What is the course about?
This course explores the fundamental techniques of writing for the stage: dialogue, character, structure, story and performance. This is a hands-on course and the emphasis is on practical and critical exercises. You will have a chance to read and respond to published work, and use it as a source of inspiration as you begin to produce your own dramatic writing, through in-class exercises and assignments.
Students like: "the enthusiasm and focus on the subject"; "the exercises that bridged the gap between theory and practice"; "it's made me push myself and try new things"; "the tutor was inspiring and the group felt supportive."
The Tutor: Dawn King is an award-winning writer working in theatre, film, TV and radio. Her most recent stage play was a major adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s classic science fiction novel Brave New World. Dawn's awards include the Royal National Theatre Foundation Playwright Award 2013, the Papatango New Writing Competition 2011 and Most Promising Playwright, Off West End awards 2012. She is currently working on numerous projects including a commission from the National Theatre, a screenplay for Cowboy Films, and a VR Project for the National Theatre’s Immersive Storytelling Studio.
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 essential skills needed for dramatic writing
- Designing characters, telling a story in a way that works for the stage, and turning your raw ideas into a structured whole
- Theatrical writing techniques including dialogue and subtext.
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
- Feel confident as you embark upon your own work
- Give and use constructive criticism.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This course is designed to introduce students to writing for the stage, and no previous playwriting experience is necessary. However, it would be helpful if you had some experience of creative writing, for instance through attending a 'Ways into creative writing' course. Fluent spoken and written English is essential; an active interest in theatre and new writing for the stage are expected.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
You'll be expected to produce some written work at home, to read plays and extracts from plays, to go to an occasional live performance of a contemporary play - all within a stimulating and supportive atmosphere.
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?
Minimal costs. Access to digital theatre archive, occasional texts (optional). All primary course materials will be provided. Bring pen and paper.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Stage 1 continuation courses and advanced stage 2 courses are available at City Lit. Your tutor will advise you on the best course to take as a follow-up.
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