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The Playwrights’ GYM

What is the Playwrights’ GYM?

 The Playwrights’ GYM is a program that provides local playwrights with the opportunity to workshop new work.  Playwrights’ GYM members are area professionals who are given various resources to help further their work. These resources include rehearsal space, collaboration with a director to assist the playwright, marketing, and public events supported by the theatre.  The GYM’s goal is to nurture new work in a safe environment, provide the “exercise” equipment needed to develop new plays by these Cleveland-area writers.

The GYM has two parts:

GYMreads: staged readings of full plays are conducted in the theatre. These are scheduled throughout the season.

GYMworks:  a “showcase” where scenes from full length plays or shorter theatrical works by GYM playwrights are performed in an annual or bi-annual event.


Cornell Hubert Calhoun III, a nominee for the 2013 Cleveland Arts Prize for Literature. He received a 2012 VSC Writing Fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center in Johnston, Vt. and was awarded the 2010 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award. His plays 2 Trains and Blue were recently selected for the 2013 DC Black Theater Festival in Washington, D.C. Mr. Calhoun is a three-time semi-finalist ( 2006, 2007 and 2013 ) at the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, for his works, East 43rd , A Tyme 4 Blue and Blue Silk.  His plays, Bloooz 4 an Early Autumn and Any Man & Five Cents were selected at The National Black Theater Festival in 2009 and 2011. He credits much of his success to Cleveland theatre legends, Reuben and Dorothy Silver long-time mentors. Mr. Calhoun holds a B.A. in English and a M.A. in Education.

Christopher Johnston is a playwright, director and freelance journalist. His play about a Vietnam veteran, Ghosts of War, premiered at Dobama in January 2013. His plays have appeared at Cleveland Public Theatre (Sexually Explicit Material, The Mind Field, Theories of Relativity, The Mad Mask Maker of Maigh Eo), Dobama Theater’s Night Kitchen (Murder in Mind, Loud Americans: A Punk Saga), and convergence-continuum (APORKALYPSE!, Spawn of the Petrosexuals ). Last Light, was performed at the West 78th Street Theatre Lab in New York. He has directed for The Bang & The Clatter Theatre Co., Charenton Theatre Co., CPT, Dobama, IngenuityFest, and Karamu House. He also teaches playwriting and nonfiction workshops at Cleveland State University. He has published more than 3,000 articles in numerous publications, including American Theatre, Balanced Living, Cleveland Magazine, Continental, The Plain Dealer, Progressive Architecture, Proto Magazine, Scientific American (online), and He ghostwrote The Way I Saw It, the memoirs of the late Marc Wyse, co-founder of Wyse Advertising.

Deborah Magid: Playwright/composer and lyricist, Deborah Magid is also a director, actor, singer, tech writer-editor, journalist, blogger, and all-round energetic gal.  She is attached to five Cleveland theaters including the Cleveland Play House as member of their prestigious Playwrights’ Unit, is a member of Dramatists’ Guild, and serves on the Board of the International Centre for Women Playwrights.  Deborah’s works are not genre-identifiable as they include drama, comedy, SciFi, short, long, straight, musical, rock opera, and RICHARD WAGNER’S ENTIRE RING CYCLE IN 10 MINUTES, a one-woman play that she performs with sock puppets. 

Larry Nehring has been based in Northeast Ohio for nearly two decades and has worked at nearly every theatre company in the area acting, directing, choreographing combat, or sign interpreting. Most recently he was VonTrapp at Porthouse, appeared in THE SEAFARER at Dobama, coached puppets for Cain Park’s AVENUE Q, choreographed sword fights for Cleveland School of the Arts’ CYRANO and directed (and inadvertently acted) in JACOB MARLEY’S CHRISTMAS CAROL at Weathervane. He was a featured actor at the 2013 ONE THEATRE WORLD conference for TYA/usa coordinated by the Kennedy Center and PlayhouseSquare. His film/TV work includes various commercials, AMERICAN SPLENDOR, 7 NIGHTS OF DARKNESS, and THE WAR THAT MADE AMERICA. He has workshopped scripts he has written at Dobama and through PlayhouseSquare’s LAUNCH program to develop new works.  He was a semi-finalist at the National Playwrights’ Conference and has four short plays published by Playscripts, Inc. (available online). He studied at the National Theatre Institute and is a proud member of Actor’s Equity, SAG/AFTRA, and the Dramatists Guild.

Faye Sholiton developed her work in the Cleveland Play House Playwrights’ Unit (1996-2011) and is a charter member of Dobama’s Playwrights’ Gym. Her full-length plays have been read and performed more than 45 times throughout the U.S., and in
London and have won her four Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence grants, plus many national honors. Scenes from THE INTERVIEW, V-E DAY, ALL THINGS BEING EQUAL, and TELLING LIVES appear in multiple anthologies and THE INTERVIEW is published by Speert Publishing. PANAMA, her newest full-length had staged readings recently at Dobama and at Detroit’s Marygrove College. Since 2009, she serves as Ohio Regional Representative to the Dramatists Guild. In 2011, she founded Interplay Jewish Theatre, a company that offers free staged readings of significant works on contemporary Jewish themes. Visit