The Eugene O'Neill Studio Retreat is an intensive summer workshop for high school students, selected from the writing and drama participants of our Student Days Program each spring. Young artists will gather for nine days from 9:00 am until 3:00 pm at the Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site where O'Neill wrote some of his most acclaimed plays.
The Retreat is a unique program, designed to provide a more thorough understanding of O'Neill and his place in the history of American drama, as well as to encourage creative production in the students themselves. It is a collaborative program in play writing and acting, facilitated by experienced writer and actor educators. To enrich the usual classroom experience in literature and drama, the professionals work first with the fledgling writers to create short plays and then bring in the student actors to help refine and finally perform the scripts.
Through this effort, students practice the vital collaboration needed between writer and actor and develop higher-level skills in the intensive process of writing, rehearsing, and performing original works. For nine days, students thrive in Tao House's solitude, treasured by O'Neill while living in the Danville hills from 1937 to 1944.
Students in past years have come away with not only a deeper understanding of Eugene O'Neill's genius, but also their own. They have also reported that, as a bonus, this artistic opportunity provided grist for their college essays.
This Retreat is provided free to students through funding from The Dean and Margaret Lesher Foundation, the Eugene O'Neill Foundation, and the National Park Service.