Find out more about our In-School Residencies and Professional Development Workshops here!

PlayMakers Laboratory’s workshop and performance model puts students’ ideas first. PML facilitators conduct weekly creative writing workshops in Chicago elementary school classrooms, grades 3 through 8.

Our 6 to 8-week In-school residencies are team-taught by 4 trained PML teaching artists.

The goals of our in-school arts education programs are:

  • To teach students fundamental creative writing skills which support the efforts of classroom teachers.
  • To provide consistent and nurturing attention to each student over a sustained period of time by providing a team of PML facilitators.
  • To build student confidence in self-expression, self-esteem, and writing skills by providing workshops that create a safe and supportive place to explore thoughts and ideas.
  • To perform high quality, critically-acclaimed theater to students we serve and the broader community.
  • To form partnerships that allow students to further their personal artistic expression and personal development.

Since our inception in 1997 we have worked in over 60 Chicago Public Schools. More than 10,000 elementary school students, primarily in low-income communities, have participated in the PML programs that provide an opportunity for creative expression and build literacy skills, self-esteem, and confidence in students’ ideas and abilities.

We also offer professional development workshops to CPS Teachers If you are looking for a fun, innovative, and engaging PD for your schools’ teachers and staff, we have the perfect workshop!

Integrating Arts and Creative Drama Into Your Classroom

Utilizing improvisation and creative drama techniques in the classroom is a great strategy for social-emotional learning and classroom management. This 90-120 minute Professional Development workshop for classroom teachers, education students, and teaching artists is a great way to gain practical and engaging improv/creative drama techniques and activities for classroom integration and will assist teachers with reflecting on imaginative ways to explore and align content with creative drama

Team Building Through Storytelling

An exploration of community development and team building utilizing creative drama, improv, and storytelling techniques. This 90-120 minute professional development is for teachers, young adults; high school college, and corporate/work teams.

For more information about our in-school residencies or professional development workshops, please contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

How to Write A Story

Step 1: Learn the basics of writing!
Step 2: Try some writing activities on your own!


Activity 1: The Fastest Story Ever

Activity 2: Stories Based on Pictures!

Activity 3: True Stories

Activity 4: It’s Simile Time!


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For our activities page in Spanish, click here:

Recursos de aprendizaje en español

Click here for virtual videos PlayMakers Lab created during the Pandemic as a part of PlayMakers Media Lab

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“The residency exceeded my expectations! The monkey teachers were wonderful and their enthusiasm was contagious.”

–3rd Grade Teacher, Lorca Elementary