What is the course about?
This is a practical course continues to investigate the key elements of writing for the theatre, including character, structure and dialogue to an advanced level. You will be expected to submit pieces of work for constructive criticism by other participants and the tutor. Ideally you'll be working on a draft of a short-length or full-length play. In addition to workshopping, professionally produced playscripts are also examined with an eye toward learning from established writers' techniques.
Students like: "the group dyanamic"; "learning dramaturgical skills to add to my writing craft"; "really excellent teaching"; "great mix of exercises, workshopping, and reading."
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.
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?
This course examines every aspect of writing for the stage, from the initial spark to the completed first draft of a play, through critical analysis of student work. Topics that may arise from student work include premise and theme, character, motivation, dramatic structure and the construction of individual scenes. Student work will be read, discussed and critiqued in a supportive atmosphere, and additional issues of craft will be investigated in detail when they arise in relation to a particular piece. In addition to workshopping, professionally produced playscripts are also examined with an eye toward learning from established writers' techniques.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Demonstrate a fuller awareness of the playwriting process
- Produce a new draft of your play
- Exhibit increased mastery of dramaturgical and writing skills in your own work
- Exercise a critical insight into the playwriting process and in analysing plays either in performance or in print.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is a continuation of Developing your playwriting. 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.
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.
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?
- Lectures/seminars/discussions on components and aspects of dramatic writing
- Writing exercises and dramaturgical sessions
- In-class readings of students’ work followed by feedback and analysis
- Analysis of written dramatic work.
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?
Pen and paper. Set texts might be advised but do not necessarily need to be purchased. You should provide several
copies of the scenes you have written at home when it is your turn to have your work read out in class. You are welcome to bring a laptop or tablet to use during in-class writing exercises if you feel it will help you.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
You are welcome to enrol on this course again, or if you have a draft that you feel ready to submit for rigourous constructive feedback, you may wish to enrol on Advanced playwriting: workshop.
All students are invited to join us at Late Lines, our regular performance night for Build 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 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