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Playwrights Horizons Announces New Slate of Free Public Master Classes

The productions will be streamed live on YouTube, free of charge, as part of the theater's Perspectives On Playwriting program.

Playwrights Horizons Announces New Slate of Free Public Master Classes

Playwrights Horizons (Adam Greenfield, Artistic Director; Leslie Marcus, Managing Director) has announced a new lineup of Master Classes featuring writers and artists behind celebrated productions at Playwrights and beyond. Streamed live on YouTube, free of charge, as part of the theater's Perspectives On Playwriting program, these interactive presentations 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 works of theater. Each session includes a Q&A with attendees.

The schedule for this new slate of Master Classes is:

  • Monday, May 10, at 7pm ET: 2021 Kleban Prize-winning musical writing duo Kit Yan and Melissa Li (Interstate, upcoming from Playwrights' acclaimed anthological fiction podcast series Soundstage) offer insights into their creative collaboration and the navigation of their professional lives as artists.
  • Monday, May 24, at 7pm ET: Kirsten Childs (Bella: An American Tall Tale and The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin at Playwrights Horizons) and Playwrights Horizons Digital Content Producer Alison Koch shed light on the The Edge of Night, the audio musical Childs created for Soundstage, which is produced by Koch.
  • Monday, June 14, at 7pm ET: Dramaturg (What the Constitution Means to Me; A Doll's House, Part 2) and former Playwrights Horizons Literary Director Sarah Lunnie joins composer-performer Abigail Bengson (Hundred Days, The Lucky Ones) for an investigation of the unique role the dramaturg plays in the theatrical process.
  • Monday, June 21 at 7pm ET: Playwright and director Robert O'Hara (Bootycandy and Mankind at Playwrights Horizons, Gather for Soundstage, Slave Play) and costume and scenic designer Clint Ramos (Bootycandy at Playwrights Horizons, Eclipsed, Slave Play) explore their longtime creative partnership.

Master Classes run approximately 75 minutes and are closed-captioned. Anyone can register via the Perspectives On Playwriting page, where donations to Playwrights Horizons can also be made. Attendees receive details via email in advance.

Playwrights Horizons reimagined Perspectives on Playwriting as a virtual program when the theater closed its physical spaces last spring. It has since presented Master Classes 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), Relentless Award winner Aleshea Harris (What to Send Up When It Goes Down), director and Bessie- and Outer Critics Circle Award-winning choreographer Raja Feather Kelly (A Strange Loop, If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka), Horton Foote Prize-winning playwright Jaclyn Backhaus (Wives, Men on Boats), and OBIE-winning writer and theater-maker Heather Christian (Animal Wisdom, the Soundstage work Prime). All past Master Classes are available for on-demand viewing here.

Master Classes are part of a portfolio of virtual offerings, in various media, that Playwrights Horizons has launched over the last year. These include Soundstage, an anthological scripted fiction podcast series that the organization began developing three years ago, and that offers "world premieres from world-class playwrights without having to leave your home" (The New York Times). Writers of commissioned works in the first season, which have found listeners across the U.S. and in 50 other countries, include 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, Sheila Callaghan, Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, The Debate Society, Sarah Gancher, David Greenspan, Miranda Rose Hall, Dave Harris, Julia Izumi, Melissa Li, Tommy Pico, and Kit Yan. In January 2021, Playwrights debuted Almanac, a new digital magazine that provides a snapshot of artistic thought in this time of seismic change. Almanac includes short plays, essays, drawings, interviews, manifestos, and more by a wide range of makers and thinkers.

Through the Master Classes, Soundstage, and Almanac, 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 theater-makers, including free, interactive webinars with financial planner Ari Teplitz; information about remote freelance work opportunities; and emergency grants.

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