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503Studio: Write Your First Full Length Play

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Seven Thursday sessions between 21 Jan – 4 Mar 2021, 10am – 12.30pm, with over a month to write and a sharing to follow. The sessions will take place over Zoom. Maximum class sizes are 14. A portion of spaces have been reserved for Share the Drama bursary places.

Theatre503 introduces its new flagship writing course, to support you to write your first full length play led by Literary Manager, Steve Harper.

Our course will provide a structured exploration at pivotal stages of the process and incorporate discussion, exercises and shared experience around particular points in the process and directly in response to the work you are creating throughout.

Acknowledging that not one given process works for all writers, we will aim to explore as many alternative processes as possible. Writers will be encouraged to explore and share their own experiences of what has been useful and what has got in the way, with the course providing a space within which to reflect on these and guidance to how we might best draw on these experiences to inform our writing processes going forward.

We will provide ongoing dramaturgical support throughout the process, but with an awareness to the fact that all writers processes are bespoke. In this sense, whilst structured, we will also have the flexibility to provide different levels of dramaturgical support to individual writers at different stages of the process.

It is important to consider that this is not an introduction to playwriting but a course that will provide opportunities to refresh our basic knowledge of the craft in direct relationship to our work and the objective of writing a play over the period of the next 4 months. It is a course aimed at helping those writers trying to move from writing short plays to full length work, or those who might have written some full length work and feel it would be helpful to have a structured and ongoing dramaturgical relationship throughout the process.

Thurs 21 Jan – Session 1 – Ideas

Thurs 28 Jan – Session 2 – Mapping Your Play / Structure

Thurs 4 Feb – Session 3 – Character & Character Journeys

Thurs 11 Feb – Session 4 – Scenes

Thurs 18 Feb – Session 5 – Dialogue/Subtext

Thurs 25 Feb – Session 6 – Setting/Space

Thurs 4 Mar – Session 7 – What Next

Writing Break

Date TBC – Session 8 – Sharing And Feedback

Please note we cannot commit to an ongoing dramaturgical relationship with pieces that are developed on this course, or commit to a production. However we will offer an open and honest discussion with all participants about possible next steps for their work, recommendations of other development opportunities that might be of benefit, and guidance to where their work may best be suited in terms of future engagement.

To be added to our waiting list, please sign up here (please note that some places have been held off sale to prioritise Share the Drama beneficiaries – see below)

Thanks to DCMS Cultural Recovery Fund and our Share The Drama scheme, we want to make sure those of you who are struggling in the current climate can still take part in our Spring Writers Programme. While we prioritise anyone who is long term unemployed and/or claiming benefits, we’re also offering subsidies if you’re in financial difficulty as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.

To express interest in a bursary place through our Share The Drama scheme, please sign up here. If you would prefer to speak directly to a member of our team about your circumstance or to ask for more information about this scheme, please contact usIf you have any access requirements, you can let us know here. If you would rather discuss any access requirements and how we can accommodate them prior to booking, please get in touch with us.

To sign up for priority booking for future iterations of the 503Studio: Writers Programme, please join the waiting list here.

Steve Harper heads the Literary Department of Theatre503. In the 14 years he has worked at the venue he has been responsible for identifying and supporting over 1,000 debut playwrights and helping to start their career. He co-created the 503Five initiative and Theatre503 International Playwriting Award. He has developed an outstanding reputation for matchmaking writers, directors and producers including putting together the team that delivered the Olivier Award winning Rotterdam.


Lauretta Barrow 

Lauretta Barrow is Literary Associate at Theatre503. She joined the Literary Department in 2014, after several years as a 503 reader. Lauretta has worked as dramaturg on a number of 503 shows, including No Place for a Woman and The Art of Gaman, while also taking on freelance dramaturgical projects and script reading.


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