PlayGym: Full-Lengths

PlayGym: Full-Lengths

For writers working on a completed draft of a full-length play

with dramaturg Cheryl Katz, NJ Play Lab Co-Director

9 weeks 

Wednesdays, 9:30am to 12:30pm 

Oct. 16th through Dec. 18th, 2019 (no class on Wed. 11/27)

Class Limit: 6 Writers

Fee: $300

Location: The HUUB at the First UU of Essex County (35 Cleveland St, Orange, NJ 07050)

Interested in this class but unavailable at this time?
Click here to express interest in an alternate class time.

PlayGym is a unique forum for experienced playwrights to hear their work read and to receive feedback from professionals in a supportive environment. At each session, playwrights have access to professional actors trained in new play development and a professional dramaturg to guide the process.

Class Overview:

  • Week One: Introductions to each other, the plays, and the PlayGym dramaturgical process.
  • Weeks Two–Nine: Each playwright is given one three-hour class session in which to hear their play read aloud by professional actors, followed by a facilitated discussion. Prior to having their play read aloud in class, the writer has the option to have the dramaturg provide notes for revision or consideration. Additionally, each writer is given 40 minutes to present revised material for feedback and discussion in the week(s) following the reading of their full-length. Professional actors will be brought in read the revised scenes.
  • Conferences: Each playwright has an Individual conference with the dramaturg. This conference may be in-person or on the phone and will be scheduled outside of class hours. A chance to reflect on the feedback received and to discuss next steps. Playwrights have the option to submit revised work in advance of this meeting.    

FAQS about PlayGym

How do I know if I’m ready for PlayGym?

Long ago we decided that this was not for us to determine—if you feel ready and able to do the work based on the description of the class, then you probably are! However, there are some things that our PlayGym playwrights share:

  • You have some basic training in playwriting and understand the terminology of the craft.
  • You are self-directed in setting goals, writing and rewriting outside of class, and determining what material you want to bring in and articulating specific goals you have in wanting to hear it read.
  • You are genuinely open to feedback and have a desire to further develop your play.
  • You are willing to give thoughtful feedback to your fellow playwrights through a structured, facilitated discussion.

If this sounds like you, then PlayGym is for you! If you have questions and would like to discuss further, please contact info@njplaylab.org. If you feel like you would benefit from a class that is grounded in the fundamentals of playwriting instead, please check out our Civic Playwriting class for beginning and early career playwrights.

I’ve never worked with you before. Do I need to submit a sample of my work?

If we are not familiar with your writing, then please do submit a sample of your writing—ideally a piece you plan to work on in class. You can submit to info@njplaylab.org with “PLAYGYM SAMPLE” as the subject of your email. 

I really want to take PlayGym, but I am not available at the times you are currently offering it. What do I do?

We really appreciate your interest! Since each PlayGym class is only designed for a small number of writers, we are constantly assessing the need to add additional sections. Please sign up here to indicate your interest in additional sections and indicate the times you would be available to take class. 

Please know that we will also be offering classes in the spring.

I have actors that I really like to work with. Can I bring them into the process for my reading?

How wonderful that you have found actors that you feel “click” with your work! The New Jersey Play Lab has a company of actors who are trained in new play development who we work with regularly. However, we want to serve playwrights in the development process as best we can, so we are always open to new suggestions of actors.

About the Instructor: Cheryl Katz, Lab Co-Director

Cheryl Katz has been developing and directing new plays for over 30 years. She began her career in New York City, developing and directing early works by Deb Margolin, Bryan Goluboff and Stephen Dolginoff, among others. Upon moving to New Jersey, she served as Director of Play Development at Luna Stage from 2003 to 2011, before becoming Associate Artistic Director (2011-2013), and Artistic Director (2013-2018). During her tenure at Luna, she contributed to the development of over eighty new works for the stage, most notably taking a leading role in the development of The Whipping Man by Matthew Lopez, The Dangers of Electric Lighting by Ben Clawson, and Lines in the Dust by Nikkole Salter.  On the Luna MainStage, she directed the world premieres of Razorhurst, a musical by Kate Mulley and Andy Peterson, Tranquil by Andrew Rosendorf, The High Water Mark and King of the Mountains by Ben Clawson, Tar Beach by Tammy Ryan, Carnaval by Nikkole Salter, Mercyand The Firefly by Amy Hartman, The Fastest Woman Alive by Karen Sunde, the critically-acclaimed NJ professional premiere of Thrill Me by Stephen Dolginoff, and three Luna Stage productions of The Man In Room 306 by Craig Alan Edwards (1995 and 2008 in New Jersey, 2010 in New York). Cheryl is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Our classes are designed for a small number of students to allow for a more intimate experience. However keeping our classes small means that we must meet that enrollment in order to run them.
Please note that cash refunds will ONLY be issued in the event that a class is cancelled by The New Jersey Play Lab. An enrolled student may withdraw up to one month prior to the start of classes and receive class credit for a future semester.


For any questions on classes, please contact info@njplaylab.org.

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