Friday, December 12, 2014

PlayGround Midwinter/Spring 2015 Playwriting Classes!

If you're an aspiring or emerging playwright or even just a die-hard theatre enthusiast interested in learning how to tap into your own creativity and expand your playwriting horizons, you'll want to check out the lineup for PlayGround’s 2015 Midwinter/Spring playwriting classes (Intensives and PlayLabs), kicking off Monday, January 5 at the PlayGround PlaySpace (BART-accessible and plenty of free parking). 

Monday Night Intensives are weekly three-hour classes, led by leading playwrights and other members of the Bay Area theatre community, addressing various aspects of playwriting craft. All Intensives take place at the PlaySpace on select Mondays, 7pm-10pm. Advance registration is required and is $50 per individual class with a Pick-4 subscription for $160 (20% savings), a Pick-6 subscription for $210 (30% savings) and an 8-class subscription for $240 (40% savings).

Our new Tuesday PlayLab Master Class series offers a more hands-on and deeper investigation of class material. In 2015, we’ll offer an 8-week PlayLab with PlayGround Artistic Director Jim Kleinmann (1/27-3/17) and a 6-week PlayLab with Anthony Clarvoe (3/24-4/28). All PlayLab sessions take place in the PlaySpace on consecutive Tuesdays, 7pm-10pm. Advance registration is required and early-bird discounts are available.

For complete class descriptions and schedule, see below or visit To register for the Monday Night Intensives and/or PlayLabs, visit


PlayLab: Master Class with Jim Kleinmann
1/27, 2/3, 2/10, 2/17, 2/24, 3/3, 3/10, 3/17
$400 ($240 Early-Bird – 40% discount)

This eight-session workshop, led by PlayGround Artistic Director Jim Kleinmann, explores aspects of playwriting through the lens of the short form and an examination of best practices from twenty years of PlayGround. Sessions will focus on setup, creating characters, dialogue, stage business, conflict/stakes, mapping, and endings. Students will write material each week, to be examined aloud at the following session.

PlayLab: Master Class with Anthony Clarvoe
3/24, 3/31, 4/7, 4/14, 4/21, 4/28
$300 ($240 Early-Bird – 20% discount)

This six-session workshop, led by award-winning playwright and master teacher Anthony Clarvoe (Pick Up Ax, The Living, Our Practical Heaven), will enable you to further explore in greater depth the art and craft of playwriting. Some experience in theater practice, dramatic writing (straight plays, screenplays, or musicals), or writing in other genres strongly encouraged. Get the tools to finish that play! Shop talks, targeted writing exercises, and discussions will be driven by your questions and needs. The final session will include readings of student work and facilitated feedback.


2/2: Adaptations with Jon Tracy2/9: Triggers, Hooks and Block-busters with Peter Sinn Nachtrieb
3/2: Ten-Minute Play Tips & Tricks with Aaron Loeb
3/9: From Stage to Screen: Screenplay Writing for Playwrights with Amy Glazer
4/6: Writing with an Eye for Staging & Physicality with Mark Jackson
4/13: Stealing from Aristotle: Pity, Fear, and Climactic Catharsis with Lauren Gunderson

Intensive: $50 per session
Pic 2: $90 (10% savings)
Pick 4: $160 (20% savings)
Pick 6-Session Subscription: $210 (30% savings)

Monday, February 2
Adaptations with Jon Tracy
There is nothing new in art except talent.” –Anton Chekhov.  Join PlayGround Resident Director and frequent adapter Jon Tracy on adaptations and how to reimagine classic stories and characters.

Monday, February 9
Triggers, Hooks and Block-busters with Peter Sinn Nachtrieb
How do we spark new work, start new scenes, get them moving, and bust out of a moments where we get stuck.  A group collective brainstorming and exploration where hopefully we’ll emerge from the class with a bunch of new ideas for material as well as new techniques to help us get out of trouble and get the writing started and keep it going.

Monday, March 2
Ten-Minute Play Tips & Tricks with Aaron Loeb
Join seven-time Best of PlayGround participant and 2013 Glickman Award winner Aaron Loeb (Ideation) for this three-hour intensive on the short play.

Monday, March 9
From Stage to Screen: Screenplay Writing for Playwrights with Amy Glazer
Join veteran Bay Area director/filmmaker Amy Glazer for this exploration of how to adapt stage plays to the screen. A professor of film and theatre at San Jose State University, Amy made her feature film debut in 2006 with Drifting Elegant based on Stephen Belber's play of the same name and in 2011 produced her second feature, Seducing Charlie Barker, based on Theresa Rebeck's play The Scene. This class is strongly recommended for those interested in submitting for the PlayGround Film Festival. 

Monday, April 6
Writing with an Eye for Staging & Physicality with Mark Jackson 
A play is at once heard by an audience and seen by spectators. How might a playwright write for both? Shakespeare had virtually no stage directions, allowing his dialogue to paint the action. In recent decades playwrights have been given to stage directions like “a sunflower bursts from the floor and grows above their heads” to prompt their collaborators toward visual storytelling. In this class we’ll look at a variety of examples of what a playwright might write on the page to tell a theatrical story that’s both heard and seen on the stage. 

Monday, April 13
Stealing from Aristotle: Pity, Fear, and Climactic Catharsis with Lauren Gunderson
We’ll explore Aristotle's concept of "pity and fear" and catharsis as a way to keep the stakes and climax of a play high, vibrant and riveting. This will be an exploration not just of tragedy but of comedy and "dramady" too. All levels of writers are welcome to apply these ideas to create powerful plays that satisfy and move audiences.

About the Faculty

Anthony Clarvoe is an award-winning playwright and acclaimed teacher. His adaptations include The Brothers Karamazov (LA Drama Critics Circle and Garland Awards), City of Light (which sold out its extended run at Studio Arena Theatre), translations of Ibsen and Camus, and most recently Gizmo, inspired by Capek’s R.U.R. and Sinclair’s The Jungle, premiered last season at Pennsylvania Center Stage and in Cutting Ball Theater’s Risk Is This festival.

Amy Glazer has directed numerous World, American and West Coast premieres. Recent productions include Seminar by Theresa Rebeck, as well as Becky Shaw, Tigers Be Still, Harper Regan, Animals Out of Paper, Shining City, and The Scene at San Francisco Playhouse where she is the Associate Artistic Director. For Magic Theatre her work included Sam Shepard's The God Of Hell, Rebecca Gilman's The Crowd You're In With, The Sweetest Swing in Baseball, Blue Surge and The American in Me, Steven Belber's Drifting Elegant and Tape, and Barry Gifford's Wyoming. For Marin Theatre Company Amy has directed What The Butler Saw, Frozen, Displaced, Life x 3, My Old Lady, The Music Lesson, Misalliance, Candida and Indiscretions. She has also directed plays for Eureka Theatre, TheatreWorks, SJ Stage Company and the Assembly Theatre at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. Also a filmmaker, Amy has directed Ball Lightning by Barry Gifford, Drifting Elegant by Steven Belber and Seducing Charlie Barker by Theresa Rebeck, both available on VOD, Netflix and Amazon. All three films were developed from plays she previously directed. Amy Glazer is a theatre and film professor at San Jose State University. SF Chronicle Interview - "Amy Glazer Finds Niche by Turning Plays into Movies"

An award-winning playwright living in San Francisco, Lauren Gunderson has been produced and developed at companies across the US, including Berkeley Rep, Marin Theatre, Crowded Fire Theater, Impact Theatre, Magic Theatre, SF Playhouse, Shotgun Players, TheatreWorks, the Kennedy Center, South Coast Rep, the O’Neill, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Actors Express Theatre in Atlanta, and Second Stage Theatre and Lark Play Development Center in New York City. She is a Playwright in Residence at The Playwrights Foundation.

Mark Jackson is a playwright, director, and performer whose work has been seen throughout the Bay Area, as well as Denver, Washington D.C., and internationally at Arts International Festival IV (Japan), Edinburgh Festival Fringe (UK), Deutsches Theater Berlin and English Theatre Berlin (Germany). Two collections of his plays have been published by EXIT Press. More at

Jim Kleinmann co-founded PlayGround in 1994 and has served as Artistic Director since 1996.  For PlayGround, he has provided artistic and administrative leadership for the past twenty seasons, developing PlayGround’s unique array of new playwright and new play incubator programs, including Monday Night PlayGround, the Best of PlayGround Festival, the full-length play Commissioning Initiative, the New Play Production Fund, and most recently the PlayGround Film Festival.  He has co-produced the world premieres of more than a dozen plays by Bay Area writers, including most recently Katie May’s Manic Pixie Dream Girl, Evelyn Jean Pine’s First and Diane Sampson’s Sleeping Cutie. He is a veteran arts administrator with more than twenty-five years of experience, including stints leading Traveling Jewish Theatre, Smuin Ballet and Berkeley Symphony, and received his MFA from the Yale School of Drama.

Aaron Loeb is a playwright and video game maker. His work has been extensively produced by PlayGround and other theaters around the country. He won the 2013 Glickman Award for his play Ideation, premiered at SF Playhouse. His PlayGround-commissioned full-length plays First Person Shooter and Abraham Lincoln’s Big Gay Dance Party also premiered at SF Playhouse and subsequently around the country and his play, Blastosphere, co-written with Geetha Reddy, premiered at CentralWorks.

Peter Sinn Nachtrieb is a San Francisco-based playwright whose works include boom (TCG's most-produced play 2009-10), T.I.C. (Trenchcoat In Common), Hunter Gatherers (2007 ATCA/Steinberg New Play Award, 2007 Will Glickman Prize), Colorado, Multiplex and, his most recent work, The Totalitarians, an NNPN rolling world premiere currently running at Z Space. His work has been seen Off-Broadway and at theaters across the country including at Ars Nova, SPF, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Seattle Repertory, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Cleveland Public Theatre, Brown/Trinity Playwrights Rep, Wellfleet Harbor Actor's Theatre, Dad's Garage, and in the Bay Area at Encore Theatre, Killing My Lobster, Marin Theatre Company, Impact Theatre, and The Bay Area Playwrights Festival. He is under commission from South Coast Repertory and American Conservatory Theater, and is a Resident Playwright at the Playwrights Foundation, San Francisco. He holds a degree in Theater and Biology from Brown and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. He likes to promote himself online at

Jon Tracy works as a director, playwright, designer and educator with such companies as Shotgun Players, San Francisco Playhouse, Magic Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, American Conservatory Theatre, and Aurora Theatre, among others, and is a PlayGround Company Member. His work frequently involves adaptation, both as a writer and a director.


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