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.

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Playwright David Henry Hwang

 

Literary Programs

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“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.

Work

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.

Faculty

Learn more about our instructors. 

 

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Prince Gomolvilas‘ plays include Big Hunk o’ Burnin’ Love, The 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 West 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. 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. He received his MFA in Playwriting from San Francisco State University. He is the former Associate Director of the Master of Professional Writing Program at the University of Southern California, where he was also an Assistant Professor in Writing.

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.

 

Scholarships

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.

The Fundamentals of Playwriting
Instruction with Prince Gomolvilas
Dates: January 29 – March 26, 2018 (no class February 19)
Mondays from 7 – 10PM
Fee: $325 (ACTS members receive $25 off)
Location: East West Players, 120 Judge John Aiso St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Designed for playwrights of any experience level—from novice writers who want to give theatre a try, to longtime dramatists who want a refresher on fundamentals of craft, to writers from others genres who are interested in switching forms—this eight-week course explores the basic building blocks of playwriting. Students will learn (or re-learn) how to write engaging monologues and dialogue, build compelling characters, construct effective scenes, and create sound structure. Writing exercises will help playwrights generate new text and gain a deeper understanding of their own work, and weekly reading assignments of relevant plays and group outings to productions around town will round out the workshop experience. By the end of the course, students will have developed the premise, the characters, the outline, and the first portion of a full-length play, as well as complete short plays and a number of exercise-inspired scenes that could become part of something larger. This course is also a community.

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

 

Masterclass 1: GET THAT REWRITE
Instruction with Alice Tuan
Dates: March 24 – April 28, 2018
Saturdays from 10AM – 1PM
Fee: $425 (ACTS members receive $25 off)
Location: East West Players, 120 Judge John Aiso St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

You’ve written a play that keeps knocking at you, and you keep meaning to rewrite it but you can’t quite unlock it. This six-week rewriting intensive will help explode your play open, discover its mechanics, reveal its strengths and progress the play into its next incarnation.

The first class, each writer will introduce the first few pages of their current draft. Dramaturgical strategies will be discussed and personalized for each writer. We will then make a schedule to workshop the rewrites over the next 5 classes—each writer will present new writing at least two times. This workshop will provide insights and deadlines. It will be quick but intense. Its main goal is, to quote theater maverick Richard Foreman, ‘to make the play more of what it is.’

Limited to 8 students.

Course requirements & prerequisites:
To complete enrollment in Get That Rewrite, applicants must also submit a 10-15 page sample of the play they propose to work on.  Final enrollment is determined by the instructor.
GET THAT REWRITE assumes the writer has written a full-length play and has the discipline and vigor to rewrite intensely for six weeks. Questions and sample pages can be sent to Nathan Singh at nsingh@eastwestplayers.org.

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.

 

Masterclass 2: THE 11/9 PLAY
Instruction with Alice Tuan
Dates: April 21 –May  26, 2018
Saturdays from 10AM – 1PM
Fee: $400 per session (ACTS members receive $25 off)
Location: East West Players, 120 Judge John Aiso St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

The current US President has hijacked the public culture with his toxic brand of performance art. Even before the election result of 11/9/16, the country and its citizens have been distracted and exhausted by a real live bully in the pulpit—how is theater to exploit this moment?

This six-week playwriting workshop seeks to generate the play that will get the playwrights’ bearings back and activate a theatrical path that still values democracy. Discomfort is an asset in the creative process and through dialogue and writing exercises and work-shopping new pages, students will identify and write the project that will tackle and/or soothe this disquieting moment. This is the play you need to write right now, and also the play that needs you to write it.

Course requirements & prerequisites:
The 11/9 play is open to all levels. The instructor is expecting at least 30 pages (one act) to be generated in class for beginner-intermediate writers, and 60-80 (full length) for intermediate-advanced writers. Questions? Contact: Nathan Singh at nsingh@eastwestplayers.org.

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.