Learn Playwriting with Patricia Cotter

The Center for the Arts is offering a new virtual class for adults 17 and up. Playwriting 101: Writing The Short Play teaches the specific art of writing a satisfying ten-minute play with the end goal of having students complete a rough first-draft by focusing on the fundamentals of playwriting (character, structure, dialogue, action, and conflict). The four-week Zoom class starts Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 4:00pm and is taught by critically acclaimed and award-winning playwright, Patricia Cotter. 


How do you begin writing a play when you don’t even know where to start? Many writers begin their play and then find themselves losing steam after only a few pages. Usually it’s because they aren’t quite clear regarding what or who they are writing about. The million-dollar question is: “What is your play about?” This workshop will help you discover the themes and the focus of your story in a safe and fun environment. Odds are your idea is in there — somewhere — and this workshop will guide you to discover the words and ways to express it. With lectures and in-class writing exercises, Patricia will guide you through the scary stuff and back to your idea — showing you how to make clean, clear and workable choices. “This workshop is designed to give you an introduction to the tools and the support you need to take the first step in writing your play,” says instructor Patricia Cotter. “You will leave the workshop armed with the information, focus, and confidence you need to continue writing.”


Patricia Cotter holds accolades including; American Academy of Arts Letters, Richard Rodgers Award, Daytime Emmy Award, and a Writers Guild of America Award. She has taught improv at The Groundling Theatre in L.A. and writing at San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theatre MFA Program, The Writing Salon, and at theatres throughout the country. Her play, The Daughters, received its world premiere at San Francisco Playhouse in 2019 and is slated to be presented as part of Pride Plays 2021. The Surrogate was the winner of the 2016 Susan Glaspell Award and a finalist at the 2016 O’Neill National Playwrights Conference. The Break Up Notebook was a GLAAD Award nominee. Musicals (librettist/ adaptations) include Rocket Science: A Musical and The Break- Up Notebook: A Musical (based on her play). She was asked by Disney Theatricals and MTI to write Mulan, Jr. (based on the Disney film Mulan), which is produced and performed nationally. Patricia adapted The Surrogate for Kanbar Entertainment and that film, Beautiful Dreamer, was released in 2020. In addition to writing for the stage, Patricia has written for Audible, Twentieth Century Fox Television, Disney Theatrical, and Comedy Central.


Offered as a part of The Center for the Arts’ arts education programs for adults, Playwriting 101: Writing The Short Play is designed to meet the needs of students with a wide range of writing experience.  Anyone interested in penning a short play is encouraged to sign up for this 4-week class. Classes are held online via Zoom on Wednesdays from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.