Writer’s Week: A Creative Writing & Performance Arts Workshop

Contact

E-mail

914.323.6170

Online July 26 through July 30, 2021

Icon showing a notebook and pencil

Directed by distinguished faculty members, this program allows high school students to explore writing in a non-competitive and non-judgmental environment that values the risks and adventure of the creative process. Each day, participants attend writing and theatre workshops led by prose writers, poets, and performance artists. Included in the week are mini-workshops taught by program faculty and guest artists. Rooted in the Sarah Lawrence College tradition of one-on-one interaction, the program offers students the opportunity to meet in small groups with workshop leaders. The program also includes faculty and student readings and a celebration of student work on the final day of the program. Classes are limited to 18 students, with two faculty members per workshop. All classes will be held live using Zoom.

We welcome students entering the 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th grades the following fall. Students must be age 14 or older at the start of the program.

Sponsored by The Writing Institute and the Sarah Lawrence College Theatre Program.

The Writer's Workshop

The day's work begins with a creative writing workshop, giving students the chance to investigate what defines a poem, a story, and the best way to communicate ideas through writing. This course is a place for students to write, to read one another's work, to learn to observe what is familiar and what is not, and to transform what the writer sees into words. Members work as professional writers do: generating material, collaborating, and talking, revising, and rewriting. There will be ample opportunities for students to turn off their video on Zoom and complete writing exercises.

The Writer's Theatre

The work of the writer and theatre professional are similar—both investigate storytelling, character performance, narrative, and more. When studied together, these two related disciplines can produce holistic and more informed writers capable of creating work that reaches broad audiences. In this course, the creative process is explored in an intuitive and spontaneous fashion through improvisation, group projects, and games. Faculty and students participate together to give form and shape to both individual and collective expression. No prior theatre experience is necessary. Students select their theatre specialty. Sample theatre workshops include: Solo Performance, Character Comedy, Stand Up Comedy, Song writing and Playwriting.

Schedule

Classes will meet daily Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. - 5:15 p.m. ET, including a 50 minute lunch break. There will be ample breaks built in each day and a more detailed schedule will be released closer to the program start date.

Faculty

Writer’s Week is taught by esteemed Sarah Lawrence College faculty and alumni, as well as guest lectures from a published YA author and editor.

Additional faculty and information about their workshops will be posted in the near future.

Portrait of Marcia BradleyMarcia Bradley (Writing Teacher) is a writer, a teacher, and a reader who looks forward to working with students who write fiction, fantasy, memoir, short stories, poetry, and diverse genres of all sorts. Originally from Chicago, she earned her BA in Creative Writing at Antioch University in Los Angeles and her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. Marcia won the 2019 Bronx Council on the Arts/BRIO award for her fiction story about Englewood on the South Side of Chicago and has stories and essays published in a number of literary journals. Marcia received scholarships to Community of Writers, Writers in Paradise at Eckerd College, and for a Ragdale Residency. She teaches creative writing in programs sponsored by Sarah Lawrence College, the Yonkers School District, and the Greater New York Chapter of the Fulbright Association. Marcia has two daughters, lives in the Bronx, and is working on a novel about women, social justice, and the right to seek freedom no matter the cost. Learn more at https://marciabradley.com/

Sarah Dohrmann (Writing Teacher)

Portrait of Vanessa FriedmanVanessa Friedman (Writing Teacher) (she/her) is a queer dyke writer living in Portland, OR. She’s the community editor at Autostraddle and a teaching artist with 826NYC. She received her MFA in creative nonfiction from Sarah Lawrence College, is a Tin House Summer Workshop alum, and recently attended Hedgebrook for a Spring Retreat. Vanessa writes about friendship, home, loneliness, grief, and the body; her work has been published in Autostraddle, Nylon, Catapult, Alma, Shape, and elsewhere. You can find her online at vanessapamela.com.

Katie Hartman (Theatre Teacher)

Portrait of Lee Hittner CunninghamLee Hittner Cunningham (Assistant Writing Teacher) writes fiction, poetry, and plays. Their work has appeared in The Penn Review, Room, The Jellyfish Review, and elsewhere. They are currently an MFA candidate at Sarah Lawrence College.

Mia Innocenti (Assistant Writing Teacher)

Portrait of Quincy JonesQuincy Scott Jones (Writing Teacher) is an educator and author of two books of poetry: The T-Bone Series (Whirlwind Press, 2009) and How to Kill Yourself Instead of Your Children (C&R Press, 2021). His work has appeared in the African American Review, The North American Review, the Bellingham Review, Love Jawns: A Mixtape, and The Feminist Wire as well as anthologies Resisting Arrest: Poems to Stretch the Sky, COVID Chronicles: A Comics Anthology, Black Lives Have Always Mattered: A Collection of Essays, Poems, and Personal Narratives and Drawn to Marvel: Poems from the Comic Books. With Nina Sharma he co-curates Blackshop, a column that thinks about allyship between BIPOC artists. His graphic narrative, >Black Nerd<, is in the works.

Portrait of Eloise LindblomEloise Lindblom (Assistant Writing Teacher) is an MFA candidate in Fiction at Sarah Lawrence College. A DC native, when not writing, Eloise can also often be found baking, swimming, and hiking. Their work has appeared in Into the Void Literary Magazine, decomp journal; Heirlock Magazine, and others.

Portrait of Sifiso MabenaSifiso Mabena (Theatre Teacher) is a New York based multidisciplinary theatre maker from Zimbabwe. Off Broadway: Riddle of the Trilobites (Flint Rep; New Victory Theatre), Red Hills (En Garde Arts), Art of Luv Part 6 (Abrons), Molly’s Dream (The Public: Fornes Marathon), Shoot Don’t Talk (Labapalooza, St Ann’s Warehouse), Ocean Filibuster (Abrons). International: Winter’s Tale (National Arts Festival, SA), The Comeback (HIFA, ZW), Love in the Time of Malaria (NAF, South Africa). Sarah Lawrence: Macbeth, Harmless, Endless Long Hot Summer, Under African Skies (solo show). As a playwright, Sifiso has collaborated with The Royal Court Theatre and the British Council (ZW). Her work has been performed at the Harare International Festival of the Arts (Winner of HIFADirect 2011), the Intwasa Festival and the Chimanimani Festival. More recently Sifiso co-directed The Othello Project for Shake on the lake. She was also an artist in residence at Dixon Place making a new puppet show that was funded by Cheryl Henson and the Jim Henson Foundation. Sifiso holds an MFA in Theatre from Sarah Lawrence College, and is a CUNY Adjunct Professor in Theatre and a Guest Teaching Artist at Sarah Lawrence College.

Dan Reitz (Theatre Teacher)

Portrait of Ashley RobertsAshley Brooke Roberts (Theatre Teacher) is a Brooklyn-based comedian, writer and actress, originally from Chapel Hill, NC. She’s performed all over the world and has been featured at the Boston Comedy Festival, TOsketchfest, Women in Comedy Festival, and Austin Sketch Fest. She was a cast member in the coveted UCB Maude teams The Prom and Absolutely, as well as the all-lady sketch show Bullshit Women. Ashley has had the joy of writing for the likes of Dan Rather and Jeff Goldblum as a staff writer on National Geographic’s Explorer. She's been in some of your favorite commercials for household products and was seen last year telling jokes to Instagram's head of design, Ian Spalter, on Netflix's Abstract: The Art of Design. Big life achievements so far: an award from the Associated Press for exposing a county official with ties to dog fighting and dancing in a Dead Prez music video. She currently writes for NPR’s Ask Me Another, hosts the monthly YouTube live show, At Home Film Festival, with comedian Sarah Tollemache, and just finished working in a writers' room for the Center for Media and Social Impact. She tries to like Instagram and currently has over sixty thousand followers on TikTok.

Jermaine Rowe (Theatre Teacher)

Akiva Schick (Assistant Writing Teacher)

Gabrielle Schultz (Theatre Teacher)

Kritiksha Sharma (Assistant Writing Teacher)

Portrait of Rachel SimonRachel Simon (Writing Teacher) has been teaching in the Sarah Lawrence Summer High School Writers Program for twenty years. She's the Interim Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs and LGBTQA Center at Pace University where she also teaches creative writing, literature, and gender studies courses. Simon is a poet with two published collections: Theory of Orange and Marginal Road. Her work has appeared in the Poetry Society of America's Poem a Day and other journals.

Portrait of Emily StoutEmily Stout (Assistant Writing Teacher) is a poet and essayist from Washington state. She is a recent graduate of the MFA Writing program at Sarah Lawrence College and previously taught a high school writing workshop for The Writing Institute and Yonkers School District. Her recent work has been published in Pigeonholes, Sleet magazine, Peatsmoke Journal, and Breadcrumbs Magazine.

Portrait of Olivia WordenOlivia Worden (Writing Teacher) was born in Seoul, Korea and raised in Massachusetts. A multi-genre writer, she has taught creative writing at the Westchester County Correctional Facility, The Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College, and Pace University. Her essay “Held by Strangers” was selected for the 2019 Pigeon Pages Essay Contest. The essay was also anthologized in Best of the Net 2020. Her work has appeared in CutBank, Post Road, Pilgrimage, Pigeon Pages and other publications.

Teaching Approach

Marcia Bradley: I truly believe that everyone can write. Not just some people. Not only gifted creative folks. In my workshops, I help everyone find the style they enjoy. Want to write a story, a poem, a memoir, or a book? Let’s do it. Do you have one exceptionally long sentence you can’t let go of? Try it out on us. Want to write dialogue? We’ll listen. Most anything goes and the results are always wonderful. There’s no right or wrong in writing; it’s more about taking words from our lives and putting them into a story. After all, it is possible for a trip to the market to become science fiction bedlam. A normal boring day can end up a love story. The magic of a childhood memory often transforms into a chapter for your memoir.

Vanessa Friedman: You are the expert of your own story. That's my approach for teaching all writing, and my class at Writers Week will be no exception. No matter which genre we're exploring, which reading we're discussing, or which prompt we're writing, I want my students to feel empowered to tell their own stories. I also do not believe that the teacher is the only one in the room with something important to say — I look forward to learning alongside my students in a collaborative creative environment.

Sifiso Mabena: I enjoy the mystery of experimenting. While I appreciate a ‘well made play’. It’s always wonderful to see what happens when plays don’t look like plays. When they are rearranged and reordered for the sake of discovery. I love to see playwrights meet formal aesthetics in their own unique way, whether that means honouring them or rejecting them outright. My approach to teaching at Writers Week primarily centers experimental discovery as a mode of learning and the lessons respond to the needs and intuition of the group.

Ashley Brooke Roberts: I believe everyone has something to say and I help you say it in a comedic way! We also have a lot of fun which is very important when it comes to lols and jks.

Rachel Simon: Many Sarah Lawrence classrooms have round tables perfect for community building and collaboration. In an online space we create that virtual round table. No, I literally have a picture of a table with our names on it and we know who is sitting to our virtual left and right, even though we might be in Hawaii, Ohio, Manhattan, and Dubai. Our Zoom classroom space is a place of challenge and kindness where students and faculty will work to find their voice as writers and support our individual writerly goals.

Olivia Worden: Writing can often feel isolating. We sit at our computers or write on a page and rarely is this done in the presence of other people. What is beautiful about writing workshops is that it's an opportunity to create community that lasts long beyond the end of the workshop. I teach with that in mind. The classroom is a space for collaboration, for questions, for throwing things at the wall and seeing what sticks. What is most important to me as a teacher is that we foster an environment for the multitude of voices and stories that each writer holds to emerge and thrive. And that we meet those stories with respect and curiosity. Whether you are a seasoned writer or just coming to the page for the first time, my hope is that this workshop gives you the chance to try things out, discover what your strengths are, and hone in on the areas you'd like to grow.

Workshop Descriptions

Marcia Bradley: Are you a Heart Stopper—a person who yearns to tell a story that is so deep inside yourself that only the word “I” can begin the first sentence? Go for it. May you’re a Crowd Sourcer—a more cerebral observer who watches the world from a distance and can write the story of one of the people in the crowd—please tell us the dancer’s, or baker’s, or sorcerer’s, or the lonely child’s tale. Perhaps you are the Found Voice—the writer who knows that in second person “YOU” reigns supreme. Do it. We’ll get you started each day, offer ideas and prompts, and let you write about love, or a mystery, science fiction, memoir or poetry. Students will write, read aloud to each other, give and receive feedback, and write some more.

Vanessa Friedman: I believe a collaborative container is the most exciting way to write, and I aim for all my classes to be settings where everyone feels comfortable to take risks, be bold, get vulnerable, and explore their most creative ideas. During our week together we'll be reading and discussing work spanning all genres from writers such as Leah Johnson, Carmen Maria Machado, Alison Bechdel, and Franny Choi. In addition to our class discussions we'll also spend a portion of each class writing and a portion of each class sharing and receiving enthusiastic feedback. I'm also open to our class including readings and exercises I do not yet expect, based on our shared curiosities and interests.

Sifiso Mabena: We’ll be using theatre games, sensory exercises, collage, a smidge of acting and intuitive writing to get our creative juices flowing towards writing monologues and dialogues that you can build into a play. We’ll look at the structure of a well made play and dip into the world of experimental writing too. It’ll be fun and weird at times so if that’s up your alley come and check it out!

Ashley Brooke Roberts: We will do writing prompts which are designed to elicit opinions and then turn those ideas into jokes for the stage (or screen).

Rachel Simon: By reading short pieces in every genre we will build up our reading-as-writers muscles and use what works best as a model for our own writing. Our time will be spent reading, discussing, writing, and sharing our work. We will investigate craft and character, identity and sound as we work to find each participant's unique voice.

Olivia Worden: This workshop will explore the ways in which writing can challenge traditional ideas of structure, plot, language and voice. With a focus on writing prompts that work across genres (poetry, fiction, non-fiction), writers will have the opportunity to blur the lines, get messy, and create pieces that are uniquely their own. In addition to writing, our workshop will include in-class discussion of readings, brief talks on craft, and a space to share our work and provide supportive feedback through our virtual "round table" classroom.

Goals for Young Writers

Marcia Bradley: This workshop has incredible, outstanding, fun goals. First students will meet other writers, find their breakout group, and make a writing commitment to themselves. Second, students will write new material every day and end the week with an assortment of pieces to save, to submit for publication, and to see in the high school week anthology. Third, everyone will have the chance to present their pieces in readings we will hold each day. Lastly, we will laugh and offer our opinions to each other and maybe even yell once in a while—as we find our creative voice.

Vanessa Friedman: My goal is for every student in my class to learn something new about themselves and how they like to write, to make connections with fellow writers that will hopefully last well beyond our week together, to become empowered to tell their own stories exactly the way they want to, and to feel proud of the work they will have accomplished. If every student leaves our week together with a desire to keep writing and to keep learning, I will feel that our time together was a success.

Sifiso Mabena: We kick off the week with a discussion about what’s brought each person to the class. By hearing students articulate their goals and desires, it helps me choose activities and exercises that will cover some of those areas of interest. It is my hope that students will have tools to add to their creative practice in writing text- for-performance. I’d also love for students to draw inspiration and encouragement from the artists that we explore in the class.

Ashley Brooke Roberts: My goal is that everyone has fun and discovers that they do, in fact, have a point of view.

Olivia Worden: This workshop will explore the ways in which writing can challenge traditional ideas of structure, plot, language and voice. With a focus on writing prompts that work across genres (poetry, fiction, non-fiction), writers will have the opportunity to blur the lines, get messy, and create pieces that are uniquely their own. In addition to writing, our workshop will include in-class discussion of readings, brief talks on craft, and a space to share our work and provide supportive feedback through our virtual "round table" classroom.

Student Testimonials

I loved the Sarah Lawrence Summer High School Writer's Week! The creative energy around me was truly inspiring and helped me to write new pieces. The students and instructors empowered one another to step out of their comfort zones, by sharing work and feedback. It was great to meet so many kind and supportive writers. This program gave me the insight on how to create an idea and follow through with it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can my student receive school credit?

We do not offer college credit for this program, though, if requested, we can send a letter to your student’s school confirming their participation in our summer program.

Will my student have homework?

Students typically do not receive homework, but may be asked to come prepared for the next class with fresh ideas. It is important to note that each workshop is run independently and the work they will be asked to do is dependent on the faculty members.

Does my student need to be an advanced writer?

This program is for anyone who has a desire to become a writer—to discover or fine tune the skills they already have. Whether the student is a beginner or an advanced writer, the faculty works with each student to create and move toward individual goals in a supportive, noncompetitive environment.

What is the theatre component of the program?

In The Writer’s Theatre workshops, the creative process is explored in an intuitive and spontaneous fashion through improvisation, group projects, and games. Faculty and students participate together to give form and shape to both individual and collective expression. No prior theatre experience is necessary.

Who are the instructors for the program?

Our courses are taught by dedicated education professionals and Master of Fine Arts Writing Program candidates from Sarah Lawrence College. We also have a large support staff available to you and your student to assist with any questions that may arise.

When will i hear back about scholarship acceptance?

Scholarships are offered on a first come, first serve need basis until all scholarships have been allocated.

Program Costs

Deposit $100
Remaining tuition $625

A limited number of partial scholarships are available.