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Co-presented with Marfa Independent School District

9th Annual High School Playwriting Workshop taught by Playwright Caridad Svich

Zoom online / Virtual Platform

April 13-17, 2020 


Marfa Live Arts and Marfa Independent School District virtually welcome Caridad Svich as their 2020 guest playwright. Caridad will teach the 9th annual Marfa High School Playwriting Workshop on April 13-17, 2020. Students will be led through a series of creative writing exercises via an online platform that will result in each student writing their own original one-act play. 


Marfa Live Arts director Jennie Lyn Hamilton talks with guest playwright Caridad Svich and MISD English teacher Linda Ojeda about the workshop and how the process during this unique time in history will benefit the students. Hamilton shares, “I’m really glad we have this option to let the kids continue learning, and I think that having this program will be a good exercise for them to express some of what they’re going through.” Teacher Linda Ojeda agrees, “I think it’s very important because we’re going to give them the opportunity to have a mission, mentally get away, remove themselves from the crazy that’s happening around them. Because whether they like or not, or whether they admit it or not, they are not comfortable with just being trapped wherever they’re at. And I don’t know every students’ household situation, but I know this is an outlet for a lot of kids to at least mentally escape what is around them right now. Several articles that I’ve been reading are saying that the arts (theater, books, television) are helping us remain sane through all of this. It’s giving us an opportunity to escape the crazy. Because right now, everyone’s routine is totally off. Also, I think the playwriting program gives the kids an opportunity to shape an opportunity for hope. Being able to do this is going to be good for them.”

Caridad speaks to her process, “I will be encouraging some sort of daily practice. Even if it’s small, because I know that’s probably where most people are at. It’s going to be about looking at different topics and writing plays in terms of structure, inspiration and impetus. And then doing guided work, but guided work in the sense that if I’m putting it on Zoom then they can do at their leisure during the week and not feel pressured.” She continues, “After grad school I trained in mostly sensorial spaces so the prompts tend to circle around experiential, environmental, memory, the senses and then on top of that we begin something around foundation and structure. I will wave in prompts that are aimed to figure out what you do with the material that you’re generating. So you don’t feel at a loss and the idea is still making a play, so you know how to approach the writing at a desk with some sort of guide. 







She is alumna playwright of New Dramatists. She has received fellowships from Harvard/Radcliffe, NEA/TCG, PEW Charitable Trust, and California Arts Council. She holds an MFA in Theatre-Playwriting from UCSD, and she also trained for four consecutive years with Maria Irene Fornes in INTAR’s legendary HPRL Lab. She teaches creative writing and playwriting at Rutgers University-New Brunswick and Primary Stages’ Einhorn School of Performing Arts. She has taught playwriting at Bard, Barnard, Bennington, Denison, Ohio State, ScriptWorks, UCSD, and Yale School of Drama.

As founder of NoPassport Press, she recently published 21 Short Plays for the 21st Century by Marfa Shorthorns, a book of plays written by Marfa High School students during the 2019 playwriting program. 

Caridad will also serve as judge in reviewing the student plays. Nearly 80 finished plays will be in consideration for final selection. In the nine years of the workshop’s history, students have written almost 800 one-act plays. Playwriting classes are provided online to the school at no cost. A virtual staged reading of winning one-act plays will be offered to the public on Wednesday, April 22, 2020.

Photos by Jessica Lutz from 2019.


Marfa Live Arts and the staged reading are generously supported by the Texas Women for the Arts, Marfa Education Foundation, and Marfa Independent School District. This program could not be realized without the collaboration of Marfa Independent School District’s Superintendent Oscar Aguero, Principal John Sherrill, PhD and educators Linda Ojeda, Mary Mois, Sabra Laviers and Caridad Svich. Special thanks to Big Bend Sentinel and Marfa Public Radio. T

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