Program Spotlight: Powerhouse Theater Training [Playwright Review]

Interested in attending the Powerhouse Theater Training Program? Then be sure to continue reading to hear first hand from a student about their life-changing summer at Powerhouse!

I stumbled into The Powerhouse Theater Training Program almost by accident. The spring before my final semester of college at Central Michigan University, as a Musical Theatre major, I spent all my free time auditioning for summer theater companies and generally trying to figure out how I fit in the world as an artist and soon-to-be college graduate. After attending an informational call-back with Producing and Education Director Michael Sheehan, I found out about the Powerhouse playwriting program. The timing of this meeting was nothing short of serendipitous. I had just finished writing a script that turned out to be the first of many, and I used that work to apply to (and ultimately be accepted into) the program as a playwright.

My time at Powerhouse as a playwriting apprentice can be described as immersive, rigorous, and thrilling. Each morning we woke up, took classes in acting, directing, and writing, spent our afternoons observing the professional company’s rehearsals, and dedicated our evenings to writing and creating our own art. This was an absolute dream for someone like me who is passionate about multiple elements of theater. Being able to take classes in movement and acting while learning about writing new work was so fulfilling to me as an artist.

One of my favorite parts of the program was the weekly “Roundtable Discussion” where the playwriting and directing participants would meet with faculty and administrators to talk about the art we were taking in and creating. We spent time unpacking the rehearsals and performances we experienced and asked tough questions like “What kind of artists do we want to be?” “What does our art represent?” “What kinds of systems does our art contribute to?” I’ve never been a part of a company that so deeply and sincerely asked us to explore ourselves as creators and to examine the external impact we had when we worked on a project. I felt challenged to make decisions about who I was and where I belonged in an artistic community.

Leaving Powerhouse filled me with motivation and encouragement. I left with a tangible set of artistic tools to forge my path as a young creator, maker, and doer. I’ve always found a home in composing and writing my own work, but Powerhouse taught me that it’s okay to call myself a playwright and take myself seriously. The experiences I had as a playwriting apprentice celebrated new work, celebrated failure, and celebrated the beauty that comes from just putting pen to paper and making something happen. I continue to carry these values with me as I write and perform. I’m overwhelmingly grateful for the friendships and lessons I gained during my summer with The Powerhouse Theater Training Program.

– Claire-Frances Sullivan, Playwriting Student/Powerhouse Theater Training Program, Summer 2017


To learn more about The Powerhouse Theater Training Program visit their Acceptd page here.