The Play’s the Thing: Video Series and More!

Like so many other artists and educators out there, this pandemic hasn’t slowed me down. If anything, it’s pushed me to amp up resource creation and leap out of my comfort zone into the realm of remote instruction. In addition to creating and remotely facilitating Trauma-Informed Practice for Arts Education Administrators with the Bartol Foundation, I’ve also been creating resources for Philadelphia Young Playwrights’ new online resource center, PYP at Home. Even though we’ve been rolling out awesome activities every two weeks, it’s taken two months for my brain to break away from the old reality that our program can only reach the Greater Philadelphia Area. Now that any writer anywhere can dig in, it’s time I shared these tools with all of you!

If you’re a teacher of young children or a parent, you may enjoy our Family Activity Series for ages 8+. Our most recent Family Series is called Set the Stage, and it gives elementary students a step-by-step taste of how set designers imagine and design sets for the stage. This series kicks off with one of my favorite activities that I use with students of all ages to jump into conversations about set design: Three Chairs and a Blanket. Can you use just three chairs and a blanket to create a set for a play that takes place in a jungle? I bet you can!

Three Chairs and a Blanket: Me posing with my MOUNTAIN Setting!

If you’re a teacher or parent of a writer ages 12 and up, or if you’re a writer yourself, there’s a treasure trove of self-directed playwriting activities in the Middle School and High School sections of PYP at Home, too. Or, if you or a young writer in your life has never written a play before, I encourage you to give my new video series 3 Scenes in 5 Sessions a try! Over the course of five prerecorded video classes, I’m guiding writers ages 12 to 112 through the process of writing a 3-scene play from start to finish. The first two sessions – Crafting a Main Character and Connecting Character to Conflict – are already up on the site, and session three will be up in just two short weeks. Not only are all the steps clearly outlined on each slide, but there are links to downloadable templates and resources under each video, too. Plus, a fun bonus – in the second class you’ll get to explore a new way to use the Timeline Cards I shared with you a while ago. So if you’ve never written a play before, toss your apprehensions aside and give it a whirl! 

3 Scenes in 5 Sessions Photo
Timeline Cards are back with a new use! (Screen shot from Session 2)


Genre: Playwriting

Creative Process: Idea Generation, Character, Conflict, Setting, Story Arc, Resolution

Age Level: 12+

Session 1: Crafting a Main Character

Session 2: Connecting Character to Conflict

Session 3: Setting the Stage for Scene Two – Available June 5th

Whether or not you take advantage of the resources above, let me know how your creative juices are flowing – or not – and let’s be here for each other. And remember, whenever I post a class (like this one), activity, or prompt in the Support For Writers section of my site, I will always write a blog post about the activity as well. That way, if you follow my blog, you’ll always know when new exercises become available.

Amidst all that is going on in the world, I hope the spark of creativity is still aglow inside you and that you have the time and space to ignite it! 


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