Skip to main content

Summer Playwriting Intensive

Spend your summer steeped in the art of playwriting and discover what’s possible.

3 Weeks at Northwestern University

June 30 – July 20, 2024

Tuition: $4,000

Tuition price includes room & board. Financial Aid is available for students with need.

Application Open!

Admission decisions sent by May 10th, 2024

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 seminars led by a professional playwrights/educators. In the afternoon, students participate in classes along with the NHSI Theatre Institute as well as a Television Pilot Class. Weekends and evenings will be filled with field trips to see Chicago theater, as well as film screenings, master classes and other fun activities. The program culminates in a staged reading open to friends and family directed and performed by professional theatre artists.

Eligibility: Any student who has attended a workshop with John Corwin, Ian Merrigan, or Marcus Folmar, 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. Please submit the play you plan on workshopping during the program. This program is available to students who are currently in their sophomore or junior year of high school.

“Cherubs has played an insane role in my writing ability and taste. Everyday I am grateful for this experience.”

– 2022 Playwriting Cherub

Daily Schedule for Playwriting Intensive Summer 2023:

Times and structure are subject to change for future institutes.

7:30 – 8:30 Breakfast

9:00-10:30 Writing Room – Student playwrights work with faculty in a writers’ room-like setting to learn to craft 10 minute plays

10:45 – 12:00 Writing/Revisions – Students work to edit their plays

12:00 – 1:00 LUNCH

1:00-2:30 TV Pilot Elective – Ever had have an idea for a TV series? That’s great! Now all you have to do is turn that idea into a pilot. This elective will help. While we discuss TV basics and tricks of the trade, we will watch and discuss the first episodes of hour-long dramas and half-hour comedies, dissecting them, finding out what makes them 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.

2:45 – 4:15 Theatre Institute Electives – Playwrights join the Theatre Institute students in their afternoon electives. Playwrights choose from a number of electives ranging from directing to Shakespeare to movement to design classes.

5:30 – 6:30 DINNER

Evenings – Evenings are spent attending live theater events, watching films or other fun activities. 

Weekends – Weekends will be spent taking Theater electives as well as master classes and rehearsing for their final play readings.

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