Writing the Biographical/Autobiographical Play
Architecture of Plays: Plays by Women
Writing Workshop: Crafting Character
PLAYS IN PROGRESS INSTRUCTOR
“I’m drawn to playwrights who have a deep personal connection to their plays, an urgent need to tell a particular story, and a mission to initiate important conversations with, and among, their audiences. I connect to writers who can answer such questions as: What story won’t be told unless I tell it? Why am I the one who needs to write this play? And: Why do I need to write it now? If you don’t have the answers, I can help you find your emotional connection to your story and why you were drawn to tell it. I believe the degree to which we as writers connect to our stories is proportional to the degree our audience will connect with it as well. So I’m drawn to boldness, bravery, passion, and self-exploration.
My main goal is to help you to achieve your storytelling goals, and to find out what might be getting in your way. Are your characters’ wants, needs, and objectives clear enough? Does every character have a high stake in the story? Is there physical and rising action? Is your dialogue natural or supporting too much exposition? Is the protagonist on a clear and focused journey? Once we determine what playwriting elements need attention, I can offer both suggestions for revisions, and sometimes writing exercises focused on a particular playwriting fundamental to help you strengthen your play.
The feedback, questions, writing exercises and playwriting tools I offer will always apply not just to your current work, but to all your future work as well.
For the DGI I have taught Writing the Autobiographical Play, Crafting Character, and Plays By Women. I also have experience teaching Writing the Issue-Based Play and ten-minute and one-act playwriting. ”
Interests: comedy, autobiography, character, deep emotion, personal stories, dramatic action, issue-based, short or full-length, theatricality, writing exercises.
SHERI WILNER’s plays include Kingdom City, Father Joy, Hunger, The End, A Tall Order, Relative Strangers, Little Death of a Salesman, The Unknown Part of the Ocean, and Joan of Arkansas and have been performed and developed at major American regional theatres including the La Jolla Playhouse, the Old Globe, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference, Guthrie Theater and the Williamstown Theatre Festival. In New York her work has been presented by New Georges, Naked Angels and the Lark.
She has twice been a co-winner of the prestigious Heideman Award granted by the Actors Theatre of Louisville: in 1998 for Labor Day, which premiered at the 1999 Humana Festival, and in 2001 for Bake Off, which premiered at the 2002 Humana Festival. Bake Off was praised by The New York Times as a “barbed, witty, thoughtful, giggle and snort inducing satire on gender roles.” She co-wrote the libretto for a full-length musical version, entitled Cake Off, which premiered at the Signature Theatre in Washington, D.C. (nominated for a Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Original Musical Adaptation); workshopped at the Old Globe in San Diego; and produced by the Bucks County Playhouse, starring Euan Morton and Justin Guarini.
Her plays have been published in over a dozen anthologies, and Playscripts.com has published twelve of her one-acts, which have received over four hundred productions across the United States as well as in Australia, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Japan, United Kingdom and India.
Her playwriting awards include a Howard Foundation Fellowship, a Bush Artist Fellowship and two Playwrights’ Center Jerome Fellowships.
Also an established playwriting teacher, Sheri has taught multiple courses for the Dramatists Guild Institute, PlayPenn and Primary Stages ESPA program and is currently the Master Playwright for the Miami-Dade Department of Cultural Affairs Playwrights’ Development Program. Other appointments include: Director and Playwriting Co-Chair of the Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellows Program (2015-18), the Rev. J. Donald Monan S.J. Professor of Theatre Arts at Boston College (2016-17), the Fred Coe Visiting Playwright-in-Residence at Vanderbilt University, and Visiting Assistant Professor in Playwriting at Florida State University’s MFA Dramatic Writing Program in Tallahassee. Additionally, she has extensive experience working one-on-one with playwrights through such organizations as the Dramatists Guild, PlayPenn, the Playwrights Center, as well as on her own.
She attended Cornell University and received her MFA in Playwriting from Columbia University.