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503Studio: Write Your First Short Play

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Five Wednesday sessions between Wednesday 3 November – 8 December, 7 – 9.30pm. 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.

The short play is the most distilled format in dramatic writing – it’s also the one that most emerging writers are asked to master, via submissions like our own Rapid Write Response series. On this practical course, Mahad Ali will take you through all the essential elements of crafting an effective short play, leading to a sharing of work in the last week.

This will include but not be limited to:

Finding inspiration – How you can creatively unlock your ideas, from the world around you and your imagination. Understanding the role of the story, in helping you translate what you want to say to an audience.

Character – Understanding compelling characters, the worlds they inhabit and how you can use this to bring your short play to life.

Structure – What is a traditional structure? Can you bend the rules? Understanding how you can use different techniques to bring out your voice and style.

Putting it altogether – practical writing exercise that will allow you to build dramatic action, dialogue and bring your characters and the worlds they inhabit into life.

Please note we cannot commit to an ongoing dramaturgical relationship with any pieces that may develop 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.

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 Autumn 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 us

If you have any access requirements, you can let us know here. You can view what we currently are able to offer on our Accessibility page. If you would rather discuss any access requirements and how we can accommodate them prior to booking, please get in touch with us.

Running time of workshop: 2.5 hours – delivered online. Maximum class sizes are 14. A portion of spaces have been reserved for Share the Drama places.

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

Mahad Ali is part of BBC Studios Writers Academy 2021, where he will work on continuing drama series Eastenders and Casualty whilst developing an original project with one of the BBC’s independent production companies.

Mahad’s play My Brother’s Keeper is currently in development with Theatre503 after being selected as part of their 503Five programme. The play was also longlisted for the 2018 Alfred Fagon Award. He was also a part of the inaugural Tamasha Theatre Playwriting group and has had performances at Stratford Theatre Royal Stratford East, Rich Mix, Park and Soho Theatre’s with Tamasha and Paines Plough. Whilst Mahad had several pieces published in the anthology Hear Me Now: Audition Monologues for Actors of Colour published by Oberon.

Mahad’s play The Beginning of the End was selected for the Top 100 Longlist for the 2013 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting.


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