The PlayWrite Workshop: How does it work?

The writer is at the center of everything we do at PlayWrite. 

Over the course of a ten-day workshop, writers work one-on-one with coaches, creative professionals who are trained by PlayWrite. During the first four days (Week One), we move through group exercises, one-on-one character development, and theatrical demonstrations. Each step serves as a basis for group conversations about the critical elements of a play, and the artistic process of creating one. For the next five days (Week Two), each young writer works one-on-one with the same coach to write their own play. On the tenth and final day , the writers become directors of professional actors who perform their plays in front of a live audience.
View a sample of a play here! 

The PlayWrite Workshop: Why are we different?

We work with youth at the edge. In 2007, we sat down with PlayWrite writers from Mt. Scott Learning Center and talked about grant writing. We asked them what words they would use to describe themselves. Through a frank conversation, we discussed language which acknowledged the diversity and extraordinary potential of the young people we with whom we work. Mt. Scott writers found the phrase ‘youth at the edge.’ Some of our writers live on challenging precipices – experiencing homelessness or mental illness, situations fraught with grief, bullying or loss. All of our writers are on the edge of new discoveries, new possibilities, and the power that comes with discovering and using their creative voices.

We know how much words matter; we’ve spent over ten years building a program around this idea. One of our core values is that we do not speak for youth. Ever. Coaches ask questions, but do not offer suggestions of specific words or ways of phrasing ideas. PlayWrite is about creating a safe space for participants to explore themselves- to write a story they've never written before. Our job is to keep self-editing from getting in the way of creativity; to ask questions and patiently wait for a response. We listen to the stories they have to tell; we know that youth are the experts in their own experiences and emotions. 

Our work is a powerful force in the life of a community. We partner with an array of agencies serving young people: from alternative high schools like Mt. Scott Learning Center to juvenile detention facilities like Parrott Creek Ranch to leadership programs like Momentum Alliance. Check out a complete list of our partners.

Talk to us! PlayWrite workshops use the process of writing a play to build intrapersonal capacity for reflection, strengthen interpersonal skills, and deepen relationships amongst participants. The experiential process of PlayWrite workshops allow participants to increase their emotional intelligence and access their creativity in new ways, building critical tools for problem solving, group dynamics, and leadership development. If you are an organization serving young people and want to discuss hosting a workshop, or you are an organization interested in hosting a workshop as a leadership development tool for your team, please contact us at