Anne Hamilton/Hamilton Dramaturgy


Paule Constable’s Design Approach: A Painterly Approach to Lighting and Language

Paule Constable knows when she’s working at her best: “I’m happiest when the lighting and the emotional language of a piece become one.”The UK resident has been a key creative designer on several of this year’s most lauded productions and recently the proud recipient of the 2011 Tony (R) Award for Best Lighting of A Play for WAR HORSE (Lincoln Center Theatre).

She made her mark in 1992 with a groundbreaking design for Theatre de Complicite’s STREET OF CROCODILES, the first show lit by a woman at the National Theater, which toured the world. In 2005, after years of nominations, she became the first female lighting designer to win the Olivier Award (HIS DARK MATERIALS, National Theater) and promptly made it a triple, winning again in 2006 for DON CARLOS (West End), then again in 2009 for THE CHALK GARDEN (Donmar Warehouse).

“My approach is about telling the story,” she says. “I work between the director and the designer to realise the world of both. My job is to create an image out of darkness and then add light for the actors. That painterly approach has influenced a generation of theater artists. What I love most is watching actors rehearse. All I do is heighten the architecture around them to release what they can do.”

Please check the blog in mid-July to hear a podcast of Paule on TheatreNow!



Anne Taught Screenwriting/Playwriting Workshop at Philadelphia Writer’s Conference

I had the pleasure of teaching a scriptwriting workshop at the Philadelphia Writer’s Conference from June 3rd through 5th.  One of the nation’s oldest writing conferences, past instructors have included the great novelist Pearl S. Buck. Close to 200 participants attended. I taught three one-hour sessions to about 25 class members on topics including: dramatic elements, the dramatic form, developing character and storyline, differences in formatting between screenplays and stage plays, the writer’s life, cultivating self-expression, and myths and truths about professional writers. I gave the students several writing exercises in free form expression and writing taglines. I discussed the opening from the screenplay WINTER’S BONE to demonstrate characterization, diction, and tone. Class members read roles in a scene from a terrific comedy written by another participant, and I taught them how to give feedback in an appropriate and constructive manner.  Finally, I read two excerpts from my own work to illustrate the use of imagery and high dramatic stakes – the opening of AND THEN I WENT INSIDE, Part II of  THE STACY PLAY – A LOVE SONG – VOLUME I, and the monologue RED RIBBON TIE, which is part of ANOTHER WHITE SHIRT.

I will be looking for other opportunities to serve as a conference workshop leader. Thank you, PWC.

Here are testimonials from four of my students:

“I had the privilege of attending one of Anne Hamilton’s playwriting workshops at the 2011 Philadelphia Writer’s Conference. As an emerging playwright I found her workshop to be superbly instructive; submission formats and targets for submitting plays were particularly helpful. Her in-class writing exercises and prompts were excellent workshop fuel and her reading from her own piece about the 9/11 attacks was galvanizing. It’s good to know there is a resource like her out there as my portfolio of plays continues to evolve.”

-Lisa S. Lutwyche has a BFA in painting, a BA in Art History, and spent 28 years in corporate and residential architecture and design, teaching creative writing at a community arts center since 1992.  After attending AROHO (A Room of Her Own, a selective, bi-annual women’s writing retreat in New Mexico) in 2009, and a workshop there with playwright Ellen McLaughlin, Lisa started writing plays.  She had her first one-act play, THE FALL, produced in the 2010 Philadelphia Fringe Festival.  A poet, novelist, essayist and playwright, she is currently working on her MFA in Creative Writing through a low residency program at Goddard College in Vermont.

“Anne Hamilton provides an outstanding workshop for aspiring playwrights and screenwriters.  She speaks from a wealth of experience as a playwright and dramaturg and is able to impart her knowledge clearly and in a manner that is helpful to those on every level of proficiency.  Her handouts, which cover key elements of dramatic writing as well as formatting, are useful, plus she excels at establishing a warm, encouraging presence that infuses the insightful critiques of work submitted by members of the workshop.  I strongly recommend her.”

Diana Pazicky, Assistant Professor of English, Temple University

“Anne Hamilton’s recent Playwriting/Screenwriting Workshop at the 2011 Philadelphia Writer’s Conference was intriguing and informative. Her experience as a Dramaturge was put to good use in passing-on solid, technical information on Playwriting, together with “tricks-of-the trade” and some of her own powerful, inspirational writing.”

Nick Lutwyche has nearly 50 years of experience in military aviation engineering and operations,with 25 of those years in Royal Navy aviation including active service. He has had long time involvement in Community Theatre in the UK and the USA, which has helped preserve his sanity. His roles in many venues include  Actor/Back Stage/Front-of-House/Scenery/Construction/Trash-hauling/Lighting. One day he will write that play…

“I had the pleasure of taking Anne Hamilton’s screenwriting workshop at the Philadelphia Writers Conference. Ms. Hamilton offered a wonderful overview of techniques, examples of works and priceless information for breaking into the business. To be honest, I was on the fence as to whether or not I wanted to pursue screenwriting. However, Ms. Hamilton was so encouraging and inspiring that I applied to MFA programs that same day! Her workshop was truly an invaluable experience and easily my favorite of the three day conference.”

Porsha Addison, Aspiring Screenwriter/MFA Student



Anne’s ROYAL/EGG a Finalist in Red Bull Theater Competition

My ten-minute play ROYAL/EGG was a finalist in Red Bull Theater’s New Short Play Competition. Red Bull Theater is a New York-based theater company specializing in plays of heightened language, with a unique focus on the Jacobean plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. I am very honored to have advanced to the finals. My play features five princesses including Elizabeth I and Marie Antoinette and explodes the myth of a “happily ever after” life when a princess comes of age. It’s a great vehicle for two actresses.

ROYAL/EGG is published by Hamilton Dramaturgy Press in THE STACY PLAY – A LOVE SONG – VOLUME I And Other Plays and Poetry, available in paperback and ebook through http://www.lulu.com.



The Anthropologists Develop “ANOTHER PLACE” at HERE in NYC

One of the many programs which Kristin Marting runs is the Spring Artist Lodge at HERE, where she serves as the Artistic Director. Kristin gave a fascinating interview on Hamilton Dramaturgy’s TheatreNow!  in Season One.

I am pleased to have been introduced to an emerging theatre company called The Anthropologists, which recently completed a full production at the Spring Artist Lodge. Their devised piece called ANOTHER PLACE was written and directed by Melissa F. Moschitto. Most amazingly, they spent only $15 on the costumes. Some of the pieces shown to me by costume designer Christina Kim? An apron made of wallpaper and a necklace made of plastic bags sourced from a takeout lunch. The entire design budget (lights, set, costumes) was $500, almost entirely using repurposed and recycled goods.

(Photo credits: Kim-Nora Moses)

Here is a short statement by Melissa, who is also The Anthropologists’ Artistic Director, on the development of ANOTHER PLACE.

“The performance-in-process at HERE was an incredibly successful exploration of character, story and design elements.  Over the course of the five weeks of development the script changed tremendously thanks to the inquisitive and generous nature of the acting ensemble.  We worked to both condense the scope of the subject matter and characters (based on our Spring 2010 exploratory workshop), while enriching characters with a lot of detail.  We also gave ourselves space to test out potential characters and storylines as well as ideas related to choreography and movement.  We’ll now take a close look at what was successful and what might not make it to the next draft.

Our next steps will include further development in Fall 2011 with workshops focused on script development and movement and dance.  We’ll be looking to involve the audience in less formal but more intimate ways.  We’re also building partnerships with scientific organizations to augment our research as well as environmental and community organizations with whom to develop free theatre-based workshops surrounding themes in the play.  The ultimate goal will be a full production in early 2012.” – Melissa F. Moschitto