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Playwrights Horizons Announces Lineup of Master Classes With Raja Feather Kelly, Jaclyn Backhaus & Heather Christian

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Streamed live on YouTube, free of charge, Playwrights Horizons’ Master Classes are lecture-style, interactive presentations that appeal to a wide range of participants.

Playwrights Horizons Announces Lineup of Master Classes With Raja Feather Kelly, Jaclyn Backhaus & Heather Christian

Playwrights Horizons has announced a new lineup of Master Classes featuring writers and artists behind celebrated recent Playwrights productions: Raja Feather Kelly, director and Bessie- and Outer Critics Circle Award-winning choreographer of A Strange Loop and If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka, on October 26; Jaclyn Backhaus, Horton Foote Prize-winning playwright of Wives and Men on Boats, on November 9; and Heather Christian, OBIE-winning author of Animal Wisdom and "Prime," a musical created for Playwrights Horizons' popular new fiction podcast, Soundstage, on November 16.

Streamed live on YouTube, free of charge, Playwrights Horizons' Master Classes are lecture-style, interactive presentations that appeal to a wide range of participants. They aim to offer emerging and experienced writers and artists inspiration and techniques to inform their own practice, as well as to equip audiences with an expanded set of tools to engage with new plays. Each session includes a Q&A with attendees, facilitated by members of the Playwrights Horizons artistic staff.

Playwrights Horizons reimagined Master Classes as a virtual program when the theater closed its physical spaces in the spring. It has since presented sessions with Pulitzer Prize finalist Will Arbery (Heroes of the Fourth Turning), Pulitzer Prize finalist Clare Barron (Dance Nation), Pulitzer Prize winner Michael R. Jackson (A Strange Loop), recently announced MacArthur Fellow Larissa Fasthorse (The Thanksgiving Play), and Relentless Award winner Aleshea Harris (What to Send Up When It Goes Down), all of which are available for on-demand viewing here.

Master Classes take place on Mondays at 7pm EST, run about 75 minutes, and are closed-captioned. Anyone can register here, where donations to Playwrights Horizons can also be made. Attendees receive details via email in advance.

Master Classes are part of an expanding portfolio of Playwrights Horizons offerings that can be experienced virtually, from any location. In the spring, Playwrights launched Soundstage, an anthological scripted fiction podcast series that the organization began developing two years ago. Each episode of Soundstage is a theatrical work commissioned expressly for the medium. Writers in the first season, which has found listeners across the U.S. and in 50 other countries, have included Heather Christian, Robert O'Hara, Jordan Harrison, Qui Nguyen, Lucas Hnath, Milo Cramer, and Kirsten Childs. For Season 2, Playwrights has commissioned Eboni Booth, Agnes Borinsky, Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, The Debate Society, Sarah Gancher, David Greenspan, Miranda Rose Hall, Dave Harris, Julia Izumi, Kit Yan, and Melissa Li. In the coming months, Playwrights will debut Almanac, a new digital magazine that will provide a snapshot of artistic thought in a time of seismic change. Almanac will consist of commissioned works by artists as well as Playwrights Horizons staff members: essays, drawings, interviews, manifestos, short plays, and more.

Through the Master Classes and Soundstage, Playwrights Horizons offers paid meaningful work to artists amid the economic downturn caused by COVID-19. Additionally, the theater has launched several other initiatives aimed at supporting theatermakers, including a free, interactive webinar with financial planner Ari Teplitz; information about remote freelance work opportunities; and emergency grants.


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