The course will be structured for both beginners and more advanced learners. The aim will be to write a one-act play in ten weeks.
Learners will be taught the various techniques and skills required to create a piece of contemporary ‘dramatic theatre’, including plot, character development, and the importance of building dramatic tension.
As scenes are developed, learners will be able to workshop them in class, and there will also be the opportunity for members of the group to look at the possibilities of extending their one-act piece into a full-length play.
This experience is for adults aged 19+.
There are no formal entry requirements - all you need is enthusiasm and a keen interest in literature!
Selecting the idea/outline - what works, what doesn‘t and why? Looking at ways of developing an original idea within everyday situations/locations, and creating a synopsis. Whether set in the present or past and how to ensure your play connects with the contemporary world to make it relevant, engaging and marketable. Studying short extracts of contemporary plays and the playwriting layout.
Character and plot - The importance of the characters in driving the storyline and how to create a ‘three-dimensional relationship’ with the audience, avoiding the stereotypical and studying the art of originality.
Conflict is drama – looking at how to create effective conflict between the characters, and their placement within the storyline/plot. The importance of pace and the need for voice variation/pattern/tone to aid dramatic tension.
Refining the outline/structure. The characters are now living but where are they taking the play? The importance of the synopsis/scenario, but the need to be open to change as the play develops.
Creating realistic dialogue - learning the art of ‘natural’ dialogue, and how less can often be more, letting the audience ‘fill in’ the gaps. Also considering when dialogue is not needed and when effective information can be conveyed through body language/pause/silence etc.
Beyond the moment – how to help the play ‘stay’ with the audience after the reading/performance. What makes a play ‘long-lasting’ and remain ‘alive’ across different time frames.
Summing up the play in a line – is the play following the original line of intention and fulfilling its objective? Looking at the problems of ‘over-writing’, and the need to ‘show’ not ‘tell’.
Redrafting – seeing the play as a ‘living’ piece of work, and appreciating the role of the director/actors as part of this process.
Openings for new playwrights – looking at short play competitions and theatres specialising in new work, including how to submit your work.
Further development and moving forward – looking at how the play may be extended from a short play into a full-length play, and new ideas for future work.
You will workshop your writing with other members of the group and receive and supply constructive, kind notes for improvement. You may submit writing for the workshop sessions anonymously if you so wish.
You just need pen and paper or a laptop.
We also run a Creative Writing 10-week programme.