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.
Please note that this course is located in a room with step access. If you have difficulties with mobility or use a wheelchair please contact us at [email protected] to discuss.
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: 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 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 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?
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. You are welcome to bring a laptop or tablet to use during writing exercises if it will help you.
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 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