Developing your playwriting

Course Dates: 14/01/20 - 24/03/20
Time: 19:40 - 21:40
Location: KS - Keeley Street

Continue to explore the key elements of dramatic writing, and benefit from supportive and detailed feedback on your own work. New students with some playwriting experience are welcome to join.


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.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

No additional costs. Please bring a pen and paper. You are welcome to bring a laptop or a tablet if it will be helpful to you.

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.


Customer Reviews 7 item(s)

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Reviews below are by students who have attended this course, regardless of the course teacher. Please be aware you may not be booking onto a course with the same teacher.

The course was an excellent mix of practice and theory. The expert tutor really challenged us to improve in a very supportive environment. And it was good fun!
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 20/11/2019)
Highly recommend
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Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 21/06/2019)
Write a lot and be prepared to share your work.
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 27/03/2019)
This is a really useful weekly stimulus to keep writing, and to keep exploring and developing your craft. Opportunities for close scrutiny of work and individual feedback are obviously limited on a course like this, but I have found it a really enjoyable and valuable part of my week. I'd heartily recommend it.
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 15/03/2019)
Highly recommend!
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Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 15/03/2019)
If you have found yourself struggling to keep going, or just want to extend and challenge your playwriting process this is the perfect course for you.
Course Rating
Review by Keith Orton / (Posted on 15/03/2019)
The course provided me with valuable insight, techniques and inspiration to develop my playwriting skills.
Course Rating
Review by Michael / (Posted on 06/12/2018)
Tutor Biographies
Sharmila Chauhan

Sharmila Chauhan is a screenwriter, playwright and prose writer. Her plays include: The Husbands, which toured nationally and completed its run at London’s Soho Theatre (Kali and Pentabus Theatre), Born Again/Purnajanam (Kali Theatre, Jan 2012) and 10 Women (Avignon Festival, France, 2014). She has had two short films produced and written two features. Most recently, her short film Oysters was commissioned by Film London (2016) and her feature Mother Land is currently being developed by Cinestan International and has been long-listed for the Sundance Writers’ Lab.

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.

Book your place

Course Code: HW100

Please choose a course date 

Tue, eve, 14 Jan - 24 Mar '20

Duration: 11 sessions (over 11 weeks)

Full fee: £209.00
Senior fee: £209.00
Concession: £84.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

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Any questions?
or call 020 7492 2717

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.