Developing your playwriting
Time: 17:30 - 19:30
Location: Keeley Street
Course Code: HW028
Available start dates
Duration: 11 sessions (over 11 weeks)
What is the course about?
This course continues to explore the fundamental techniques of writing for the stage, including dialogue, character, structure, story and performance. You'll analyse more challenging texts for inspiration, and will have the opportunity experiment with a wide range of theatrical forms and styles in class. There is a strong workshopping component and there will be plenty of practical writing exercises to get you producing scenes, plots and characters of your own.
Students say: "It provided inspiration"; "I liked the different angles from which we studied plays and characters - this really helped me to examine my own writing more closely"; "It was inspiring to see how people revised scenes and improved them based on feedback from the workshop"; "I enjoyed hearing others' work, discussing plays, and learning about playwriting devices.".
What will we cover?
The course will build on the basic elements that are necessary in the making of a play, such as characterisation,
theme, plot, subtext, dialogue and style (naturalism, expressionism, surrealism). You'll analyse more challenging existing texts, writers, and theatre makers for inspiration and will be asked to experiment with different forms, styles and techniques in class as well as working on your own plays.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Respond to and assess pieces of writing with sensitivity.
- Demonstrate increased familiarity with a range of techniques required for dramatic writing
- Experiment with different theatrical forms and styles to develop your own voice
- Work towards a first draft of a play.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is a continuation of 'Ways into playwriting', and returning students may have completed several previous terms. This course will not cover the basics, so total beginners are advised to join 'Ways into playwriting' and progress from there. However, new students are very welcome to join if they have some previous writing experience and a keen interest in the theatre through reading plays and seeing productions. They should have begun work on a play or have an idea for a project they'd like to work on.
Students need to have a good standard of written and spoken English and should be willing to join in group discussions and feedback sessions, and to share their work with the group.
If you have prior or current experience working in theatre but have never written a play or taken a playwriting course, we recommend that you enrol on 'Ways into playwriting' before progressing to the intermediate or advanced level.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Writing, improvisations and discussion. You'll be expected to produce written work at home. You will also be asked to read scenes or extracts from plays outside of class. You might be asked to go to the theatre with the group to see a performance.
All writing courses at City Lit will involve an element of workshop. This means that students will produce work which will be discussed in an open and constructive environment with the tutor and other students. The college operates a policy of constructive criticism, and all feedback on another student’s work by the tutor and other students should be delivered in that spirit.
For classes longer than one day regular reading and writing exercises will be set for completion at home to set deadlines.
City Lit Writing endeavours to create a safe and welcoming space for all and we strongly support the use of content notes in our classes. This means that learners are encouraged to make their tutor and classmates aware in advance if any writing they wish to share contains material that may be deemed sensitive. If you are unsure about what might constitute sensitive content, please ask your tutor for further clarification and read our expectations for participating in writing courses at City Lit.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
No additional costs. Please bring a pen and paper.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
You may progress to 'Advanced playwriting' or, if you have a draft of a play in progress that you feel ready to submit for rigorous critique, 'Advanced playwriting: workshop'. City Lit also offer a range of drama writing courses for specific mediums including radio and television.
All students are invited to join us at Late Lines, our regular performance night for City Lit writers. Students are also encouraged to submit their work to Between the Lines, our annual anthology of creative writing. For the latest news, courses and events, stay in touch with the Department on Facebook and Twitter.
Dawn is an award-winning writer working in theatre, film, TV, VR and radio. Her new play THE TRIALS opens at the Donmar Warehouse on August 12th, and received a German premiere at the Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus in 2022. It was a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. She is currently writing THE TREES, a radical reinterpretation of The Cherry Orchard, for director Katie Mitchell at the Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg and ADDICTIVE BEAT, a play for Boundless Theatre, UK, for which she recently collaborated on an EP of music for the upcoming production, now on Spotify. She is also working on the feature film PIG CHILD for Delaval Film and the BFI and adapting her play FOXFINDER for the screen with Elation Pictures and the BFI.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.