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503Studio: How To Start Writing

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Five weekly Tuesday sessions between 20 Oct – 1 Dec, 7pm – 9pm. The sessions will take place over Zoom.

A playwriting course for newcomers. Tanya Ronder will take 4 sessions to get you to a point where you are ready to write. There’ll be one longer session after the writing break where we will hear one another’s writing.

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)

Session 1: Starting points & process
There is no right way to write a play. We will start to work out what we respond to, helping us identify our taste whilst appreciating how individual each writer is. We will begin to explore who we might be as writers. We will discuss process, collaboration, & the kind of dogged patience required for the long haul of making work.

Session 2: Inspiration & building drama
Using visual prompts, we will start to exercise our writing muscles. We will look at what creates drama, & what action really is.

Session 3: Mining yourself
Using ourselves, our history, & a host of prompts, we will stir up some deep-rooted questions & ideas.

Session 4: Structure
Borrowing from some classic & genius structure-makers – Kurt Vonnegut, Pixar – we will learn what we need to write a play.

Two week writing break
During the break you will write five pages of drama. It will be a scene from the play or show that you have conceived, broadly structured, & hopefully named.

Session 5: Readings and Feedback
You will have the experience of hearing your work read aloud, with a short discussion directly after. Be prepared to be an actor in each other’s scenes.

Thanks to Arts Council England’s Emergency Grant 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 or subsidised placement 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 would like to discuss any access requirements and how we can accommodate them, prior to booking, please get in touch with us.

Tanya Ronder is a collaborative playwright who is most interested in working within rehearsal processes to evolve work. Adaptations for theatre include Nadeem’s Dara (winner of ACTA award) & Pirandello’s Liolà (both National Theatre); Ionesco’s Macbett (RSC); De Filippo’s Filumena & Lorca’s Blood Wedding (both Almeida); JM Barrie’s Peter Pan (Kensington Gardens, 02, USA tour); DBC Pierre’s Vernon God Little (Olivier nomination Best New Play & Whatsonstage Best New Comedy) & Lope De Vega’s Peribanez (both Young Vic).

The inaugural production at the NT’s Temporary Theatre, the Shed, was Table, Tanya’s first original play. F*ck the Polar Bears (Bush Theatre) her second.

Short films: King Bastard (Little Bird/Working Title) & self-produced lockdown film, Sisters. Currently in development: 8 part original series Charge (Fearless Minds); original 6 part series with co-writer Deborah Bruce, I-Spy (Chapter One Pictures); new play inspired by Gorky Nobody’s, Bitch (upcoming at Lyric Hammersmith); new musical Beauty (upcoming at NT).

Tanya originally trained as an actress at RADA & has taught ‘Introduction to Playwriting’ on the foundation course there for the past 5 years, amongst other teaching events (NT, Sussex Uni, Bush, Young Vic, Living Pictures, 503).


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