What is the course about?
This course is about helping writers define a plan of action to make their play a reality. Whether it is a brand new idea or a script started a while ago, students will pull the idea apart into its constituent parts, and make sure they are all in good working order.
This course will help clarify your ideas, solve dramaturgical questions and give you tools to help execute the plans you’ve made with your script. The group will learn some of the key principles of dramaturgy and apply them to their own scripts. You’ll have time to begin putting those insights into action by writing new material. With feedback and guidance from the tutor and from fellow students, writers should feel more confident about their piece by the end of the course – armed with ideas to have a go at tackling a full draft.
The Tutor: Brian Mullin is a playwright and dramaturg. He co-founded Babakas Theatre and co-created ‘Our Fathers’, a devised show that toured the UK and other countries in 2014. His play ‘We Wait in Joyful Hope’ premiered at Theatre 503 in May 2016. He also teaches writing at St Mary's University and on the National Theatre's New Views programme.
City Lit reserves the right to change course tutors from those advertised in this outline. In line with our refund policy we are unable to grant a refund on the grounds of a change of tutor.
What will we cover?
- the strengths and weaknesses of your play’s premise
- defining the play’s action
- the key elements of structure
- characterisation and motivation
- start writing key scenes and monologues
- create a plan to help you move forward with the full draft.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- describe your play’s action clearly and concisely
- define your characters’ motivations and obstacles
- identify key plot events and turning points
- take notes and plans from the session and turn them into new scenes of your script.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This course is intended for people with at least some previous playwriting experience, who currently have a script idea that is not fixed or finished. You will need to come to class with a typed summary of your play idea and any work-in-progress.
It is not a course for absolute playwriting beginners. If you have taken intermediate or Advanced writing courses at City Lit or elsewhere, you will be at the right level.
Students should have some experience writing scenes and dialogue, and they should come in with a full-length script idea that they are currently developing or have maybe started to write.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
All teaching will take place during the day-long session.
You will be expected to bring your play idea along with you, in whatever form it currently exists – as a partially completed script, a couple of scenes, an outline or just a short description.
Working with the tutor, the group will carry out a series of lessons, brainstorming exercises and writing tasks that will help each writer to clarify what their script needs.
Work will be done in class to make progress on your play’s premise, and to actually write or revise scenes and dialogue. This will be shared with the tutor and other students during class, so that you get immediate feedback on your material.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
There are no additonal costs. You will need to bring a typed one-page summary of your play idea. Paper and pens to write with (or laptop for typing, if preferred).
If you have already written some of your script, it’s a good idea to bring along 1 or 2 printed copies of what you have so far (or to bring it on laptop or tablet).
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
This course will set you up well to make progress on the draft of the play you’re writing – so that you can ultimately finish the script more easily, submit it to competitions, literary departments etc.
If you want more instruction at City Lit, this course would set you up well to join one of our regular courses, such as Developing Your Playwriting or Advanced Playwriting Workshop.
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.
General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details