Playwrights Local

Cleveland's home for dramatic writers.

Category: Uncategorized (page 3 of 4)

Live from the 2016 Play Lab + Spring Workshops

Thanks to everyone who came out for our Play Lab + Spring Workshops at Waterloo Arts–audience members, workshop-takers, dramaturgs, directors, actors, and teachers alike! We’re pleased to say this was another successful event for Playwrights Local. Check out our photos below!

Welcome to Playwrights Local 4181

Welcome to Playwrights Local

The cast of Claire Robinson May's "Standardized Child TM"

The cast of Claire Robinson May’s “Standardized Child TM”

Live action from Elana Averbach's workshop on "Playwriting for Kids"

Live action from Elana Averbach’s workshop on “Playwriting for Kids”

The live reading of "A Conversation in an Elevator" by Mary E. Weems, Ph.D.

The live reading of “A Conversation in an Elevator” by Mary E. Weems, Ph.D.

From the workshop "Crafting a Great Synopsis" with Arwen Mitchell and Rachel Lerner-Ley

From the workshop on “Crafting a Great Synopsis” with Arwen Mitchell and Rachel Lerner-Ley

Fundraiser at Johnny Mango on Monday, April 18!

johnnymangoThe fabulous Johnny Mango World Cafe & Bar is hosting a fundraiser for Playwrights Local on Monday, April 18th! Visit Johnny Mango anytime that day — from 11am through 11pm — and 20% of your purchase will go to us. (Yes, that includes purchases from the bar.)

Present THIS FLYER to your server, and Johnny Mango will take care of the rest.

For more information on Johnny Mango’s cross section of Mexican, Asian and Caribbean flavors, see their website at

Or, find them in Ohio City at:

3120 Bridge Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44113

See you all there!


Grant from The George Gund Foundation

Gund-Social-MediaPlaywrights Local is pleased to announce that it has received a generous grant from The George Gund Foundation to support three projects for our 2016-2017 season and beyond.

This grant will enable Playwrights Local to curate the performing arts programming for the 2016 Waterloo Arts Fest, to present the 2016 2nd Annual Cleveland Playwrights Festival, and to help renovate the Creative Space at Waterloo Arts for ongoing use.

We at Playwrights Local wish to express our gratitude for this support. We thank the Gund Foundation for their investment in us!

The George Gund Foundation was established in 1952 as a private, nonprofit institution with the sole purpose of contributing to human well-being and the progress of society. Find more information on the Foundation at

Support from The AHS Foundation

Wordle Grant

Since 1968, the AHS Foundation has provided support for the relief of poverty and the advancement of education, religion, and community issues. The activities of the AHS Foundation have strengthened communities in both Minnesota and Ohio.

Playwrights Local is pleased to be among the most recent recipients of support from the AHS Foundation. Playwrights Local is a 501(c)(3) theater organization based in Cleveland. As a playwrights’ center, our goal is to provide a home base for dramatic writing in Northeast Ohio. We offer classes, produce original plays, provide professional development opportunities, and encourage dramatists of all skill levels.

This significant contribution received from the AHS Foundation will greatly assist Playwrights Local in accomplishing its mission. We thank the Foundation for its generosity and its investment in us!

2016 Open Submissions

PrintPlaywrights Local’s submission period has begun! One-act and full-length plays by area writers are being accepted.  No fee! See details under Get Involved | Submit.

Interview with Playwright Arwen Mitchell

wagner_headshot - CopyArwen Mitchell is a Teaching Artist with Playwrights Local. Her latest play, The Bicentennial Project, is currently running at Kent State University at Stark Theatre. Show dates are February 26 -February 27 & March 4-5 at 8 p.m, and February 28 & March 6 (ASL interpreted) at 2:30 p.m. Find out more at

Playwrights Local: Arwen, how did you become interested in theatre at all, and in playwriting in particular?

Arwen Mitchell: Religious ideas gone awry. But that’s okay – they led me to theatre, which led me to just having a hell of a lot of fun, which I really just needed, as a young religious person. I am secretly a song-and-dance person, so theatre and playwriting give me kind of an outlet for that. Not because I commit song and dance, but I get to be manic and flamboyant and obnoxious and extreme and truthful without (many) negative repercussions. Oh: I got into playwriting because I wrote a play that I thought sucked, but it went over well, and then I was under the impression that I was “called” to do it. Do you detect a theme? But – I’m not knocking where I’m from. It just amuses me, a little – where I’m from.

PL: Tell us about your last project.

AM: I wrote a commission play for Kent State Stark’s regular theatre season, in conjunction with The Canton Repository, for its bicentennial. I wanted to call it Canton-O-Rama but that was not the ultimate choice. I’m just kidding – I mean, I joked about that title, but I did “suggest” it. But I bring it up because I think it gives a tiny little sense of how much I enjoyed the project: ENORMOUSLY. Who woulda thunk that I would become a lifelong, highly-enamored Canton fan? I’ve accepted Canton into my heart. I think the play does it justice – it’s a “tapestry” play with a lot of movement and projections, that covers 200 years of Canton history.

PL: Your play Snake Oil was recently produced by the Ohio City Theatre Project. How did you come to be involved with them?

AM: I happened across them when I moved here [to Cleveland], and struck up an excellent friendship with one of the artistic directors, Sarah Greywitt. She got me involved as a dramaturg, and then they asked me to join as a company member. As I love everyone involved, and believe in their mission and artistry, it was an easy decision. Then they produced my play Snake Oil at the Canopy Collective in Ohio City.

PL: How do you begin a new work? What are your first steps?

AM: Depends on the project. I usually “develop” it, big-time. I use a lot of strategies I picked up from screenwriting, but also some key playwriting texts that I love. So – I kind of outline it, kind of write a treatment, kind of do character studies, research whatever needs to be researched (though this is an everlasting process), work on the plot. And eventually write it in a frenzy. It’s really important to me that I’m paying attention to dramatic craft. I always go back to it, no matter what kind of shape the play is taking.

PL: Who are your theatrical heroes?

AM: Thornton Wilder. Sheila Callaghan. Young Jean Lee. Sarah DeLappe. Tom Stoppard. Melissa James Gibson. Eugene O’Neill. And on. So many. And I haven’t read nearly as many plays as I should. Some plays are more my heroes than their playwrights, only because some playwright’s plays aren’t my thing.

PL: Why do you think people go to the theatre?

AM: A lot of less-than-epic reasons, but I hope, on some level, because they hope to have a few hours that they will never forgot, for good reasons.

PL: What direction do you see theatre moving in? Can you identify any “trends” in new writing?

AM: Hmmmm. More focus on women, I think. I’m a little out of the loop right now. Trends… hm. Well, I don’t really know enough to speak to that. But I do hope comedy becomes more trendy.

PL: What kind of theatre excites you?

AM: The kind that makes me forget I’m a fidgety, OCD person with a low threshold for boredom and an unfortunate tendency to crabbiness and couch-potato-ery. I LOVE comedy. Weird comedy. And forms that mess with… form. I adore absurdism. I like stories of people who don’t often get stories told about them.

PL: What play do you wish you’d written?

AM: The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe.

PL: What play would you most like to see staged (other than your own)?

AM: Stupid Ghost, I forget the playwright’s name… so, so good. [Savannah Reich]

PL: If you could change one thing about theatre, what would it be?

AM: To realize that theatre and performance art are not the same, and to pay more attention to storytelling.

PL: I am a closet __________.

AM: I am a closet makeup gnome.

Arwen Mitchell is a Midwest-based writer, dramaturg, and historian with over a decade of experience in playwriting, dramaturgy, and theatre history. Her work focuses on American history, women’s studies, pop culture, and humanism. She is the recipient of the second Nord Playwriting Fellowship at Cleveland Public Theatre. Arwen holds an MS in Theatre History & Criticism from Illinois State University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University.

Playwriting Workshop with Dale Heinen

Dale crop 1Playwrights Local proudly presents its first playwriting workshop with Literary Cleveland! Registration is open for this four-session course beginning Thursday, March 3rd at Pilgrim Congregational Church in Tremont.

This hands-on workshop will be led by Playwright Local Director in Residence Dale Heinen, who’s previously taught playwriting at universities and theatres in London and Brazil. Dale’s work in new-play development includes multiple years as staff dramaturg and associate at Soho Theatre, a premiere new writing theater in London’s West End. In addition, Dale’s teaching is informed by extensive experience as a director in Chicago, Cleveland, New York, London and Glasgow.

Entitled “Finding the Spark,” this workshop is equally appropriate for those who have written a play and for those new to playwriting. Each week will delve into a different element of the craft: language, theatricality, character, and story. Every session will give you the chance to produce new work through in-class writing prompts, and offer you opportunities to receive feedback on new or old work. By the end of the four session workshop you will have gained a wide range of entry points for generating a play, enhanced your craft, and attained a clearer view of the theatrical and personal points of view that inform your work as a playwright.

Registration is $60 ($50 for Lit Cleveland members). Find out more and sign up at:

"Flame Puppy" Posted (Listen Here!)

Cleveland Playwrights Festival (13) (2)Mike Geither’s Flame Puppy was among the highlights of our inaugural Cleveland Playwrights Festival in November 2015. Check out a professional audio recording of this “podcast play”–courtesy of the technicians at The Cleveland Radio Players–under our Media tab. Find a synopsis and full cast information there too. Click to listen!

Live from the Cleveland Playwrights Festival

The Cleveland Playwrights Festival featured readings, classes, discussions, and a live recording of a podcast play. Held on November 6 & 7 at Waterloo Arts in Collinwood, it was Playwrights Local’s first-ever event. We considered it a great success in terms of getting the word out about about our organization and what we have in store. We also thought it was an excellent showcase for local playwrights including Amy Schwabauer, Katie Walker, Logan Smith,  and Michael Laurenty.

Thanks to everyone who attended! If you weren’t able to make it, please sign up for our mailing list, and we’ll see you next time!

Check out photos from the Festival below.

CPF Blog 1

A staged reading of Les Hunter’s “Notes Towards a Dialectical Theater”

CPF Blog 2

A live recording of Mike Geither’s podcast play, “Flame Puppy”

CPF Blog 3

An Introduction to Playwrights Local

New Playwrights’ Center for Northeast Ohio

Logo_TransparentInaugural festival to be held November 6-7, 2015, at Waterloo Arts

(Cleveland, OH; October 7, 2015) — Playwrights Local announces its debut as Northeast Ohio’s first playwrights’ development and production center, marking its launch with a free festival on November 6 & 7, 2015. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Playwrights Local presents new plays written exclusively by area dramatists. It also offers classes and engages the community through site-specific projects. Playwrights Local is a home for novice and experienced dramatic writers to learn, create, and share their work.

“This type of organization has already succeeded in Chicago, Minneapolis, Atlanta, and Cincinnati,” said David Todd, Artistic Director of Playwrights Local. “We see this as a way of putting our under-recognized playwrights on the map, and of making their plays a bigger part of the arts conversation.”

Literary Manager Arwen Mitchell seconds the need for a space in Greater Cleveland dedicated to dramatic writing. “Other theaters support local playwrights to the extent that they can, but there’s no place focused on them exclusively,” Mitchell said. “Having an outlet like Playwrights Local is both amazing and essential.”

Playwrights Local welcomes the Northeast Ohio community to its inaugural Cleveland Playwrights Festival on November 6 & 7, 2015. All sessions in this event are free. (Online registration is recommended.) Dramatic writers of all skill levels can participate in workshops and discussions. Fans of live theater can attend staged readings of local works and take part in a recording of Mike Geither’s podcast play, Flame Puppy. Other offerings include a luncheon and post-show reception. The festival will be held at Waterloo Arts in Collinwood (15605 Waterloo Road, Cleveland, OH 44110).

Information on festival sessions and registration is available at Tax-deductible donations in support of this new, locally focused arts organization also may be made at the site.

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