of the ViacomCBS 2020-21 Writers Mentoring Program, and a staff writer on Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, streaming on Peacock. Andrew’s passionate about learning languages, cultural exchange, cooking, Kung Fu, and underwater encounters with octopuses and manta rays. He is a climate activist and encourages you to do the same.

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Tori
Sampson

Tori Sampson a native of Boston, MA is proud to be from “The City of Champions” and even prouder to be a human rights activist and Black Woman storyteller. By introducing her daughter to the genius that was Carroll O’Connor, Tori’s mother opened her eyes to the art and power of comedy for “goodness sake”. And it was on and poppin’ from there. Today, Tori focuses her imagination on creating comedies for the stage. Her plays include If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must be a Muhfucka (Playwrights Horizons, 2019), This Land Was Made (Vineyard Theatre, 2018), and Cadillac Crew (Yale Repertory Theater, 2019). Her plays have been developed at Great Plains Theatre Conference, Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s The Ground Floor residency program, Victory Garden’s IGNITION Festival of New Plays, Playwrights Foundation, Ubuntu Festival and Vineyard Theater. Tori is a 2017–18 Playwright’s Center Jerome Fellow and a 2018-19 Mcknight Fellow. Two of her plays appeared on the 2017 Kilroys List. Her awards and honors include the 2016 Relentless Award, Honorable Mention; the 2016 Paula Vogel Award in Playwriting from The Kennedy Center; the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, Second Place; the Alliance Theater’s 2017 Kendeda Prize, Finalist; the 2018 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, Finalist. Tori is currently working on commissions from Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre, and Atlantic Theater Company. Tori is currently a writer for Hunters on Amazon Prime, and she has developed shows for HBO. She holds a BS in sociology from Ball State University and an MFA in playwriting from Yale School of Drama.

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James Anthony
Tyler

James Anthony Tyler is the recipient of the 3rd Annual Horton Foote Playwriting Award, an inaugural playwright to receive a commission from Audible, and a 2016 Theatre Masters Visionary Playwrights Award recipient. His plays include Some Old Black Man (Berkshire Playwrights Lab at St. James Place and 59E59 Theaters, and a University Musical Society filmed production), All We Need Is Us (Keen Company, currently streaming on all podcast platforms) hop thA A (currently streaming on Audible), Artney Jackson (World Premiere at Williamstown Theatre Festival, 2018 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award), and Dolphins and Sharks (LAByrinth Theater Company and Finborough Theatre in London). He’s a 2021/2018 MacDowell Fellow, a 2021 Hermitage Artist Resident, a 2018 Djerassi Fellow, 2018-2019 Amoralists Wright Club Playwright, 2017-2018 Nashville Rep Ingram New Works Playwright, 2016-2017 Ars Nova Play Group Resident, 2016 Working Farm Playwrights Group Resident at SPACE on Ryder Farm, 2015-2016 Playwrights’ Center’s Many Voices Fellow, 2014-2015 Dramatists Guild Fellow, and he was a member of Harlem’s Emerging Black Playwrights Group. He has a MFA in Film from Howard University and a MFA in Dramatic Writing from New York University. He is also a graduate of The Juilliard School’s Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program, and he was the Staff Writer for the OWN Network show “Cherish the Day” created by Ava DuVernay. Currently he is in the writers room for a new Apple Drama Series starring a two-time Academy Award nominated actress.

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Josh Wilder

Josh
Wilder

Website

Josh Wilder is an award-winning playwright and producer. His world premiere plays have been commissioned or produced across the U.S. and U.K, including at Yale Repertory Theatre, The Kennedy Center in Washington (D.C.), Play On!,The Fire This Time Festival, ,O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, PlayPenn, Company One Theatre, and InterAct Theatre Company. He has been in residence at the Royal Court Theatre and Sundance at UCross, and served as Co-Artistic Director at the Yale Cabaret as and Co-Founder/Producer of the New Griots Black Arts Festival. His many awards and honors include: the ASCAP Cole Porter Prize, the Lorraine Hansberry Award, L.A. New Play Prize, and the Rosa Parks Award. Wilder was the first national recipient of the Jerome Many Voices Fellowship at The Playwrights’ Center.

Wilder has previously taught at the National Theatre Institute, Duke University, and Carnegie Mellon University. Based in L.A., he now teaches the next generation of writers in his online training program, The Playwrights Workshop.

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Sheri
Wilner

Sheri Wilner is an award-winning playwright who has been working in the theatre for over twenty-five years. Her plays include Kingdom City, Father Joy, Bake Off, Relative Strangers, Labor Day, Joan of Arkansas, The End, A Tall Order and Hunger, and have been performed and developed at such major theatres as the Guthrie Theater, Actors Theatre of Louisville, La Jolla Playhouse, The Old Globe, Williamstown Theatre Festival, the O’Neill Playwrights’ Conference, Signature Theatre (D.C.) and the Old Vic/New Voices in London. Her work has been widely anthologized and published by Dramatists Play Service, Dramatic Publishing Company, Samuel French and Playscripts.com, leading to over five hundred productions of her plays across the United States as well as in Australia, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Japan, United Kingdom and India. Her playwriting awards include a Howard Foundation Fellowship in Playwriting, a Bush Artist Fellowship and two Playwrights’ Center Jerome Fellowships. In addition to teaching for the Playwrights’ Center, she is also an Adjunct Professor for NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts’ Dramatic Writing Program and is on the faculty of the Dramatists Guild Institute, where she also serves as the DGI’s Certificate Program Advisor. She has also twice been a Master Playwright for the Miami-Dade Department of Cultural Affairs’ Playwright Development Program and was the Monan Professor in Theatre Arts at Boston College, the Fred Coe Visiting Playwright-in-Residence at Vanderbilt University and a visiting Assistant Professor in Playwriting at Florida State University’s MFA Dramatic Writing Program. A graduate of Cornell and Columbia University, she lives in New York City.

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01
What courses do you offer?
  • Playwriting (PWC 300) – a general playwriting workshop for students at any stage of their development
  • Topics in Playwriting (PWC 310) – a playwriting course more specifically focused on topics of interest to students and instructors; topics so far have included Expanding Theatrical Possibilities Through Genre Writing, Queering the Page, Human Rights and Social Justice, and Excavating Your “Stuff.”
  • Writing for Television (PWC 320) – a hands-on television-writing course taught by playwrights working actively in TV writers’ rooms
  • Writing for Digital Media (PWC 330) – a practice-based course that explores the intersection of digital media and theatrical storytelling; areas of focus may include games, apps, audio/radio performance, installation, immersive performance, and live participatory online experiences
  • Topics in Writing for Screen and Stage (PWC 510) – a graduate-level course focused on rotating topics in writing for theater, television, film, or digital media; may be taken as a more advanced version of our 300-level courses, or as a stand-alone grad course

These courses have all been approved by Augsburg University. Each academic year, we make careful decisions about which of our courses to offer and how many sections of each. Right now, we are offering six classes per year, but that number may shift and change in years to come.

02
Who teaches the courses?

Playwrights’ Center Fellows and Core Writers and Affiliated Writers teach and mentor the next generation of playwrights in these courses. The program provides an opportunity for students to connect deeply with these leading writers in the field who are rarely able to teach at students’ own universities. The instructors themselves go through a selection process and receive ongoing teaching support from Playwrights’ Center staff throughout the year.

03
Who are these courses for?

These courses are for writers who are interested in an in-depth, semester-long, college-style experience. They’re designed to match the rigor and intensity of an upper-division undergraduate or first/second year graduate course, and serve students with a passion for writing, an eagerness to learn from professional writers all around the country, an interest in building community with peers, and a desire to tell stories on stage and in other related fields.  

04
Are there any prerequisites for the courses?

The only official academic prerequisite is a basic effective writing/composition course or equivalent experience, usually completed by the first semester of a student’s first year in college or senior year in high school.

05
Can I take one of these courses even if I’m not currently enrolled at a university?

Yes! Please do! We also have a wealth of other non-accredited short- and long-term classes offered at Playwrights’ Center that may be a better fit for you if you’re not able to commit to a fifteen-week course. Please reach out to Dr. Zoë Rodine, Director of University Programs and Partnerships, at zoer@pwcenter.org or 612-547-5743 if you have questions about which of our education opportunities is best for you.

06
How large are the classes?

Classes are capped at 15 so that all writers get the individualized attention they need and can create meaningful community with each other.

07
How much does a Playwrights’ Center University Course cost?

The full tuition for a student paying out-of-pocket is $2,200 per course. However, you will not pay this amount if it is beyond your financial means. We charge students on a sliding scale based on financial circumstances, and we work closely with you to determine a tuition amount and/or payment plan that is equitable. If you are an independent writer or you attend a school without a tuition agreement, after you have been accepted to one of our courses, you will be provided with an Equitable Tuition Form in the application that helps staff determine your individual tuition amount.

If you are currently enrolled in a college or university, Playwrights’ Center’s first step will always be to work with faculty and administrators at your home school to explore avenues for funding or pathways for tuition transfer that do not require you to pay out of pocket or that significantly reduce the cost of tuition. These tuition agreements are customized for each school, and we are committed to creating as many partnerships with colleges and universities as we can. When a tuition agreement is developed between a student’s home institution and Playwrights’ Center, tuition will be determined based on Augsburg’s undergraduate and/or graduate tuition, as well as that university’s tuition rates and other pertinent information. 

08
When are the courses offered?

Courses are offered every fall, spring, and summer semester. Start and end dates follow Augsburg University’s academic calendar for fall (late August through mid-December) and spring (mid-January through early May), though the summer session is offered as a full-credit intensive (early June – mid August).

09
When do the classes meet? Are they synchronous or asynchronous?

Right now, almost all of our courses meet synchronously for 15 weeks for a total of three hours per week, usually for one 3-hour block on a weekend day or weekday evening. We use Zoom for synchronous class meetings and Google Classroom for other asynchronous activities. In rare cases, courses might meet synchronously for fewer than three hours a week, and the rest of the hours are spent in asynchronous instruction through Google Classroom and smaller group meetings. Read on for more information about how the synchronous workshops are scheduled.

10
How do I apply?

Students apply with this simple form which asks for contact information and a brief questionnaire about your writing experience and reasons for applying. You will also sign off that you’ve read our values statement and other course policies. If you’re taking the course for credit, you’ll be asked to provide a copy of your unofficial transcript (for college-level courses you’ve completed). Once you submit your application, you’ll have a short Zoom meeting/interview with the Director of University Programs and Partnerships to discuss your interest in the class, the course content, scheduling process, credit transfer, and next steps in the application. This will also be an opportunity to ask any questions you may have.

Acceptance into the course comes after this meeting. Once you’ve been accepted, you’ll be given access to the course scheduling survey (see below), the Financial Aid Form as applicable, as well as basic questions about credit transfer and billing. You are always welcome to ask questions about tuition earlier in the process, but we want to make sure you know your acceptance to a course is not dependent on your ability to pay.

11
How does course scheduling work?

Once your application is reviewed and accepted, you will get access to a Google survey in which you will indicate your availability and schedule constraints for the semester. Playwrights’ Center staff then work to create synchronous workshop times that accommodate as many students’ schedules as possible, and we may be in touch with you personally at this point. Our goal is to create a cohort of students first and then use their availability to set meeting times. This is a complex process, so it requires collaboration and communication from everyone involved.

12
How do I enroll?

Once you are accepted into the course, you will officially ‘commit’ to the class once we’ve completed all aspects of the application (Financial Aid, scheduling form, etc). If you’re seeking credit, Augsburg staff will enroll you in the course, and Playwrights’ Center staff will continue to be in touch both with you and, when applicable, with your home institution. Because these courses are intimate and our approach is very hands-on, we are always here to help you through this whole process and answer any questions you may have. After the course is over at the end of the semester, Augsburg will send the transcripted academic credit to your home university based on the information you filled out in your initial application.

13
What is the Playwrights’ Center’s relationship to Augsburg University?

Augsburg is the accrediting academic institution for Playwrights’ Center. Because Playwrights’ Center can’t issue college credit on its own without a university partner, Augsburg will process transcripts and other academic paperwork. But the Playwrights’ Center hires and pays instructors and holds primary responsibility for the curriculum.  

14
I’d like my university to have a more formal partnership with Playwrights’ Center so students here can have greater access to your courses. How does that happen?

Playwrights’ Center works directly with each interested university to create a formal affiliation agreement whenever possible. This affiliation agreement (customized for each school) simply ensures there is a standard pathway for students to register and for tuition to be transferred. The agreement is generally negotiated in conversations with a dean’s office, an off-campus study office, the registrar’s office, and/or the financial aid office at any given school. Additionally, academic departments can decide whether our courses may support their program of study and count towards a major or minor. All parts of a partnership can be reflected in an affiliation agreement based on each school’s needs. We consider faculty in theater and creative writing departments key partners in this program and will be in ongoing contact with them to ensure our courses are meeting curricular needs and supplementing, never replacing, what they offer. If you’d like to discuss any of this further, please reach out to Zoë Rodine, Director of University Programs and Partnerships, at zoer@pwcenter.org or 612-547-5743.

15
I’m a professor or administrator, and I’m concerned about sending tuition off campus.

That’s totally understandable in our current academic climate. But because we are building a cohort of student writers from all over the country, this program can only accommodate one or two students from any given school at a time—and, even then, only for one course per student; at most that’s eight credits of tuition from an entire university for a semester. View this program as a mini-study away experience or an independent study with an off-site instructor. We’ve deliberately designed our courses to complement, rather than compete with, offerings at your school—and to give your students an opportunity they would not be able to get elsewhere. 

16
Our university already offers playwriting courses. What do you provide that’s different?

Playwrights’ Center will regularly hire leading writers in theater, TV, and other media to teach these courses—artists working actively in their fields who would rarely be able to teach at one university for an entire semester. We also offer specifically-themed playwriting courses on topics you may not have in your standard curriculum. And beyond playwriting courses, your students could study writing for television or digital media. You might even have a student who has already taken every creative writing course you offer and still wants more, but you can’t accommodate that request for just one student. We can. Not every course we offer will be right for your school, but we’re here to support you and your specific needs with an array of options.

17
My school is on the trimester system and/or our courses are 3 credits (or 1). How will that work if your undergrad courses are 4 credits on a semester system?

We will figure out an arrangement that works for you and your university. Our partners at Augsburg have lots of experience navigating situations like these, and we have always figured out how to represent credit appropriately.   

18
Who should I contact if I have other questions?

Please get in touch with Director of University Programs and Partnerships, Dr. Zoë Rodine, at zoer@pwcenter.org or 612-547-5743. She’s a former associate professor herself, so she can help you navigate many parts of this process.