David Henry Hwang Writers Institute

Named after Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang (FOBThe Dance and the Railroad, M. Butterfly), the David Henry Hwang Writers Institute is the most active Asian Pacific American playwright development program in the country. Offering a series of writing classes designed to foster new work for the stage, the Institute is a nationally recognized force in the creation of plays that embrace the voice of multi-ethnic America and especially the Asian Pacific American experience.

The David Henry Hwang Writers Institute also sponsors a New Works Festival every year that highlights new works in progress by Institute writers.


Playwright David Henry Hwang


Literary Programs


“If we do not see ourselves represented, if our stories are not a mirror as to which we see our reflection, then we have a duty to be the storytellers and assert ourselves into the cultural dialogue. Thank you, East West Players, for giving minority voices the opportunity to be heard, and for instilling in me a new message that a unique voice indeed can tell a universal story.” – Nathan Ramos, “2042: See Change” Playwriting Competition Winner (2015)

East West Players has an open play-submission policy. Please be aware that we are an Asian American theatre, and most of the new works we produce revolve around Asian Pacific American (as opposed to Asian) characters and/or themes … read more

In conjunction with the Japanese American National Museum/National Center for the Preservation of Democracy, the Writers Gallery offers public readings of works that are being considered for the mainstage at East West Players. To become involved with the EWP Writer’s Gallery, please contact the Literary Department at literary@eastwestplayers.org or call (213) 625-7000.

East West Players offers playwriting competitions to encourage new works to be developed that explore the Asian American experience. Competitions occur approximately every three to six years and offer a cash prize as well as consideration for production on the East West Players mainstage. Please refer any questions or comments about upcoming playwriting competitions to the Literary Department at literary@eastwestplayers.org or call (213) 625-7000.


Instructors have included playwrights such as Doris Baizley, Prince Gomolvilas, Amy Hill, Kelly Stuart, Alice Tuan, and Brian Nelson. Guest lecturers have included playwrights such as Philip Kan Gotanda, Wakako Yamauchi, Chay Yew, and David Henry Hwang. One-act and full-length plays of all genres are created by writers in the Institute.

Countless works by Institute alumni have been read, developed, and produced by theatres around the country, and EWP writers have gone on to win many awards and fellowships after their time at the David Henry Hwang Writers Institute. Click here for a list of some recent highlights of the Institute.


Learn more about our instructors. 



Prince Gomolvilas’s plays include Big Hunk o’ Burnin’ LoveThe Theory of Everything, and the stage adaptation of the Scott Heim novel, Mysterious Skin, all of which have been produced by East West Players. The Theory of Everything won the PEN Center USA Literary Award for Drama, and was published by Dramatic Publishing. His work has been staged across the United States, as well as in Canada, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and Thailand. His new play, The Brothers Paranormal, will receive its world premiere at Pan Asian Repertory Theatre in New York City in 2019, followed by a co-production between Penumbra Theatre and Theatre Mu in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He has received new-play commissions from Geva Theatre Center and South Coast Repertory, as well as from the education departments at the Alley Theatre and TheatreWorks Silicon Valley. He received his BA in Film and MFA in Playwriting from San Francisco State University. He is the former Associate Director of the multidisciplinary Master of Professional Writing Program at the University of Southern California, where he was also an Assistant Professor in Writing. www.princegomolvilas.com

Alice Tuan is best known for Ajax (por nobody), which premiered at The Flea Theater in New York City, toured at the Melbourne Fringe, and was produced at Toronto’s SummerWorks Festival. Her other plays include Hit (The Los Angeles Theatre Center), BATCH (Humana), Last of the Suns (Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Ma-Yi Theater Company), Roaring Girle (The Foundry Theatre), Ikebana (World Premiere at East West Players; Taper, Too; Dramalogue Award), and Coastline (Serious Play!, Edinburgh Fringe Festival). Four of these plays are archived in the Billy Rose Collection of the New York Public Library. She is currently commissioned by Yale Rep/Binger Centre for New Theater.



The David Henry Hwang Writer’s Institute provides a limited number of scholarships. For more information about the application process, please contact the Literary Department at literary@eastwestplayers.org or call (213) 625-7000.

Our Classes


Join the most active Asian Pacific American playwright development program in the country, which has nurtured works read and produced at theaters nationwide. Classes meet in Downtown Los Angeles.



You can find the current class schedule offered by the David Henry Hwang Writers Institute below.

Writing for Stage and Screen
Instruction with Prince Gomolvilas
Dates: July 30 – August 27, 2018
Mondays from 7 – 10PM
Fee: $275 (ACTS members receive $25 off)
Location: East West Players, 120 Judge John Aiso St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

While plays and films are art forms that share many similarities, they also possess significant differences that must not be ignored. Designed for students who are both new and experienced at writing for stage and screen, this five-week writing workshop will examine how to create compelling characters and how to structure scenes in both plays and screenplays. How are characters and scenes shaped depending on the medium? What dramatic writing elements are shared across forms? What are the fundamental differences between theatre and cinema that have a profound impact on a writer’s approach? Through close reading and viewing of relevant existing material and through invigorating writing exercises, this course will lead students to a deeper understanding of two very different dramatic writing forms; encourage them to stretch their imaginations; and help them generate new work that can be the foundation for larger pieces.

Limited to 10 students.

Course requirements:

  • Short Written Assignments. Short written work includes creating and rewriting texts in various forms.
  • Reading and Viewing Assignments. Students are required to complete all reading and viewing assignments by each due date and to be prepared to discuss them in class.
  • Active Participation. Active participation includes doing and sharing writing exercises, discussing required texts/viewing assignments in class, and giving helpful feedback to other students.

Application fees & scholarships/work-study:
Fifty percent (50%) of the class fees are required to reserve a spot in the course. The balance is due the first class. Limited scholarships/work-study opportunities are available. To set up the two payments or inquire about scholarships/work-study, please email nsingh@eastwestplayers.org.

No refunds once the class has started. You may cancel up to 3 days before the class starts. Questions? Contact: Nathan Singh at nsingh@eastwestplayers.org