Skip to main content

NHSI Playwriting & Online Programs

Check out opportunities at NHSI to hone your craft all year long!

Playwriting applications have closed for 2023

Summer 2023 Playwriting Intensive

· Surround yourself with students and faculty that share your passion.
· Receive focused attention and feedback from experienced faculty.
· Develop your scripts into a final staged reading performed by professional actors.

June 25 – July 15, 2023 at Northwestern University

Tuition: $3,750

Financial Aid is available for students with need.

In this 3-week summer intensive, a select group of students craft their plays in a professional and educational environment. Every morning, the students work on their writing in a master class led by a professional playwright. In the afternoon, students participate in classes along with the NHSI Theatre Institute and a Television Pilot Class. Evenings will be filled with field trips to see Chicago theater, as well as film screenings and master classes with the NHSI Film Institute.

Eligibility: Any student who has attended a workshop with John Corwin, Ian Merrigan, Marcus Folmar, or Sharena Sigmon and has a completed first draft of their 10- minute play.  Students who have not attended in-school residencies will need to submit a sample of their own draft of a 10-minute play, at any stage, in order to be eligible. This program is available to students who are currently in their sophomore or junior year of high school.

Summer Playwriting Intensive Testimonials

[My experience with the staged reading was] amazing. It’s rare for [high school] students to have that kind of experience, and the actors brought my play to life.”– 2022 Playwriting Cherub

I truly had a blast with my peers in the program, and enjoyed every moment of daily life on campus.” – 2022 Playwriting Cherub

This was one of the best experiences of my life. I learned so much about what it means to be a writer, the process of writing a play, and I also met so many new frineds that I will stay in touch with for a very long time.”– 2022 Playwriting Cherub

“I never thought about being a professional writer in my life but this program showed me all the possibilities there are to write as your profession. Now I’m definitely considering it.” – Playwriting Student, 2020

I would tell [future Cherubs] to get ready for the experience of their lives. It is a ton of work and dedication. But it pays off. I came out of the Cherubs program a different person. It completely changed my life.”  – 2016 Playwriting Cherub

TV Pilot Boot Camp

Online January 21 – March 11, 2023

Saturdays from 12pm CST – 1:30pm CST

Tuition: $400

This winter Playwriting Faculty Member John Corwin will offer a unique online experience for students interested in television and writing! Ever had have an idea for a TV series? That’s great! Here’s where you can learn how to turn that idea into a script and long-running series. Email correspondence with your instructor will begin two weeks before programming starts with guided brainstorming assignments, shows to watch and materials to read in order to learn the industry standards of genre, format and structure. Over the eight session intensive, students watch and discuss pilots from popular, acclaimed shows, analyze the scripts, and discover what makes the show work, how they succeed and how they fail. Students will then take what they’ve learned and apply that to their own ideas, assembling an outline for the pilot and even writing the teaser and first act.

This program is open to all high school students, freshmen through seniors

Application Closed. Check Back Fall 2023 for Winter 2024 offerings.

I will never watch TV in the same way again. I gained further understanding in structure of TV storylines, how to pitch an idea concisely and effectively, and tried my hand at screenwriting for the first time.”

– 2022 Student

Spring Break Playwriting Boot Camp

Online April 3 – April 7, 2023

Daily Zoom Sessions 6pm-8pm Central Time

Tuition: $250

NHSI playwriting staff will guide students through a fast paced, distance-based playwriting process.  Email correspondence will begin two weeks before Spring Break with guided brainstorming assignments and material to read.  We will then hit the ground writing and finish our 5-day intensive with a first draft of a 10-minute play.  Schedule will include one 90-minute group Zoom session per day, optional office hours with instructors for additional feedback and notes, masterclasses with industry professionals, and many hours of personal writing time.

This program is open to all high school students, freshmen through seniors. At the end of the boot camp, students will be able to use their 10-minute play draft to apply to the Summer Playwriting Intensive, more info above.