WRITING FOR THE EAR: THE VISUAL ART & CRAFT OF AUDIO (RADIO) DRAMA – Sunday, April 25, 4PM – 5:30PM Pacific Time.  Presented on Zoom by writer-producer Rick Toscan.

Workshop Description:

Radio drama – audio drama or fiction podcasts as it’s called now – is often thought of as an experience for our ears, but it’s actually a highly visual form of storytelling. We’ll explore audio drama structure, story elements and patterns, dialogue, the uses of screenwriting and playwriting techniques, the incorporation of sound effects and environmental ambience, script formats, and the techniques of audio docudramas like Serial – the most popular form of audio drama today. We’ll compare US practices with those in the UK where the development of techniques has been continuous, and implications for writers in the current US transition from nonprofit to commercial studio production of fiction podcasts. And we’ll examine what’s helpful for writers to know about audio production in creating compelling scripts for this visual theatre of the mind. Workshop participants will receive a resource guide on writing audio drama today with best practice examples, submission opportunities, and Word templates for US and UK/BBC script formats.



Richard Toscan’s audio dramas have been broadcast by the BBC (Radio 1 & World Service), ABC (Australia), CBC (Canada), and in the US by Pacifica and NPR. He was executive producer and story editor of the original 13-episode Star Wars radio series for Lucasfilm, the BBC, and NPR, a production credited with increasing the audience for public radio in America by 40%. Other audio adaptations include work by Raymond Chandler, Damon Knight, and Ed Bullins. He was an Armstrong Award nominee for Creative Use of the Radio Medium and a founding member of First Stage, the Los Angeles new play development program. His handbook, Playwriting Seminars 2.0 is a widely used resource in the field.



Play Cafe, Dramatists Guild and TBA Members: $15

Non-members: $25.


Write to programs@playcafe.org if you are uncertain whether your membership is current.

About Play Cafe membership:



Registrants will be sent an email with a Zoom link.  The Resource Guide will be sent via email close to the date of the workshop.


JEDI DRAMATURGY WORKSHOP - “JEDI” stands for “justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.” Sunday, May 16, 4PM – 5:30PM Pacific Time, presented by dramaturg Melissa Hillman.

Workshop Description:

“JEDI” stands for “justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion”: in other words, some of the most important considerations for playwrights today. This workshop is designed to give playwrights an introduction to engaging with JEDI in your work in thoughtful, productive ways. We’ll address:

  • Why we no longer say “color-blind” or “handicapped” & more on the latest terminology

  • Recognizing racist and racialized tropes-- including what “racialized” means-- and elevating your work above them

  • Writing disability without ableism

  • The dangers of “ironic bigotry” 

  • Intent vs Impact


And other tips for writing characters whose identities are different than yours. 


This one workshop can only cover the tip of the iceberg, so after the workshop, you’ll be given a handout full of links and book recommendations for further study. 


REGISTRATION & DETAILS: https://tinyurl.com/re4pztbn

Suggested donation of $15-$25. Registrants will be sent an email with a Zoom link



Melissa Hillman has been working in new play development in the Bay Area for over 20 years, most notably as the Artistic Director of Impact Theatre. She holds a PhD in Dramatic Art from UC Berkeley, and has taught there, CSU East Bay, the Berkeley Digital Film Institute, and the Berkeley Rep School of Theatre. She currently provides private dramaturgical consulting (melissahillman.com) in addition to her work as a dramaturg with Play Cafe. Her specializations include developmental dramaturgy and JEDI-focused dramaturgy (justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion). 



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