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).

Want to write a story for the chance to have it turned into a movie by PML? Now’s your chance!

Welcome to the Submit Your Story Challenge! 

Activity 1: The Fastest Story Ever

Activity 2: Stories Based on Pictures!

Activity 3: True Stories

Activity 4: It’s Simile Time!

Submit Your Story

Congratulations! You did it!

Submit a story here for the chance to have the PlayMakers turn it into a movie. It will be featured in a show specifically for your school or on our Patreon

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Would you rather make your own movie and send it to the PlayMakers to broadcast? Submit it here!
Submit Your Movie Here


For our activities page in Spanish, click here:

Recursos de aprendizaje en español

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“The most important thing that I learn was writing is full of magic. The best thing you will like about [PlayMakers Laboratory] is having a world of imagination.”

–Daniel, Lorca Elementary