May 28 – May 29, 2021

7 pm on Friday – Saturday

$10   available at the door only


All students, grades 6-12

March 01, 2021

Submission Deadline

SUBMIT YOUR ONE-ACT PLAY in Standard Manuscript Format

Kidswrite 2020 Script Cover SMALL


Every spring, Burning Coal Theatre receives play submissions from local 6th-12th graders that are then professionally produced for the public.  Burning Coal has assembled a team of skilled theatre artists to bring these young writers’ stories to life.  

The KidsWrite Festival was created in 2004 to encourage young writers in central NC by producing their original one act plays.  Finalists are chosen from numerous submissions.  Those scripts are produced at the theatre and then published in a book available for purchase. 

To encourage the young writers of North Carolina, Burning Coal each year holds a festival of new plays, written by students from 6th grade to 12th grade from Wake and surrounding counties.  To submit a play, please click here for the application.

The 2021 KidsWrite performance will take on place May 28 & 29, 2021. TICKETS for the 7 pm performances are $10 apiece and available at the door only.  If the pandemic is still in effect, we will present the performances livestreams, free of charge.  For additional information, please call 919.834.4001.

Created in 2004, Kidswrite will be accepting submissions of one-act plays from students and producing a number of them each year at Burning Coal Theatre (The Murphey School Auditorium). Please help us spread the word and help our next generation of writers!  The deadline each year for submission is March 1st, 2021.

Original one-act plays, less than 45 pages in standard manuscript format written by a student, grades 6 -12, are eligible.  Writers, please send submissions along with a letter including your name, address, email address or phone number, grade and school. You may submit your work by email to or in the mail at Burning Coal Theatre, 224 Polk Street, Raleigh, NC 27604.

Writers are notified by mid-April. All writers will receive written feedback.


Piedmont Laureate Tamara Kissane speaks on Kidswrite! 


Taught by Burning Coal Professional Theatre Artist

WillPower! is our Education Outreach Program that works in collaboration with public and private schools throughout central North Carolina, to place a trained professional theatre artist in school for residencies from one day to six weeks in duration.

FullSizeRenderFounded in our second season (1998/99), WillPower! was originally developed to educate elementary, middle, and high school students about the works of William Shakespeare and has since matured into a tailored curriculum for students covering topics such as acting, movement, improv, theatre history, spoken word poetry and devising.  We can also take the lead on creating a FULL PRODUCTION at your school (or online during the Coronavirus pandemic).

The residencies bring a trained, professional theatre artist into your school to conduct a workshop or performance with your drama, theatre, or English classes.

Whether you are looking for new ways to approach Shakespeare, or to strengthen your students’ performance skills with additional training tools, or introduce new perspectives and methods to enrich your students’ classroom experience, Burning Coal’s guest artists bring both advanced training and our signature passion.  Every residency is custom designed to meet the needs of each individual class, school and teacher. We custom tailored curriculum courses in every theatrical discipline with flexible residency lengths.

AND we can also put together a tour trip to NEW YORK CITY, LONDON or any other theatre capital that your group would like to travel to.  We do it cheaply AND we do it with the personal touch, making sure your group stays right in the heart of the City and sees and does things that you want to do.   CLICK HERE to view a FAQ sheet.

We look forward to working with you to design a curriculum that ignites the fuse within each of your students!

WillPower! Residencies

Full Production

  • In the year of the Coronavirus, the safest way to produce theatre is online.  We are happy to work with your school to create a ‘fully mounted’ virtual production.  We would work with your students online for a month to rehearse, design, stage and present a fully realized production.  All you need to do is pick the play, get the rights to it, cast it and provide the time frame in which the students will be available.  We’ll do the rest.  Fee:  $2,000.

Acting Workshop:  Scene Study

  • Students will be assigned a scene from a play chosen by their teacher. They will also be assigned a scene partner and will be expected to read the entire play. We will rehearse these scenes in a workshop format each session, with each student watching and learning how to effectively evaluate the work of their classmates as well as how to process feedback regarding their own work.
  • Through rehearsal and practice, students will learn about dramatic structure, as well as acting techniques from the Stanislavski System such as ‘objective’ and ‘action’
  • Additionally, each student will gain a better understanding of the rehearsal process in which the text is the primary consideration.
  • Teach basic dramatic structure and text analysis through practical exploration within a rehearsal setting
  • Workshops that are 2 weeks or longer will culminate in a performance of the material created by the students.

      Fee:  $500 per week (number of weeks may vary).

Acting Workshop: Monologues

  • At the first session, each student will be assigned a monologue to learn which they will then be led through a series of techniques in order to bring a piece of text to life without a scene partner. Students will learn acting techniques such as relaxation and focus, as well as objective and action, in order to master their monologue.
  • Students will learn basic text analysis through rehearsal
  • 1-4 Weeks with option of performance for the final week

      Fee:  $500 per week.

Devised Theatre
A crash course in one of the most exciting, cutting-edge forms of theatre today, which emphasizes collaboration and creativity. Concludes with a performance of a student-devised show.

1-8 Weeks
Fee:  $500 per week.

Monologues: The College Audition Workshop

This class is designed for high school students looking to sharpen their monologue repertoire and audition skills.  Perfect for those who are auditioning for BFA Acting programs, both in the US and abroad.

One Session:

Workshop:  Students may arrive with their chosen monologue memorized.  Each student will workshop their chosen monologue, through focused instruction on finding a clear objective, as well as what to expect during the audition process.  We will prepare students for the possible questions to expect in the room and typical adjustments they might receive.

Two Sessions:

Monologue Selection Students may arrive with 2-3 options memorized that we will assess according to what is appropriate for a university entrance audition.  The philosophies of different theatre programs will be discussed as well as what monologue might be most appropriate for each school.

Workshop:  Each student will then workshop their chosen monologue, learning about and exploring clear objectives and actions, as well as what to expect during the audition process. Each Student will be led through a series of techniques in order to bring a piece of text to life without a scene partner.Students will learn basic text analysis of the entire play from which the monologue has originated.

Three Sessions:

Monologue Selection, Extended Workshop and a Mock Audition in which students will learn what it means when professionals say “the audition begins the minute you walk through the door and doesn’t end until you leave.”

Fee:  $200 per session.

Performance Styles

A course designed to introduce students to various acting styles (performance art, absurdist, period movement, etc.) outside of conventional realism.

(1-4 Weeks)

      Fee:  $350 per week.

Production Assistance
The teaching artist will provide support on a school-sponsored production. Support includes workshops, general production help, or the direction of the production.

1-8 Weeks|
Fee:  $250 per week.


An in-depth exploration of the acting/ensemble methods popularized by Anne Bogart and the SITI Company, with classes covering character creation and ensemble work.

(1-2 Weeks)

Fee:  $350 per week

Viola Spolin Improvisation Workshop
Viola Spolin is the internationally recognized originator of Theater Games – the basis of improvisational theater. Along with her son, Paul Sills, Viola Spolin created the techniques utilized by the cast of Chicago’s Second City as well as every other improvisational comedy troupe ever since.  From Chicago’s settlement houses to the Young Actor’s Company, the Compass Players, Second City as well as in thousands of institutions of education and healing throughout the world Viola Spolin taught us to play and to discover our creative potential. Spolin has introduced her work not only to students and professionals in theater, but to elementary and secondary education, schools for gifted and talented programs, curriculum studies in English, religion, mental health, psychology, and in centers for the rehabilitation of delinquent children.

  • Spolin’s Theater Games are simple, operational structures that are each built upon a specific focus or technical problem.
  • The games have a liberating effect for the players.
  • The first rule of improvisation is “yes, and,” meaning that anyone’s contribution to the group discussion is accepted without judgment.
  • 1-8 Weeks
    Fee:  $350 per week.


If you would like to bring Burning Coal’s WillPower! program to your school, contact us at 919.834.4001 or email us at

Schools Tour

Poetry in Motion graphic

Poetry in Motion

Burning Coal Theatre Company is on a virtual tour to schools this year with its powerful production, Poetry in Motion.  Hear our four person, trained professional performing artists interpret some of the greatest poems ever written, from Walt Whitman to Maya Angelou, from Robert Frost to Bob Dylan.  Because the tour will be performed virtually this year, we are able to book any date or dates throughout the year.

In the performance, you will hear our actors interpret the poetry of past and present generations and then talk about how that poetry speaks to them today.  The actors will talk about the different kinds of poetry, from the Elizabethan iambic pentameter to the Beat Poets’ free verse.

NOTE:   Because of the pandemic, Burning Coal will be conducting its ‘Schools Tour’ virtually this year, including a filmed live performance of Poetry in Motion followed by a talkback with the cast and instructor.

Fee:  $750

Click here to see our STUDY GUIDE

 Poetry in Motion Study Guide




SHAKESCENES is series of classes, a performance, or both.  Founded in 2011, Shakescenes introduces 4th through 12th graders to the works of William Shakespeare, emphasizing through games, exercises, and performances the universality of Shakespeare and how these stories are still relevant today.  Shakespeare was a commander of language.  He introduced more new words into the English language than any writer before or since.  By introducing students to Shakespeare at an early age, it debunks many of the students’ preconceived myths that Shakespeare is boring, old, musty and hard to understand. The interactive and fun nature of Shakescenes serves to clear roadblocks in their future education by making students enthusiastic about Shakespeare.  It gives them an understanding that language is fun and, most importantly, it can make them curious about language!

Shakescenes Packages

One Week Residency
Includes five days of class instruction, activities, games, and discussions (up to three consecutive hours a day) with a trained professional theatre artist.

Shakescenes Performance
Burning Coal’s troupe of four professional actors (plus the instructor) come to your school and perform  a variety of scenes from Shakespeare’s most famous works, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo & Juliet, and The Tempest as part of an interactive show! This 50 minute performance is open to the entire student body and is narrated by a trained professional theatre artist, with a discussion following the performance.

Residency and Performance
If you have trouble choosing one, have both our residency teaching program and single performance compliment one another as you open the works of Shakespeare to your students on a fun, interactive level!

NOTE:   Because of the pandemic, Burning Coal will be conducting Shakescenes virtually this year, including a filmed live performance followed by a talkback with the cast and instructor.

If you would like to bring Burning Coal’s Shakescenes program to your school, contact us at 919.834.4001 or email our trained professional theatre artist at


Jun 15 – Jun 26, 2020

10 am – 3 pm on Monday – Friday

$275  DUE on or before the first day of the program.


Rising 6th-8th graders.

Written by The Students of STC, Jr. 2020

Taught by Burning Coal Professional Theatre Artist

Kidswrite 2015 photoBurning Coal is going to have to CANCEL the 2020 STC JR this year.  We hope to be able to conduct the STC, SR camp in July.  If you were planning on doing STC, Jr. this year, we will be considering STC, Jr. applicants for the July Senior program.  We apologize for this and hope to be able to work with all of the talented young people in our community in the coming years.

Read More »


Jul 13 – Jul 31, 2020

10 am – 4 pm on Monday – Friday

This year‘s play is TITUS ANDRONICUS (performance to be filmed and shown online July 31 at 7 pm with talkback to follow)

$425  DUE $100 deposit with application, remainder at time of your audition for the play.


Students in grades 9-12 as well as college freshmen.

July 03, 2020

You will be contacted regarding auditions for TITUS ANDRONICUS following enrollment.

Written by William Shakespeare

STC Sr. is our intensive, three-week conservatory for high school students interested in rigorous, professional training.  It involves classes in the mornings followed by rehearsals for a play in the afternoons (this year TITUS ANDRONICUS by William Shakespeare!).  A live performance will be filmed and shown online, followed by talkback with the cast, on Friday, July 31, 2020.

This year, students will also receive instruction from GUEST ARTISTS from colleges and professional theatres around the state such as:

Jill Carlson [ECU] – Stage Combat
Ray Dooley [PlayMakers Rep] – Auditioning
Carl Forsman [UNC-School of the Arts] – Shakespeare Text
John Gulley [UNCG] – Meisner Technique
Jo Hall [Greensboro College] – Fitzmaurice/Berry

APPLY HERE for full scholarship to attend STC, Sr. courtesy a grant from the NC Community Foundation.

Read More »

Uta Hagen Class

Enroll Now

Jul 13 – Aug 31, 2020

7 pm – 10 pm on Monday

$200  call with visa or mastercard at 919.834.4001

Taught by Jerome Davis

Respect for ActingWork on scenes from great modern plays with Burning Coal Theatre Company.  Burning Coal’s Artistic Director, Jerome Davis will again lead his annual, eight-week scene study class based on the concepts expressed in Uta Hagen’s landmark book Respect for Acting. Davis studied with Uta Hagen at HB Studios in New York for seven years. Class will be founded in Hagen’s “object exercises.” Students will have the opportunity to work each week on scenes Read More »

FAIL BIGGER: Adult Improv Class

Enroll Now

Jan 13 – Feb 10, 2020

7 pm – 10 pm on Monday

Taught by Bryan Pridgen

Fail Bigger ImageGet impulsive during Burning Coal’s 5-week spring improv class led by Bryan Pridgen, BCT’s Education Director.  Improv teaches us to play and to discover our creative potential. This comprehensive class breaks down large concepts into simple exercises that are built upon the foundation of improv: “Yes, and ….”   Pridgen has been studying and performing improv for over a decade with troupes at Barter Theatre and Savannah Stage Company. This class is great for building confidence, trust and patience through improved ensemble work.  Be prepared to fail, solve problems, create imaginative worlds and bravely pull yourself out of your comfort zone.  Learn to follow your impulses and push yourself to think critically and creatively through improvised scenes and scenarios imagined on the spot.  Eliminate self-doubt and fear of failure by failing bigger!   FEE:  $145.
NOTE: Class will alternate between Burning Coal Theatre (224 Polk Street) and our rehearsal warehouse (3056 Barrow Drive).  Check with instructor for specific details as class proceeds.

Suzuki Acting Method: The Power of Stillness

Enroll Now

Sep 11 – Oct 16, 2019

7 pm – 10 pm on Wednesday

7 to 10 pm

Suzuki imageGet ready to sweat during Burning Coal’s fall class in Suzuki Acting Technique!  Led by BCT’s Education Director, this 6-week class in Suzuki Acting Method trains actors to work from their core and builds discipline, strength, and focus. This physically rigorous practice draws on martial arts influences and those of Japanese Noh, Kabuki, and the ancient Greek chorus. Developed by Tadashi Suzuki, this method is taught all over the world, and is practiced at the SITI company alongside Anne Bogart’s Viewpoints.  Dive into this extreme, physical acting method that grounds the actor’s body and voice.  Ideal for actors looking to develop a strong stage presence, and sports-minded artists who enjoy physical challenge.

Fee:  $145.  Enroll at 919.834.4001 or

STC Sr Performance

Titus Andronicus 2020

STARTS Friday, July 31st, 2020 at 7 pm
Presented via Twitch.TV

STC, SR. is our intensive, three-week conservatory for high school students interested in rigorous, professional training.  This year the students have been hard at work mounting Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus!  Join us Friday as we premiere their work digitally via Twitch.TV.  The recording will be available for viewing through August 1st at this link:


A talkback with the cast and director will follow the performance on Friday, July 31.


Past Productions & Events

The following shows/events have passed.


Commedia Workshop with Kevin Otos

Nov 2, 2013

12 pm - 5 pm on Saturday

$60  Workshop fee

Learn and experience the Commedia dell’Arte with Kevin Otos in this dynamic, on-your-feet engaged workshop Saturday, November 2nd from noon to 5pm at the Burning Coal Theatre, 224 Polk Street, Raleigh. Participants will discover and explore the characters, lazzi, and masks associated with this vital style through a series of invigorating exercises and structured improvisations.  This workshop is designed for both those familiar and unfamiliar with Commedia; everyone is welcome to experience this visceral style.  Workshop fee:  $60.  To reserve your space, please call 919.834.4001 today. Read More »