Studio Retreat

Photo and video credits: Charlie Jarrett, Tony Woodward, Lena Bodden, Ali Bodden


Studio Retreat

Studio Retreat, our 10-day master classes in acting and playwriting, was canceled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. We do hope to host it again this year, so CHECK BACK HERE soon! Student Day—our online Saturday workshop on March 27, 2021 —in acting, playwriting—is a GO! Click here for the application form.


Both programs bring high-school students from throughout the Bay Area to the Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site, where they are coached in their projects by professionals.


We look forward to welcoming enthusiastic students to both these programs this year, 2021—Studio Retreat for its 12th year, and Student Days for the 29th year.


Studio Retreat: a Summer Masterclass in Playwriting and Acting for Teens



The O’Neill Studio Retreat is a ten-day intensive for teens in advanced acting and playwriting at the beautiful Eugene O’Neill Historic Site in Danville, California. It usually runs in July and is FREE for those chosen to participate. Because space is limited, only a select number of playwrights and actors will be chosen to take part. Online applications will be available in the spring.

Sponsored by the Eugene O’Neill Foundation in partnership with the National Park Service, this 10-day masterclass gives incoming and current high school students a chance to learn from, and collaborate with, professional playwrights, actors, and stage directors in the development of original ten-minute plays.

The workshop meets daily from 8:30am to 3:00pm. Students in the Playwriting track will delve into topics such as character, dialogue, and story arc – all in the process of developing their own ten-minute script for a final public performance. Students in the Acting track will gain insight into building characters, the importance of movement and voice, and learn the foundations of acting technique taught at college-level programs. The second week is devoted to rehearsing the original scripts by the playwriting track and mounting a performance for friends and family around noon on the final Sunday of the workshop.

Lunch is provided daily to students along with snacks and water throughout the day. As direct access to the O’Neill Historic Site via car is not allowed, the National Park Service shuttles students to/from the site from either the Walnut Creek BART Station or the Danville Park & Ride. Please indicate which location you prefer when applying. Studio Retreat will support student’s use of BART.

Studio Retreat is recognized as a distinctive educational program, designed to provide a more thorough understanding of playwright Eugene O’Neill and his important place in American drama, while also encouraging students to reach a new level of creativity within their own work. By collaborating with local theatre professionals, participants gain valuable, hands-on insight into what the careers of working actors and playwrights actually entail.

Studio Retreat is made possible by the generous support of:
The Wood Family Foundation


Check this space for 2021 Studio Retreat application, available next spring!


Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site (Tao House)
Danville, CA. (Shuttles to the site leave from the locations below at 8:30 – see Transportation).

No cost to those students chosen to participate.

Funding is provided by a generous grant from the Wood Family Foundation.

Lunch, snacks, and water, will be provided daily for all participants. A vegetarian and nut-free option will always be available. Students with other dietary restrictions (Vegan, Paleo, etc.) are encouraged to bring their own lunch everyday. A refrigerator is available on-site.

The Eugene O’Neill Historic Site is not directly accessible by car. The National Park Service will provide shuttle service to all participants to and from the site. Students will have to choose which pick-up / drop-off location they prefer:

Walnut Creek BART Station (BART tickets are available upon request)
Danville Park & Ride (Sycamore Valley Road + Highway 680)

Studio Retreat will support student’s use of BART

Housing / Airfare:
The O’Neill Studio Retreat does not provide housing or airfare for out-of-town students. Though the program is open to anyone, any accepted student living outside of the San Francisco Bay Area must arrange their own transportation to and from the area, and local housing for the dates of the retreat.

Students must apply to participate. Please complete online form.

Deadline: June 2021


If you have attended Studio Retreat or Student Days in the past, you are guaranteed of a place in our Studio Retreat program this year. You still need to complete the application below (scroll to end).

Parents/Guardians please complete this Permission Form and have your student bring it on the first day of the session.


Studio Retreat Application Form

Coming soon!

You will receive an email confirming acceptance within a few weeks of applying. If you do not hear from us by then, please contact us at or Norman Gee at

Parent/Guardian Permission Form HERE. Please have your child bring this completed form with them on the first day of the session.