Writing the Issue-Based Play
A Master Class with Sheri Wilner
Join Boston College Playwriting Professor and PlayPenn Dramaturg Sheri Wilner for a weekend Master Class focusing on creating new work around a specific social or political issue that is important to you.
"Sheri was a wonderful instructor. Organized yet flexible, kind, fun, encouraging, and with lots of great material, insights and exercises to offer." -Pam
"Taking a class with PlayPenn not only gives you the chance to work with incredible teachers but also provides the opportunity to learn from, collaborate with, and build community with other Philadelphia writers." -Tom
"PlayPenn classes are conducted on a professional level by people working in the business. Enjoyable, practical, intelligent and provocative." -Jen
Perfect for writers who have previously written at least one play (short or full-length). If you've never written a play before, check out our Playwriting 101 course before taking Sheri's Master Class.
These days it’s nearly impossible to go online, watch TV, pick up a newspaper, or scroll through your Facebook news feed without becoming livid, terrified or despondent. Our feelings about such issues as the Trump Presidency; the Supreme Court; women, gay and transgendered rights; gun control; immigration reform; racial inequality; gender bias and countless other topics give rise to the same intense emotions that are not only embedded in great plays but have also brought forth such mobilizing works as The Laramie Project, Hamilton and The Normal Heart.
In this master class, through writing exercises, workshopping of scenes, assigned readings, and classroom discussion, we’ll explore why specific news stories, issues, or conflicts evoke strong emotions in us; discover our personal connection to the issue; investigate the motivations and emotions underneath our opponents’ opinions; and, ultimately learn how to transform our knee-jerk emotional responses into engaging works for the theatre that foster the kind of constructive and complex conversation these important issues deserve.
Sheri Wilner's popular plays, Kingdom City and Bake Off, both evolved from her personal response to newspaper articles.
Please read prior to class: We will send you two full-length plays to read prior to class so that we can dive right into writing and discussion.
Please bring to class: Three newspaper articles (blog posts, magazine articles, or the like) that that you might like to use as source material for your piece. They should all be articles that create an intense and visceral emotional reaction. Also, please bring something to write with and on (computers are fine but bring them fully charged as the room has few outlets).
DATES/TIMES: July 22 and 23 from 1-5pm (ET)
All of our classes have limited seating to insure individual attention.
WHERE: The Drake, 15th and Spruce, Center City, Philadelphia (http://www.interacttheatre.org/plan-your-visit/)
BIO: Sheri Wilner recently co-wrote the libretto for the musical, Cake Off (based on her ten-minute Heideman award-winning play Bake Off), which was produced by the Signature Theatre in Washington, D.C.; workshopped at the Old Globe in San Diego; and produced by the . Her plays, which include KIngdom City, Relative Strangers and Father Joy have been presented at major regional and national theatres including the Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, the Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference, the Guthrie Theater, Boston Theatre Marathon, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and The Women’s Project. Also a playwriting teacher and resident artist, Sheri is currently the DIrector of the Dramatists Guild Fellows Program; recently completed a year-long residency at Boston College as the Rev. J. Donald Monan S.J. Professor of Theatre Arts; and has taught or conducted workshops at such universities and theatres, as Florida State University, Vanderbilt University, University of Minnesota/Guthrie BFA Program, Primary Stages/ESPA and Washington College.
(Pictured: Sheri's 2015 world premiere production of her new musical Cake Off at Signature Theatre.)
SPECIAL OFFER: THE PHILLY SUN PACKAGE - SAVE $50! Join us in Philadelphia for a full weekend on For more information about The Philly Sun Package, click here: PHILLY SUN.and take 3 unique in-person workshops for only $275 - a savings of $50 - if you register by .
In very extreme circumstances, we may need to cancel a class for reasons beyond our control and will offer full refunds. Otherwise, classes are non-refundable.