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503Studio: Advanced Playwriting

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Five Monday sessions from Monday 14 June – 12 July, 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.

This course led by Guleraana Mir will explore focused techniques to develop ideas and write for the stage. “Levelling up” from the basics, together you will delve deeper into the craft of playwriting, and rewriting, with practical exercises, reading and discussion. Add to your writing toolkit and begin to explore complex ideas with five masterclasses focusing on: idea development, character, structure, theatricality, and dialogue. Intended for playwrights who feel they have a grip on the basics. Over the course we will explore how we can push and develop our ideas, add to our playwriting toolkit and learn how to redraft more efficiently and effectively. There’ll be writing exercises, plays to read (between the sessions) and lots to talk about.

Session One: Character – learning from your characters; developing backstory that feels real rather than convenient for the play; sharpening choices and intentions; how characters can operate in different styles of theatre.

Session Two: Structure – planning versus splurging; traditional structures as tools rather than prescriptions; when a character note is actually a structure note; characters leading plot and plot leading characters.

Session Three: Space – what your play looks like; how the use of space can affect the drama; the presence of the audience.

Session Four: Dialogue and Action – how our scenes stay active; the tricks and tactics that characters use to get what they want; sharpening intentions.

Session Five: Surgery – an opportunity to bring problems to the group – what we’re stuck on, what we’re worried about, where we’re lost.

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.

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 Summer 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.

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

Guleraana Mir is an award-winning writer, theatremaker, and one half of The Thelmas, a female-led theatre company devoted to empowering women to redress the equality imbalance in the arts. She is passionate about telling authentic stories that celebrate, not stereotype.

Guleraana regularly facilitates playwriting masterclasses in schools, community groups, and for emerging writers. She is leader of the National Theatre’s Writing for Theatre programme for 16-21 year olds, and VAULT Festival’s New Writers Programme. She mentors on the MFA Writing for Stage and Broadcast Media at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

Writing credits include: All The Small Things (BBC Children); Misfits (Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch); Santi & Naz (VAULT Festival 2020 – Winner of an Origins Award for Outstanding New Work & Finalist for Best Stage Production at Asian Media Awards); The Bigger Picture (Tamasha and SOAS); We’re Just Getting Started (Royal Exchange Theatre Young Company); Make Noise (Forgotten Women, MANO’S Mulberry School and RichMix); and Coconut (Ovalhouse and national tour – nominated for two OFFIE Awards including most promising new playwright).


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