Playwriting Classes

TBG’s playwriting program encourages simplicity and clarity in story-telling.  We share practical tools that can easily be applied to your writing, ignite the imagination, and demystify the revision process.  Our approach highlights the structural pillars of a well-told narrative and helps writers establish clear contexts, so that their stories will have greater impact.  TBG’s writing tools leave room for a wide range of expression, supporting all genres—from simple, intimate, powerful, character-driven plays to epic tales with stylized language.  Whether you are a playwright crafting ten-minute plays or wanting to start and/or finish a full-length script, you’ll find yourself in a supportive workshop environment of committed theatre artists.


1 and 2 Day Weekend Workshops

Playwriting Weekend Workshop: Jumpstart & Revisions

This two day weekend workshop combines Jumpstart and Revisions into one weekend.

Weekend Playwriting Workshop - Jumpstart and RevisionsDates TBA

8 and 10 Week Quarterly Classes

Playwriting Intensive: Process

There is nothing like a deadline to get you writing and keep you going! Modeling on The Barrow Group aesthetic of using “tools,” this workshop includes in-class writing and out-of-class homework. As a supportive collective we’ll read and discuss our pages in class. Whether you are looking at finishing a first draft of a play or improving your writing process with scenes and one-acts, this workshop will provide you with positive support through examining techniques and tools. Are you a writer who starts from character or from story? We’ll look at themes, structure and character in an environment that brings out and channels your creativity.  No prerequisites are required for this class.

Playwriting Intensive I: ProcessDates TBA

“Had Arlene Hutton been around during Broadway’s golden age, her finely wrought plays might rank with those of William Inge or Horton Foote. Among postmodern dramatists, Hutton stands apart, relying on traditional techniques in an era where such values grow ever rarer.”
—David Nichols, LA Times

“Arlene Hutton is so supportive of her students, so genuine in her enthusiasm, so encouraging of exploration. I was talking to some of the other students as we left, and there was a consensus of buoyed enthusiasm and excitement from everyone in the room. People left her workshop truly excited to write. I think that she gave a lot of students back their confidence and inspired newfound passion for the craft in others.” –Becca Worthington, playwright


8 and 10 Week Quarterly Classes

Playwriting Intensive: Structure

The word playwright (like boatwright or cartwright) means “maker” of plays, not writer of plays.

Playwrights are craftspeople and as reliant on structure as a carpenter or mason. In this class, we begin with an idea that resonates and build from there. Taking cues dating back to Aristotle, we will explore basic structure as we put pencil to paper. Once the framing is in place, we are free to explore and seek out those qualities that are valued in acting – something real, spontaneous, new. We will endeavor to surprise ourselves as we work. With a combination of home and class writing, we’ll share work in class – a safe environment for exploration where inner rebels won’t be provoked, all in the service of telling a sound, entertaining and surprising story.

In Level 1, I honor the notion of starting with an idea, craft the structure first, and then strike out and begin writing.

Playwriting Intensive I: StructureDates TBA


Writing for TVI
Offered as an 8 or 10 Week Class

Writing for television is just like every other kind of dramatic writing…until it isn’t. For those intrigued by writing for the small screen, Writing for TV I is an introduction to what is universal and what is unique about television writing. The class will start by helping students create and flesh out the basics of a compelling story – a great protagonist, a great antagonist, and conflict that takes place in a powerful and exciting world. Then students will learn how to use particulars of television writing – creating a story engine, juggling multiple plots, and writing beat sheets – to further illuminate the characters and stories they have created. Students will work towards the creation of a pilot that will tell one great story while hinting at many more. Part I of a two part course.

Writing for TV IDates TBA

Writing for TV II
Offered as an 8 or 10 Week Class

You’ve got your story. You’ve got your characters. You’ve got the world of your show. Now all you have to is WRITE IT. Writing for TV II will guide you through the process of writing a TV pilot. It will help you navigate the dauntingly specific challenges of the form (the classic guideline requires each pilot to hit 15 specific story beats) while never losing sight of what is thrilling and unique about it. Writing for TV II will be a combination of skills class and writing workshop, learning to use the demands TV writing not to frustrate your creativity, but to help it flourish.

Writing for TV II requires either completion of Writing for TV I or consultation with the teacher.

Writing for TV IIDatesClose

Select a date to register

Tuesday, March 9, 2021
Instructor: John Yearley
Tuesdays, 2:30pm-5:30pm EST, 8-Weeks, $425

Weekend Workshop: Writing for TV
Offered as a Saturday and Sunday Workshop

Weekend Workshop: Writing for TVDates TBA

Students (members) of the Barrow Group now qualify to purchase Final Draft 9 at a deeply discounted EDU price of only $129 (normally $249.99).  Please go to this link to make your credit card purchase: