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 like: "the expertise of the tutor"; "the mix of studying published plays/technique/structure and the feedback sessions"; "workshopping and writing exercises"; "the nurturing environment"; "the briliant tutor"; "the chance to meet and talk with other writers."
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.
Build 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 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 ‘Developing your playwriting’, and returning students may have completed several previous terms of study. 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.
All students, new and returning, should apply for this course by emailing [email protected] with 1) details of any previous playwriting or theatrical experience, at Build or elsewhere; 2) confirmation that you have completed a draft of a three-act play; 5) a five-page sample of your script. We look forward to hearing from you.
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.
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 Build 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.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Students may progress to Advanced playwriting: workshop to continue workshopping their own pieces and move towards a final draft. Build also offer a range of drama writing courses for specific mediums including radio and television.
All students are invited to join us at Build Talks Back, our monthly performance night for Build writers. Everyone is welcome, admission is free and there's no need to book in advance. Students are also encouraged to submit to Between the Lines, our annual anthology of creative writing. For the latest news, courses and events, stay in touch with the Department on and Twitter.
General information and advice on courses at Build 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