Calling All Writers

New Course Offers Teen Playwrights a Place to Shine

Kit Steinkellner

What do you get when you combine the 2007 Tim Robbins Award winner with the “unparalleled quality” of Santa Barbara’s own Ballet Center? You get Kit Steinkellner’s teen playwriting and screenwriting classes. Starting this summer, Steinkellner’s new courses promise to bring out the inner Shakespeare in your young adult. Playwriting classes will take place Saturday afternoons starting Saturday, June 27, and run through Saturday, August 22, with screenwriting courses taking place on Sundays. The classes are held from 3-6 p.m. and cost $300 for all eight weeks. Each workshop has a limit of 10 students per class and students must signup by Monday, June 22. Email Steinkellner at for info. And read on below for just some of the things the courses have to offer.

1) Focus Groups: “It changed my world,” explained Steinkellner. “I didn’t really have focus or direction, and writing gave me an amazing tool that helped me build my life.” Throughout the eight-week course, Steinkellner hopes to share this focus with those who take her class. Students will learn how to devise dialogue, create characters, and percolate a plotline for stage productions.

2) Learning from the Master: “It’s emotionally fulfilling and emotionally rewarding. I feel like teens have a lot to say and there isn’t anyone to really listen to them; this is a good outlet,” said Steinkellner, who started her screen- and playwriting career in high school. Since her humble beginnings, Steinkellner has received the 2008 Jack Nicholson Prize in screenwriting and is the Feature Winner for the UCLA 2008 Graduate Screenwriting Showcase. She was also recognized by the Kennedy Center’s National Student Playwright competition last year.

3) Passion Makes Perfect: Students don’t have to be literary geniuses in order to participate in the workshop, however. Everyone and all levels are welcome; Steinkellner’s rule is that they “just have to be passionate about what they’re writing.”

4) Taking the Stage: “I hope they all win Academy Awards and Pulitzers-or at least finish their screenplays,” laughed Steinkellner. At the end of the program, her playwriting prodigies will be given the opportunity to give a public reading of their one-act creations. “That will be really helpful because there’s only so much that you can hear on the page,” she continued. “It’s really helpful for them to hear the actors interpreting their material, and learn how to make sure they are interpreting it correctly.”


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