Learn the fundamentals of narrative construction or gain help mastering your already developed skills and works. Andrew offers classes and services for both beginning and advanced playwrights. Start today!

Photo by Daniel Axler

Foundations of Playwriting

Playwriting allows writers to tell stories using a unique medium–live performance.  But how to leverage the opportunity so that writers harness the full power of the audience’s imagination?   The headlines:

  • Attend five sessions over five weeks
  • Learn seven key elements of narrative structure
  • Create an outline for a short play and receive input
  • Write the play; hear it read by local actors; receive critique
  • Rewrite the play based on the critique; hear it a second time; receive additional feedback
  • Leave the class with a submission-ready ten-minute play

Photo by Daniel Axler

Advanced Playwriting Workshop

Okay, you’re ready to want to start writing a full-length play….now what?  You’ve written at least one short play, maybe a few.  You understanding the basic elements of narrative construction and know how to use them….mostly.  You may have even written a full-length play and want to start another one.  You are pretty sure you already have an idea already you want to develop, or you may have some pages.  And you think could use some support to stay on track during the writing process.  This workshop is for you!  The headlines:

  • Attend eight sessions over eight weeks
  • Work on a new ten-minute play, a one act or develop a full-length play
  • Present an outline for a full-length and have it “workshopped”
  • Bring in new pages every week (10-15 pages)
  • Hear the pages read by professional actors, followed by a critique
  • Rewrite the pages or move to the next section of your play (playwright choice)
  • Discuss other students’ plays; learn by giving feedback; see changes and growth in others’ work
  • Become part of a writers’ community

Special workshops are offered for writers who have a full-length play in hand and want to commit time to developing this one specific work:  Look for the Master Playwriting Clinic for Full-Length Plays.

Photo by Daniel Axler

Short Play Showcase

Beginning in 2015, Andrew worked with Indy Fringe and the Indiana Writers Center to co-produce a showcase of student playwright work in evening of short (ten-minute) plays written by playwrights from the Indiana Writers Center.  Over the years, the event has been very successful, giving lots of student playwrights, aspiring directors and part-time actors the chance to demonstrate their craft. All performances sold out; we had to keep waiting lists. 

Each of six ten-minute plays needs to be “adopted” by a local Indianapolis theater company.  The company will provide a director from its stable, and the director will cast the plays from the actors in his/her network, mostly actors who work frequently at the theater.  (Most plays only have 2-3 characters.)  The director and the actors work independently (with the student playwright in tow) to interpret and stage the short play.    

The playwrights get the experience of having a live production, working with a theater, a director and actors and then, the thrill of seeing the work performed.  Each year, playwrights who have taken classes from Andy at the IWC submit their best plays, and the best of the best are produced in the festival.  Preference is given to new playwrights who have not yet had productions but have very strong work. Note:  Only playwrights who have taken playwriting classes at the IWC are eligible for this playfest..

Photo by Daniel Axler

Play Reading and Personal Mentoring

For a fee, Andrew meets and works with playwrights privately on individual scripts.  He typically reads the play or work in progress and meets with a playwright virtually for four sessions to critique, suggest re-writes, re-read and then create an action plan for moving forward.  
Another service he can provide is to set up a developmental or staged reading of a play in development.  Such a reading, with a small audience and real actors, usually in conjunction with a local theater, gives the playwright a chance to hear the work or even see it on its feet, and assess what is working and what could be improved.   Andrew leads a post-reading discussion designed to provide useful feedback to the playwright that can inform a re-write.  Click on “Work with Andrew One on One” for more info.



What Andrew’s Students Are Saying…

“Andy stretches your brain in all the right places.”

“The experience was enlightening and delightful! I learned so much.”

“Andrew’s knowledge and generosity with help in my plays – his ideas about what to change worked so well.”

“I’ve taken many writing classes and enjoyed all of them, but this was an amazing class.”

“Having actors come in and read the work was a new experience and very rewarding.”

“Fantastic class that teaches you the structure of a short play, helps you finish and polish a piece and have it performed.”

 “Any writer can get valuable insight into character, plot and theme regardless of the writer’s preferred genre.”

“Andy Black has taken Indianapolis theatre to a new level, giving aspiring playwrights an opportunity to share their gift with the world, and connecting actors with previously unknown writers. Andy is an amazing teacher and mentor and I recommend his classes to writers of all skill levels. No matter what genre you are drawn to, you will walk away with valuable tips to improve your writing.”

 “Andy is perfect at navigating both a novice and advanced writer in the many complicated dimensions of playwriting. His passion and knowledge was essential to my growth. I went from hoping to writing a play to creating a fully formed play that is to be performed soon in just one class. Andy is an absolute gift to the Indy Arts community.”

Classes are offered throughout the year at the Indiana Writers Center, Broad Ripple/Indianapolis, Indiana.

The Indiana Writers Center (IWC) believes that everyone has a unique story to tell; and the goal is simple: to help you tell it. For more than 30 years, the IWC has worked to foster a vibrant writing community in Indiana, providing education and enrichment opportunities for both beginning and accomplished writers. Located in the Cultural Complex of the Indianapolis Art Center in Broad Ripple, the IWC offers a variety of classes and workshops led by some of Indiana’s best writers (including Andrew Black, playwright).  . In addition, the IWC hosts literary events such as readings, open mics, critique groups, and the annual Gathering of Writers to instruct, inspire, and connect writers throughout the state.