Northern Ireland: Playwriting with Darren Murphy

Northern Ireland: Playwriting with Darren Murphy

Starts: Thur 20 July
Time: 7.00pm – 9.00pm
Duration: 8 Weeks

Venue: Seamus Heaney Centre, Belfast
Cost: €88*/£80

*Please note this cost is based on the currency exchange rate of £80 on 11 October 2016.


Plays are not just written, they have to be built for performance. They have to withstand the rigours of the rehearsal room, the redrafting process, the probing questions of directors and actors, and the production itself. Before the play is exposed to that intense scrutiny it needs to be made as robust and tensile as possible. From Page To Stage is a workshop series for emerging playwrights focused on making the playwright’s work production ready, with an emphasis on practical dramaturgy.

Over 8 weeks the group will look at how to create the best structure that releases each individual play. Whilst I believe that there are some principles that underpin all good drama, I also believe that each good play creates its own rules and its own world. Part of the fun for an audience then is to work out what those rules are and how that world works. I believe the best plays are written when the audience are considered as collaborators.  What is the ‘game’ of the play? Is it in its form or in its content? We will look at creating scenes that unlock the gesture of the play with characters who compel us and draw us into that world. Together, the group will help each other find the scenes that propel the story forward, and also to find the dramatic hinge of each scene to make moments on stage that are taut, compact, and theatrical.  

Peer feedback will allow the whole group to dramaturg each others’ work in a safe, collaborative and sharing environment. To begin with we will look at: creating present tense action with active dialogue; structure; using theatrical metaphor (location as metaphor, visual metaphor, etc.); the considerations of different stage time (open/closed time); and building different types of tension between and within characters (societal/interpersonal/internal). As the course progresses the emphasis will shift towards practical considerations such as how to approach redrafting, and working with directors.

The workshops will require a strong commitment from each playwright, as the course requires a healthy amount of homework between sessions, including providing feedback on the work produced by the other writers, reading set texts, and creating new scenes/redrafting. 

Applicants must submit a short biog of their experience to date, and a scene (complete or in part), or a brief outline of a play they have written or are currently working on. It is preferable that playwrights come to the workshop with a new idea.

Darren Murphy is a London based playwright and has been produced in the West End, Off-Broadway, Dublin, and Edinburgh. He completed an 18 month attachment at the Abbey in Dublin in 2014, where he is currently under commission. Plays include: Bunny’s Vendetta (commissioned for the inaugural UK City of Culture, Derry, 2013); Irish Blood, English Heart, Trafalgar Studios; Tabloid Caligula, Arcola/E59E, NY; The Flats, Chelsea Theatre (shortlisted for the Verity Bargate Award), and A Road In Winter, Soho (Winner of the Westminster Prize). He is represented by Nick Quinn at The Agency, and is published by Oberon. He is currently working on a PhD in Creative Writing at Queen’s University, Belfast, for which he is writing two connected plays.


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Kindly supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland

Arts Council Northern Ireland