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Arts Toolkit

Arts Toolkit: Drama Video Clips

Playwriting: Marsha Norman



Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Marsha Norman, a Louisville native, tells how and why she began writing plays and describes advice she received from Actors Theatre of Louisville Director Jon Jory. The excerpt also includes a discussion of the opening of Norman’s play Getting Out. It is from Signature, a KET documentary series that humanizes and demystifies the creative process through profiles of contemporary Southern writers. Each program features interviews with the writer as well as colleagues, friends, and relatives; visits to places that have affected the writer’s work; and author readings and performance excerpts. Six 60-minute programs have been produced to date, profiling novelists Bobbie Ann Mason, Ed McClanahan, and Barbara Kingsolver and playwrights Marsha Norman and George C. Wolfe—all Kentucky natives—as well as novelist Lee Smith from nearby Grundy, Virginia.

Suggested Uses:

  • as an introduction to the role of playwright
  • as insight into the skills and training needed to become a playwright
  • as a prompt for student writing, using Jory’s advice to Norman as advice to be followed/adapted by students
  • to analyze and discuss how an individual’s experiences affect the writing/creating process in theater

Lesson plans using this resource:

  • Exploring Careers in Theater (9-12)
    Students discuss lessons learned from the lives of Kentucky playwrights Marsha Norman and George C. Wolfe and, following the playwrights’ advice, draw from their own life experiences to develop short plays.


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