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Winter Masterclasses

Arena Stage's popular masterclass workshops return with eight virtual classes, exploring theater in a variety of forms. Masterclass workshops are interactive opportunities to learn more about an aspect of theater and participate in related activities.

Masterclasses are for adults, ages 18 and up. Each class meets twice via Zoom.

Participants may register up until the first day of the masterclass.

Cost: $60-$70


  • Choreography with Parker Esse

    February 3 and 5

    Have you ever wondered what it takes to choreograph a musical? How do they do it? Where do they get their ideas? Where do they start in creating choreography? From Agnes DeMille to Andy Blankenbuehler, this behind-the-scenes look will explore the process and styles of choreography and what it means to be a choreographer. 

    For: Emerging choreographers or anyone interested in the process of choreography
    Preparation: Participants will have an opportunity to create choreography and should be dressed to move.

    Please note that this class is in two parts on Wednesday, February 3 and Friday, February 5.


  • Directing Snapshot: The Heiress with Seema Sueko

    February 10 and 12

    This snapshot of stage directing is for beginning directors and other interested adults. The only prerequisite is a love of theater. The first session will focus on the components and skills of directing. Seema will take us through her process, from first idea to opening night, using her 2019 Arena Stage production of The Heiress as the example. Homework after the first session will be to write first rehearsal remarks for a hypothetical play you’d direct. Students will share those remarks and talk about the play you selected in the second session of this class.

    For: Beginning directors or adults with a love of theater
    Optional Preparation: If you wish to read The Heiress before this class, you may purchase the script here.

    Please note that this class is in two parts on Wednesday, February 10 and Friday, February 12.


  • Acting: Audition Preparation with Franchelle Stewart Dorn

    February 17 and 19

    You’ve got 20 seconds! That's right: the decision to hire is generally made within the first 20 seconds.  Make the most of that time in an audition setting.  Bring in your favorite audition piece (classical or contemporary) to rework, or something completely new. Your selection should be no longer than two minutes and age appropriate. We'll go through the steps to making you a better and more compelling actor and hopefully have some fun.

    For: Actors of all experience levels
    Preparation: A favorite or new audition piece, no longer than 2 minutes and age appropriate

    Please note that this class is in two parts on Wednesday, February 17 and Friday, February 19.


  • Playwriting: Writing Dialogue with Eduardo Machado

    February 24 and 26

    Join playwright Eduardo Machado for a writing workshop on developing your dramatic voice and style through exploration of characters, dramatic needs, using sense memory, emotional recall and other theatrical and psychological techniques. Exercises will be given, and you will write during the class time. You do not need to bring already written material to the class—all you need is to bring an idea, a notebook and a pen.

    For: Anyone who wants to write a play, TV pilot or screenplay
    Preparation: Bring a notebook and pen.

    Please note that this class is in two parts on Wednesday, February 24 and Friday, February 26.


  • Stage Management: Solving Puzzles with Christi Spann

    March 3 and 5

    Have you ever wondered who runs the day-to-day operations of a show from the first day of rehearsal to the last curtain call of the closing performance? If you guessed "the director" then you should take this class. The actual answer is: "the stage manager." The stage manager serves as the show's air traffic controller and specializes in solving problems of all shapes and sizes. This class will incorporate puzzles to teach you some stage management skills. It's open to anyone who loves operations, structure, theater and games. All you need to bring is your curiosity and observation skills.

    For: Anyone interested in a fun, participatory way to learn about stage management skills
    Preparation: None

    Please note that this class is in two parts on Wednesday, March 3 and Friday, March 5.


  • Playwriting: How to Write a Monologue with Jacqueline E. Lawton

    March 17 and 19

    In this monologue writing workshop, we will explore the concept of a monologue, character development, storytelling and a distinctive voice. We will use our own life experiences to create the backstory, motivation, story and diction. We will write and share our work during class. You do not need bring already written material to the class. All you need is to bring is a cherished object that you can show and something to write with.

    For: Anyone who wants to write or tell a story.
    Preparation: Bring a cherished object that was given to you. Read Elinor Fuchs' “A Visit to a Small Planet,” Suzan-Lori Parks’ “Advice to Young Playwrights,” and José Rivera’s “36 Assumptions about Playwriting.” Documents will be emailed to participants prior to the workshop.

    Please note that this class is in two parts on Wednesday, March 17 and Friday, March 19.


  • Acting: Script Analysis for Scene Work with Nehal Joshi

    March 24 and 26

    A playwright makes a play in the same way a cartographer creates a map. The goal is to make sure you can always figure out where you are.  In this masterclass workshop, we will explore some techniques to follow the playwright’s map in order to bring out your best performance as an actor. If you wish to perform in the class, please prepare either a monologue or a song excerpt. Pieces should be no more than 3 minutes long. Most importantly, please have an electronic copy of your piece or lyrics to your song that we can share, either in advance or day of. This class is for all levels and feedback will be tailored to your level.  

    For: Actors of all levels. Participants may perform or observe.
    Preparation: Participants who want to perform need to prepare a monologue or song no more than 3 minutes long. Memorization is preferred. Performers should have read and be familiar with the play or musical their piece is from.

    Please note that this class is in two parts on Wednesday, March 24 and Friday, March 26.



Franchelle Stewart Dorn

Parker Esse

Nehal Joshi

Jacqueline E. Lawton

Eduardo Machado

Christi Spann

Seema Sueko