Summer Play Lab Residents Emily Rubin and Seth McNeill will conduct  writing workshops for area residents

Ancram Opera House will offer two writing workshops led by Summer Play Lab artists Emily Rubin (Cancer Cabaret) and Seth McNeill (Bullet). The workshops are free, but space is limited, and registration is required. To participate, visit

First up, on July 6, 3-5pm, is “The Write Treatment Workshop,” developed by writer Emily Rubin as a way of giving back to Mount Sinai Medical Center after she completed treatment for breast cancer there in 2011. This workshop engages cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers in the craft of writing as a creative and therapeutic practice. To this day, The Write Treatment Workshop continues to be offered to cancer patients at Mount Sinai Hospital where, according to Alison Snow, Mount Sinai’s Assistant Director of Cancer Supportive Services, it is “the most successful program of all the programs the hospital offers.”

Rubin will share her story of cancer and writing, as well as excerpts from the Write Treatment Anthology Vol. 1, a publication assembled from the writings of Mount Sinai cancer patients. Workshop participants will write from a prompt and share what they have written with the group.

On July 8th, 10am-12pm, playwright and theater artist Seth McNeill will demonstrate, through free-writing exercises, discussion, and sharing of work, how the interruptions and self-contradictions in normal conversations and stream of consciousness can, when captured on paper, resemble an absurdist play. In this workshop, called “MONODIALOGUE,” participants will construct delightful self-dialogues that reveal character in ways that a perfectly crafted monologue never could.

Ancram Opera House’s 2023 Play Lab Residency Program showcases innovative works-in-progress that challenge conventions and offer unique perspectives on the human experience.  A double bill of Rubin and McNeill’s works-in-progress will be presented on July 9 at 4pm, live at the Ancram Opera House. These works-in-development are:

Bullet by Seth McNeill: Delve into the depth of a solo play deconstructed through a hilariously failed TED talk. This thought-provoking piece unravels themes of depression, isolation, family trauma, and the internal struggle of artists finding their place in the world.

Cancer Cabaret by Emily Rubin, Maryann DeLeo, and Christine Koenig, with music by Michael Ingle: Experience the transformative power of musical theatre as these artists, who are also cancer survivors, interpret life’s difficult moments and triumphs through song and storytelling.  

Ancram Opera House is an award-winning theater located in New York’s Hudson Valley. Housed in an historic Grange Hall, AOH has since 2016 presented groundbreaking theater and musical performances by nationally recognized theater artists. AOH receives significant annual support from the New York State Council on the Arts and in 2023 was awarded a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. As part of its mission to foster community connection through the performing arts, AOH conducts storytelling workshops for local adults and children in area schools.

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