Chicago Dramatists offers free classes as part of our continued commitment to stand alongside those fighting for social justice and against inequality. In accordance with the instructors' vision for this course, classes will be open to students of diverse, multicultural backgrounds, including students who identify as BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, those who are Deaf/disabled, and folks who are committed as allies, with top preference given to underrepresented voices. All students (accepted via an application process) took the classes free of charge while we make sure to continue to pay all of our instructors.
Donations to this program help support teachers salaries, artist fees for readings (actors and directors), and staff time for organizing and promoting related events.
Please see a description of this year's classes below:
Self Work for White Allies (Feb 22 - Apr 05) - These weekly learning sessions share tools created by United to End Racism. These free, open-source tools help people of all different backgrounds recover from the psychological effects of growing up in a white supremacist culture. UER work is done by people of all cultural backgrounds, and it is suggested to do in affinity groups– or groups of people with shared cultural identity. This particular group is for people with whiteness as any part of our identity, who want to take responsibility for ending racism, starting with ourselves.
Telling Your Truth (Mar 04 - Apr 15) - Telling Your Truth brings an immersive online experience that allows writers to experiment with low stakes improvisation exercises and guided peer discussion to unveil high stakes truth to the page. Taught by one of Second City’s best mentors, Dionna Griffin-Irons TYT delves into simple scenic exposition, 4 W’s (Who, What, Where and Why), as writers share their creative voice in a variety of fun, creative risks – impromptu scenes, unforgettable characters, and unapologetic rants from the comfort of their home! Breaking the pattern of solo writing, writers interact and connect in a variety of exercises that fuel memory, truth and spontaneity.
The Power of Our Stories: An LGBTQIA+ Workshop (Jul 10 - Jul 24) - This special 9-hour workshop will be split up into three 3 hour weekly sessions that will harness the unique power that is our stories as a collective force for change in the world. I truly believe that art is a mirror to society, and learning to share our LGBTQIA+ stories will not only empower ourselves, but also shine a much needed light on these stories in our world. In the course, we will be learning writing tricks to help harness the power of inspiration and the muse of creativity, have great conversations about the challenges, common truths, and some of the misconceptions about media involving the LGBTQIA+ community, and most importantly we will be working on crafting individual pieces to share and expand on within the course. This will be a perfect mixture of process and production that will have you wanting to share your powerful stories with others once we have worked together on cultivating a creativity filled shared space.
Working From Collective Vision: Community-Driven New Work Development (Sep 17 - Sep 19) - Beyond our stages, theater artists can find opportunities with community organizations, social justice programs, education and other fields seeking to use arts to empower real people to tell their own stories. As dramatists we bring honed storytelling skills to these opportunities, but how do we responsibly bring those skills to the project? And how can we be sure we’re creating work that authentically reflects their creative sensibilities? An answer may lie in a focused approach to collective vision. We’ll explore case studies of community-focused theater projects, and examine ways to help non-traditional artists find consensus around theme, style, major dramatic questions and even character. This course invites artists to activate their gifts in service of other communities, not to speak for them, but to empower them to speak for themselves. Participants will complete the course with their own custom rubric for developing new works that they can bring into their own community-driven projects.