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Writers' Resources - menu for advanced writers

Become an Artisan member today to enjoy a variety of exciting benefits designed to bring you closer to our work. From access to tickets to signature events to exclusive invitations for special events plus private mentorship meetings with professional playwrights and script reviews, you will get the very best from Chicago Dramatists!

Writers' Group - $99.00

Are you looking for a writers group that provides structure, community, and accountability? Then this 8-session weekly writers group is the for you. Up to 8 writers will present anywhere from 30 pages to a full-length piece twice during the 8-week session, providing feedback for their cohort and honing their projects.  Each group is moderated by a Resident Playwright and is designed as a compliment to Tier 2 courses. The price is reduced to $49 if added with another Writer's Studio class.

First Draft - $150.00

First Draft is a series of weekly play readings in the style of a playwrights’ salon. The playwrights themselves read the scripts aloud and discuss each others’ work in a relaxed, supportive setting. A rolling year-long membership, writers can join at any time and enjoy up to 42 sessions with post-reading discussions facilitated by Resident Playwrights, affiliated artists, and staff members. One reading is guaranteed per yearly membership. Each member will receive 4 one-time passes to share with friends. Please click here or call our offices at 312.633.0630 to register.

Script Review - $175.00

Chicago Dramatists has been offering script evaluation services for decades. In this new iteration -- once your payment and your script have been received -- a theatre professional will read and evaluate your script within the following three weeks, offering a 2-3 page written response to your story. While we try to honor specific reader requests, often they can not be accommodated due to reader scheduling conflicts. We welcome plays, screenplays, and TV pilots. If you wish to speak further to the reader about this same script, either in person or over the phone, there is an additional charge of $60.
  • All scripts should be properly formatted and in 12 point font. If you are unsure what the accepted industry formats are for plays, you can look here. Any scripts exceeding 120 pages will be charged an extra dollar per page. Extremely monologue-heavy plays may also incur an extra fee. Only .pdfs will be accepted.
  • If you have a script that you would like feedback on, please fill out this form, and then email a .pdf of your play to cdscriptreview@gmail.com. Once we check the formatting and confirm the page number on your script, we will send you an invoice. Once the invoice is paid, the clock will start ticking on that 3 week turn-around time.

Table Readings - $350.00 base fee plus $30 per actor

Chicago Dramatists is now offering table readings to advanced playwrights who are ready to hear their work read aloud by professional actors, in a private setting, with a professional director or dramaturg facilitating the discussion.  We understand how essential this step is to the development of a new work and we strive to offer the most fruitful experience possible for each writer.  Our staff works with each writer to find a date, secures a space, casts actors who are not just appropriate but who are well-versed in reading and responding to new work, and engages a director or dramaturg who is well-suited to the project.

  • Submitted plays are evaluated to ensure that they are appropriate for this stage of development. When a play is accepted and a date has been mutually agreed upon by the playwright and the Chicago Dramatists staff, we issue an invoice for the cost of the table reading. Please note that the casting demands of the script (e.g. large casts) will incur additional fees based on increased casting director time. The invoice must be paid within 15 days of agreeing upon the date in order to reserve the slot.  
  • If you have a script that you would like to submit for a table reading please fill out this form and then email a .pdf of your play to cdscriptreview@gmail.com with the subject line "Table Reading." Please understand that table readings are not meant to be a showcase to get your script produced. If you feel your script is production-ready and does not need further development, this is not the program for you.

Scholarship & Fellowship

The M.E.H. Lewis Memorial Scholarship Fund

This fund is in memory of Resident Playwright, M.E.H. Lewis, and is intended to provide funds to assist playwrights with their artistic endeavors. Partial scholarships will be provided toward classes at Chicago Dramatists to further the education of Chicago area writers. The scholarship covers 75% of the cost. There are also partial scholarships available for our Script Reviews.

Application periods run year-round and can be applied to any Writer's Studio class.

The Russ Tutterow Fellowship

The Tutterow Fellowship is named after the late Russ Tutterow, the first and 30-year artistic director of Chicago Dramatists. The program honors Mr. Tutterow’s commitment to identifying and nurturing talent that might not otherwise get the opportunity to grow - all free of charge.

Designed to support the emergent playwright, this two-year fellowship emphasizes training, practice and mentorship. Ideal candidates display significant potential for developing their craft, their voice and their network of collaborators during their fellowship at Chicago Dramatists. Two-thirds of each cohort are reserved for historically under-represented voices: writers of color, LGBTQIA, differently-abled, and/or neuro-divergent.

This program is made possible by the generous support of the Joyce Foundation.

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