Playwriting with Purpose: A Guide and Workbook for New Playwrights


Product Details

Publish Date
5.0 X 7.7 X 0.5 inches | 0.45 pounds

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About the Author

Jacqueline Goldfinger is an award-winning playwright, dramaturg, and librettist who seeks out unique collaborations, working across disciplines to create singular works of theater and opera. Her awards include the Yale Prize, the Opera America Discovery Grant, the Smith Prize, the Sloan Grant, the Independence Foundation Fellowship in the Arts, the Tennessee Williams Fellowship, and the Generations Award. She teaches workshops and seminars at college and university theater programs across the U.S., including at the University of California, Davis and San Diego, the University of Pennsylvania, and Temple University. For more information, visit


"I wish I had this book when I began my writing journey. It's fresh, funny, thought-provoking, and provides important insights into the industry so that playwrights can get their work on stage immediately."

Antoinette Nwandu, Award-Winning Playwright and Screenwriter, Pass Over (Broadway), She's Gotta Have It (Netflix)

"I love this book! It is a clear-eyed, direct, practical guide for playwrights of all experience levels."

Allison Horsley, Broadway Dramaturg and Translator, Jersey Boys, The Cherry Orchard

"Goldfinger's workbook combines well curated examples with engaging exercises and evocative writing prompts to create an endless array of customizable approaches to playwriting. It speaks to the full range of those interested in creating scripted drama - students and teachers, novices and experts."

David S. Thompson, Agnes Scott College, Georgia

"A refereshing and galvanizing treatise on the craft of playwriting. Great for emerging playwrights!"

Yussef El Guindi, Award-Winning Playwright, Back of the Throat, Language Rooms

"Read this book now. It is a gift to our students and our industry. It's going to revolutionize how we teach playwriting."

Jessica Bashline, Director-Actor, Theatre Professor at University of Miami

"I'm going to put this book on the Required Reading list for acting and directing classes. Actors and directors need to know how plays function in order to do their best work."

Margaret Laurena Kemp, Multi- Disciplinary Performance Artist, Theatre Professor at University of California, Davis

"[Goldfinger's] book -- a primer really -- is positive, practical, and concise, with twelve economical chapters and a set of appendices. [...] Playwrights reading the book might wish to have pen and paper at hand, or they might want to read the book in front of their computer with their fingers poised above the keyboard. The exercises, such as the character development questionnaires and the use of visual art to stimulate creativity, are indeed a strength here. [...] The approach in Playwriting with Purpose feels just right: to write a full-length play can feel overwhelming at first, but to write a monologue feels just right. Start small. The other day my fifth-grade daughter told me Confucius said, 'The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.' My advice? If the mountain is your play, let Goldfinger help you carry away some small stones."

Amy R. Martin, Southern Review of Books