Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Rhonda Wray, Contemporary Drama Service

Tell us about Contemporary Drama Service.

We have been around as Contemporary Drama Service since 1967, when Art Zapel wrote a Christmas play on the train as he commuted to work at a Chicago advertising agency. That first play, And the Child Was Born, grew into a company offering hundreds of plays of all types for churches and schools. A year ago, our company was sold to Brooklyn Publishers. We are now part of a multi-company group with scripts for the three main performers of amateur drama: community theatre, schools, and churches. I have been with the company for 25 years because what’s not to love about reading, writing, exploring our faith, and entertaining people?

What type of writer are you hoping to meet with at WTP?

I would love to discover a writer who has written “a little something” for his or her church to perform. A long list of publishing credits is not necessary. What is necessary is knowing the church audience, a flair for believable dialogue, and innovative ideas.

Give us a snapshot of your Friday afternoon class, "Writing Short Drama."

Everybody say "Cheese!" Actually, don't. We will learn why cheesy drama isn't always better. We will explore new uses for sketches. Must a short drama tell the whole story? We will discuss such questions. We will learn from each other, exchanging ideas about what has worked in our own congregations. We'll discuss themes, cast sizes, and working with the pastor. I just might break out a list of my Top 10 Dramatic Writing Pet Peeves. I would love to stage an informal script reading in our group, so bring your inner ham!

Read more about Contemporary Drama Service.

Write-to-Publish meets June 8 – 11
in the Chicago area.

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