*The first two-week session is full. There are slots available for the third week.

Students are provided instruction in diverse writing genres including fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, drama, and screenwriting. Collaborative learning is a critical piece of the success of this program. Using the tools they have learned in Gifted Arts and in school, writers are expected to provide specific constructive feedback and criticism. The focus is on positive, thoughtful, and informative analysis of writing. The environment is designed to be stimulating, inspiring, and fun.

  • Where: Classes are held at the Webster Christian Church located at Lockwood and Berry Road in Webster Groves and at the Gaslight Theater located at 360 N. Boyle Avenue in the Central West End.
  • When: 6pm-9pm Mondays-Thursdays June 12-22 or Deep Dive June 12-29
  • Where: Webster Christian Church, Gaslight Theater, Shakespeare Glen in Forest Park.
  • Cost The cost of the two-week session is $300 and $425 for students who would like to continue for the third week.

Fiction…..Students learn about the basic elements of fiction: plot, character, setting, and theme with a particular focus on conflict development, voice, point-of-view, and dialogue. Then…they plug it all into their own writing.

Poetry…..Students learn poetry terms and write narrative, free verse, and formal poetry including sestina, sonnet, villanelle, and other forms.

Creative Nonfiction…..The most popular form of literature outselling fiction 10:1. This genre is all about writing a real story using fictive elements like conflict, setting, dialogue, developed characters, and a plotline.

Drama…..Just like any story, a play must have a beginning, middle & end. Students work on a one-act play and are taught the nine elements of playwriting including— dramatic conflict, strategies for dealing with the conflict, logical behavior, cause & effect, plot obstacles, forward action, developed character arc, and theatricality.

Screenwriting…..Students will learn elements of dramatic structure and character development. They are taught the six elements in a screenplay: scene heading, action, character, parenthetical, dialogue, and transition. *I encourage everyone to download Celtyx, free online screenwriting and playwriting software that automatically formats the written work.

Guest Artists

Syna So Pro, Syrhea Conaway, is a one-woman band who uses a multiplex of effects pedals, rack units, mixers, several instruments, and drum beats to create her live sound. It can best be described as musical performance art as she dances on an array of pedals, plays the violin, guitar, keys, bass and sings to create a wall of sound stitched together by Conaway herself. While Conaway sings about emotional rebirth through self-discovery and challenges of bringing us closer to ourselves, Syna So Pro is the musical glue that weaves the messaging and music together.

Nancy Bell is an award-winning actor, playwright, and director with particular interests in poetic language, highly theatrical staging and stylized performance techniques. She is an Assistant Professor of Theater and Voice and Speech at St. Louis University. She explores themes of social justice, power, and environmental crisis through the exploration of everyday human interaction. As a professional actor of more than twenty years, Nancy has worked most often on stylized theatrical texts. Most of her roles have been ones that require technical proficiency in voice, speech, dialects or movement. She specializes in roles that require intelligence, wit, and humor. Much of her acting work has been classical, including Moliere, Shaw, Shakespeare, and Ionesco. Nancy has often worked with playwrights on new plays, as well. She is also a playwright and writes about power, both political and personal. As the resident playwright at Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, Nancy Bell writes contemporary adaptations of Shakespeare based on original research conducted in diverse St. Louis neighborhoods. Each play requires a year of research, interviews, and outreach in a specific neighborhood in our city.

After dabbling in the short story genre for several years, Michael Currinder took the plunge and wrote his first YA novel, RUNNING FULL TILT. He grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, where he ran cross-country and track, and earned an athletic scholarship to the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where he majored in English Literature. His first novel is a hybrid of his collective experiences as a talented high school runner and his close, yet complicated, relationship with his older autistic sibling. His next novel is set in Central America and focuses on a group of high school students on a summer service learning trip. As things unravel they learn more about themselves and what it’s like living in the developing world. Mike has been an international educator for close to two decades, having lived in China, Taiwan, and the Philippines. Mike and his wife, Dana, are now on year nine in Tokyo with their rescue dog, Leo.

Katie Rogers is Co-Teacher for Gifted Arts in the high school program. Katie Rodgers is in her second year as co-teacher in Gifted Arts. Katie works as an elementary teacher and as a yoga teacher. She has also worked as a middle school ELA and math teacher. Katie attended the University of Minnesota earning a B.A. in art history and National-Louis University earning an M.Ed in Special Education. Katie writes on mindfulness, yoga philosophy and practice in daily life.

Laurel Button is excited to return to Gifted Arts as a teacher-intern. She has previously worked with Gifted Arts’ middle school program, and well as attended Gifted Arts as a student. Currently, Laurel is in her junior year at Saint Louis University, where she is double majoring in Theatre and Computer Science. Her true passion for writing lies in playwriting. She was selected as a Finalist in the Labute New Theatre Festival’s first High School competition for her one-act play Little Star in the Sky–which she originally created in Gifted Arts.

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