Casebook allows audiences unprecedented access to the artists involved in the creation of a new work from rehearsal to production. Each year, New York Theatre Workshop designates one of its productions as a case study and hosts a class designed to provide theatre lovers of all experience levels with a true insider’s view of the life of a theatre artist and the process of realizing a full professional production.

Sessions include:

  • In-depth discussion and exploration of the process of making a theatre piece
  • Conversations with the playwright, director, actors, and production staff responsible for bringing each unique Casebook production to life
  • Opportunities to observe tech rehearsal in progress, engage with the collaborators, and tour the stage to see the inner workings of the set up close
  • Attendance at two performances at different points in the process to compare the evolution of the piece and celebrate with the collaborators

CASEBOOK: The Making of How To Defend Yourself

I wish girls fought more. Like beat the shit out of each other for fun. I wish that was like a socially acceptable thing to do. Fight club, you know? If it was me and you, I think I’d win.

In a DIY self-defense class, college students learn to use their bodies as weapons. They learn to fend off attackers. They learn “not to be a victim.” Self-defense becomes a channel for their rage, anxiety, confusion, trauma and desire—lots of desire.

-You asked how I like it, that’s how I like it.

     -Maybe you can interrogate why you like that.

-Maybe you can interrogate why it scares you.

With sharp humor and brutal honesty, Liliana Padilla’s How to Defend Yourself explores what we want, how to ask for it, and the violator and violated inside us all. Tony Award-winning NYTW Usual Suspect Rachel Chavkin (Hadestown), Susan Smith Blackburn finalist Liliana Padilla (TWITCH) and Princess Grace Award winner Steph Paul (The Last Match) will co-direct the production.

How to Defend Yourself discusses but does not depict sex and sexual violence.

Class Schedule & Session Topics:

Class Schedule & Session Topics:
January 17th – March 7th, 2023 (7 weeks)
Tuesdays 6:30–8:30 PM in person at NYTW’s 3rd Floor Rehearsal Room (83 E. 4th Street, between Bowery and 2nd Avenue)

January 17th – Introduction to the Play
January 24th – Playwriting and Directing
January 31st – Acting
February 7th – Design and Stage Management
February 14th-16th – Tech Observation Week
February 21st – Dress Rehearsal
March 7th – Preview Performance

Class size is limited. This year, the class will be offered in person. All sessions will take place in NYTW’s 3rd Floor Rehearsal Room, located at 83 E. 4th Street, New York, NY between Bowery and 2nd Avenue. Please note that the building has no elevator access and there are three flights of stairs to reach the rehearsal room.

Please note that in-person classes cannot be recorded or livestreamed. Participants must be available for in-person sessions of the class. Performances will take place at our theatre located at 79 E. 4th Street, between Bowery and 2nd Avenue. Class schedule and topics are subject to change. All sales are final.

Tuition & Registration

Click here to register

$400  for Non-Members
$350 for Members and SmartPass Holders
$300 for Premiere Members and Repeat Defenders


Thanks to our generous supporters, this year we’re able to provide access without cost to a limited number of BIPOC participants who identify as students, artists, and/or theatre lovers of diverse backgrounds. Have questions? Contact Gaven Trinidad at

Apply here by January 6, 2023 at 5PM ET

COVID Protocols

Due to the unique nature of this class and the engagement with artists and staff throughout the program, we will require masks and proof of vaccination for all participants.

Praise for CASEBOOK:

  • “I could have stayed all night – completely engrossing.”
  • “Hearing about the process in a very personal way made this more than informative – [you get] the sense of a director as an artist.”
  • “It gave me a whole new appreciation of the workings of an off-Broadway theatre. I loved all of it.”
  • “This class was much more up-close-and-personal than I was expecting, which was wonderful.”

Past CASEBOOK Sessions:

  • CASEBOOK: The Making of On Sugarland (Spring 2022)
  • CASEBOOK: The Making of Sing Street (Fall 2019)
  • CASEBOOK: The Making of Hurricane Diane (Spring 2019)
  • CASEBOOK: The Making of Hundred Days (Fall 2017)
  • CASEBOOK: The Making of Sojourners and Her Portmanteau (Spring 2017)
  • CASEBOOK: The Making of Hadestown (Spring 2016)
  • CASEBOOK: The Making of The Invisible Hand (Fall 2014)
  • CASEBOOK: The Making of Love and Information (Spring 2014)
  • CASEBOOK: The Making of Sontag: Reborn (Spring 2013)
  • CASEBOOK: The Making of Food and Fadwa (Spring 2012)

To receive Casebook updates and for all other inquiries, please email If you have questions or would like to speak to someone about whether this class is right for you, please call NYTW’s Education Department at 646-957-9575.