Ways into playwriting
Time: 19:40 - 21:40
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: HW415
Available start dates
Duration: 11 sessions (over 12 weeks)
What is the course about?
This introductory 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.".
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
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.
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?
You'll be expected to produce some written work at home, and to read plays and extracts from plays. You are also strongly enouraged to a attend the occasional live performance of a contemporary play.
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?
All primary course materials will be provided. You will also be directed to supplementary resources such as play texts and a digital theatre archive that may attract a cost. Please bring writing materials.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
If you would like to continue building your confidence you are welcome to repeat Ways into playwriting, though we recommend you do so with a different tutor so as to experience a new approach. You can also progress to the intermediate level course Developing your playwriting.
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 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.
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.