What We Do

Your guide to benefits of being a member!

Bi-weekly workshops

The basic Playwrights Forum sessions meet every other week. Workshop meetings may be offered on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays evenings for 2-1/2 hours each at various locations within the metropolitan area; check the newsletter for current offerings, days and times. For Forum 1 and Forum 2 members.

Readings

Readings are arranged through your dramaturg and/or Administrator. They are reserved for Forum 2 and advanced Forum 1 members. Plays which have usually been developed within the Forum sessions. Associate Members are encouraged to attend any reading.

Workshop Reading Sessions

Cold readings of members’ plays, often early or rough drafts, by 5-8 actors. Usually a weekend day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

In-House Readings

A rehearsed (4-6 hours) reading of a new work at an early draft, often performed at a non-theatre site. Playwriting colleagues (and a few friends) are invited, for the purpose of receiving selected professional feedback. The reading is followed by a guided discussion between playwright, dramaturg, director, actors and colleagues.

Public Readings

A more formal reading during which the playwright and director work through 1 or 2 rehearsals (6-10 hours) preparing the publicly attended presentation. The performance is usually at a theater site and a modest admission is charged. The dramaturg and playwright consider the following options for what follows the reading: (1) guided discussion withdirector, some of the actors, with the audience; (2) discussion with colleagues, director, actors, dramaturg only; (3) no discussion.

Production Observerships

This is an occasional activity subject to the interest of Forum members and the availability of cooperating theaters. It is designed to give the playwright an opportunity to observe parts of the entire rehearsal process at one of Washington DC’s leading theaters (Round House, Woolly Mammoth, Folger). Arranged through Forum Administrator, and individualized according to the needs and wishes of the cooperating theatre. They are open only to Forum members.

Freetix Program

Free tickets to theatre productions, often dress rehearsals or preview performances, in the Washington metropolitan area are made available to all Forum and Associate members, through our Assistant Administrator (as indicated in your current Newsletter). Listings are published in each Newsletter; members need only call our Assistant for those and other tickets as they are made available. All free tickets are subject to the discretion of the participating theater and are not available to all performances. Tickets are usually limited to 1 or 2 per member per performance. They are available on a first come-first served basis. Sometimes tickets are not available until a day or two before the performance.

Guest Lecture Series

From time to time, theater professionals from around the country are invited to speak on various topics of interest to playwrights. They are usually held on a weekend day and are open to all Forum and Associate members (for a reduced fee) as well as non-members. Previous guests have included Bruce Graham, oft-published and produced playwright and screenwriter, and Rena Down, television scriptwriter currently on the faculty of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Special Classes

Offered occasionally, these are specialized classes focused upon a specific topic, usually with a limited enrollment, and consisting of six weekly meetings and a follow-up session. Past classes have included a Re-Writes Workshop and an Acting for Playwrights Workshop. Open to any Forum or Associate member.

Playwrights Read Playwrights

Occasional get-togethers on Saturday mornings or Monday evenings at one member’s home, in which Forum and Associate members (who may bring a guest/spouse/friend) are invited to share the food, while reading aloud a play from the English-language repertoire. We often have a guest or two from the theatre community – actors, producers, directors. Plays read have included ones by Mamet, Shepard, Coward, August Wilson, Ayckbourn, and many others. It’s free, informal and a lot of fun.

Mentor Program

This is a newly evolving program designed to help selected Forum 2 members further the crafting of their work by pairing a playwright with an outstanding director from the Washington Theater Community for an intensive 3-4 months of meetings to work on a specific play. It includes one or more readings as part of the process. Mentors currently include Round House Theatre’s Artistic Director Jerry Whiddon, ShenanArts’ Robert Graham Small, award-nominated director Nick Olcott, and Woolly Mammoth’s Artistic Director Howard Schalwitz.

Publications

Five volumes have been published of plays written by members – full-lengths, one-acts, and “short shorts” – selected by panels of outstanding theatre professionals. These are distributed to over 275 theatres around the country, to introduce them to the plays and playwrights. Future volumes will continue to be opportunities for active Forum 1 and Forum 2 members regarding plays written in those workshops.

Newsletter

Published 6 times a year, it includes – among other things – our currentschedule of workshop sessions, in-house and public readings; Freetix opportunities; instructions on various enrollments (the Forum, Special Classes, etc.); what other members are up to; and a Contest supplement incorporating three directories and more. It is sent to all Forum and Associate Members.

Almost-Annual Playwrights’ Conference

Held the September weekend following Labor Day, the conference has grown in the last ten years to include panels, workshops and demonstrations in the craft and marketing of plays. Guests from within the Washington Theatre Community (such as playwrights Ken Ludwig and Debbie Pryor, screenwriter Mark Stein, producers Howard Schalwitz and Jerry Whiddon,) and outside (such as Terrance McNally, playwright Tim Kelly, Dramatists Guild President Dana Singer) are invited to participate to help further artistic insight and growth in the theater. It is a day-long event, and includes food for all guests and participants. A small admission is charged. It is open to the general public (Forum members are given a substantial discount.)

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