In-School Playwriting Residencies


As the home of the Humana Festival of New American Plays, Actors Theatre of Louisville is world-renowned for developing new work by playwrights with varying styles, interests, and approaches to making plays.

Actors Theatre's Learning & Creative Engagement department shares this passion by venturing into classrooms and teaching the art and craft of playwriting in fun, collaborative and innovative ways

To book a residency or for more information, please email Janelle Renee Dunn:

Available Residencies

New Voices Residencies


High School, 30 students max

A nine-session classroom playwriting residency where an Actors Theatre teaching artist leads students through the process of writing a ten-minute play. Students create detailed characters, make specific language, conflict and structural choices, and support each other through peer critique.

This program consists of 9, 50-minute sessions with an Actors Theatre teaching artist over the course of 3-4 weeks with writing time without the teaching artist present and 3, 50-minute prologue sessions led by classroom teacher.

VSA Playwright Discovery

Gives students the skills to create original scripts, to tell stories that address the disability experience via the theatre or other media arts. There is a secondary focus on writing, literacy and communication skills. 

These programs serve all students with and without disabilities in Middle School and High School. Scripts created by students participating in VSA Playwright Discovery programs are submitted to the VSA Playwright Discovery competition, which culminates in a workshop and staged reading of select scripts that takes place in Washington, D.C every fall.

Provided under a contract with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

A Living Newspaper


High School, 30 students max

Challenges students to tackle current social problems through research, creative writing, performance and community dialogue. Highly collaborative and interdisciplinary, students become both writers and performers while gaining a greater awareness of the impact they can have at school, in their communities and the world.

The program consists of 10, 50-minute sessions with an Actors Theatre teaching artist spread out over the course of 3-4 weeks with time built in for research and writing without the teaching artist present. 

The tradition of living newspapers began with the Federal Theatre Project, a branch of the Works Progress Administration as part of the New Deal. From 1935-1939, otherwise unemployed actors, playwrights and directors were hired to dramatize large, pressing issues concerning human rights. They were designed to be both informative and entertaining, and appeal to its audience on both political and emotional terms. Drawing inspiration from this truly American tradition, as well as a curriculum developed by the University of Texas at Austin’s Humanities Institute, A Living Newspaper residency is the perfect tool to teach students critical social analysis, collaboration, creativity and communication skills.

Monologue vs. Dialogue 


Middle School, 30 students max

Middle school students strive for their own personal best through dynamic playwriting exercises resulting in a diverse batch of monologues and scenes. Learning to view the world through the eyes of others; creating detailed characters; and making specific language, conflict and structural choices are goals of this five-session classroom residency. As students try on the role of playwright, they identify their best writing through self-reflection and supportive peer critiques.

Word Play


3rd - 5th Grade, 30 students max

Dream it. Write it. Perform it. Students bring unique characters and student-written scenes to life in this three-day classroom playwriting residency. Creating writing combined with acting exercises inspire students to express their naturally creative selves in a celebration of reading, writing and imagination.

Crafting Characters

($200/classs; $100/additional hour)

Middle School, 30 students max

Students create unique, detailed characters in this one-hour interactive workshop. Led by Actors Theatre teaching artists, students will be introduced to the art of dramatic writing by crafting an original monologue for their character.

Dynamic Dialogue

($200/class, $100/additional hour)

Middle School, 30 students max

In this one-hour interactive workshop an Actors Theatre teaching artist will introduce students to playwriting through crafting dynamic dialogue. How do we learn about characters from what they say? What makes an engaging scene? Students will explore character development, conflict and dramatic structure in this workshop.

Playwriting Masterclass

($250 for first hour, $150/additional hour)

High School, 30 students max

An Actors Theatre teaching artist will address a concept or component of dramatic writing in depth for your group of playwriting students. This workshop is intended for students already studying playwriting.

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Teaching Artists

Get to know the teaching artists visiting your classrooms.

About Us

We seek to create a truly brave space where diverse identities, ideas, cultures, and opinions are cultivated. We are committed to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in all areas of our work.