A Dramatis Personae Workshop taught by Sarah Martin
Tuesday, March 24th, 7-10 PM
Hyde Park Theatre, 511 W. 43rd St.

$25 ScriptWorks members/ $35 General
Tickets and Reservations HERE

As purveyors of the pen, playwrights are doing much more than telling stories. The text of a play is the springboard for every visual and physical choice that will be made to bring the play to life. From the design choices and overall mood, to the actor’s movement and the pace of a performance, playwrights lay the groundwork upon which the world of the play comes to life. Given this foundational framework, playwrights are, in many ways, the first “designers” of a performance. 

What if playwrights employed design as a tool for writing plays?

What happens when a visual dramaturg collaborates with playwrights during the writing process?

Visual dramaturgs can provide collaborative assistance with not only factual research of time and place, but also with interpreting mood and emotion, asking specific questions about aspects of plays that directors and designers will be interpreting, and talking through perceived staging constraints to help clarify intent. A visual dramaturg’s sole purpose is to serve the development of a play with thoughtful, intentional dialogue about the kinds of decisions a directing/design team might make based on the language used in the text. In this way, playwrights are empowered to be more or less prescriptive with their work, allowing for more specificity or greater interpretation of their work as desired.

In this interactive visual dramaturgy workshop, we will explore how the elements of design in a script can influence what is possible in a staged production. Participants will play at the intersection of the playwright’s intent and the potential director and designer interpretation. We’ll also learn some new tools for visual brainstorming that could help clarify elusive questions of the more intangible aspects of mood, feeling, and the senses. 


Sarah has long been an advocate for and participant in the development of new theatrical work. As a former member of the Association for Theatre in High Education, she helped organize and participated in new play initiatives which paired playwrights, dramaturgs, and designers together to collaborate toward staged readings of new short plays in development. In her work as a devising designer she has had the opportunity to develop unique, collaboratively created works on a variety of topics around family, social justice, and mental health. She has presented workshops and panel discussions about Design and the Creative Process, Collaborative Creation, and Creativity as a catalyst for social-emotional development.  Sarah has been a resident designer for New York-based F*It Club’s Spring Fling play series, which commissions and fully produces an evening of new 10-minute plays. She is currently co-designing the 10th and final production of Spring Fling: Happily Every After in New York City this May.

Drawing on 15+ years of theatrical design and education experience, Sarah uses the tools of creativity, embodiment, expression and collaboration to help individuals and teams develop awareness and choice in whatever they do. With first-hand experience in a wide variety of collaborative and creative processes, she has intimate knowledge of how interpersonal dynamics and creative discomfort can affect even a finely-tuned process, and how developing embodied competencies can lead to greater clarity, resilience, productivity, and community. Her personal mission to create a world where we’re all comfortable with being a work in progress, meeting and navigating the joy and discomfort that goes along with living life out loud, in real-time. Sarah is an Associated Certified Embodied Yoga Principles teacher and is completing a certification in ontological coaching through The Newfield Network.

 Sarah is the Owner of Home|Body Creative, a coaching and facilitation practice whose mission is to cultivate emotional literacy in the modern world.