Playwriting: Writing Towards First Production with Michelle Read
Irish Writers Centre

Playwriting: Writing Towards First Production with Michelle Read

Regular price €260.00

Spring 2015 - this course has now passed.

For theatre writers and makers who wish to develop a play for production in a smallscale theatre or Fringe context. The course is aimed at writers with some experience of theatre writing (including Intro to Playwriting), and aims to deepen existing understanding of character, story, structure and active dialogue, whilst also focusing on the practicalities of a first production. The course will include a theatre visit to one of Dublin’s main small-scale venues and input from a venue manager. Michelle Read is a produced playwright and professional dramaturge with a breadth of production experience. She holds Masters Degrees in Dramaturgy and Screenwriting.

Starts Tuesday 10 February

Duration: 10 weeks

Cost: €280/€260 members

Full course details and extended tutor biog

The Writing Towards First Production course is an opportunity for emerging playwrights to work on the development of a small-scale theatre piece from scratch (or from the ideas stage). The group dynamic allows each writer to draw on peer feedback while working on the transformation of an initial idea into a dramatic proposition for a specific performance space. The course will also draw on contemporary theatre texts as inspiration and as examples of successful work of this scale.

‘I’ve designed this course to be highly practical and to connect to the reality of the contemporary Dublin theatre scene. This is the course I wanted to do when I was starting out, but could never find for myself. It’s for those in the early stages of playwriting, who want to start something new and move it towards production.’

Michelle Read, Tutor

In the first session the hypothetical theatre commission will be outlined to the group and discussed in terms of its challenges and opportunities. Excerpts from existing work will be read and discussed to give examples of the potential scope open to writers within the specific context.

Over the first part of the course writers will develop their initial ideas into a robust dramatic proposition including story, character and the “World” of their play. During this period there will also be a theatre visit to one of Dublin’s small-scale venues in order to reinforce the writers connection to the performance space. One of the artistic directors will speak to the group about the work they present and their commissioning process (subject to availability).

As the course progresses the writers will explore active dialogue along with the form and style of their developing play and how they want the audience to experience the piece – including discussion of set, costume, lighting and sound design.

By the end of the course each writer will have developed a dramatic idea for small-scale production and will be well into the process of writing a first draft script. They will have a clear vision of how they want their play to work on stage and how to continue the writing process to achieve a finished draft. Writers will also understand the submission process for small-scale theatres in Dublin.

The course requires a high level of commitment and attendance. Participant writers will need time to work outside the weekly sessions, including writing, reading excerpts from contemporary theatre texts and reading the developing texts of other group members.

Applicants are requested to submit a short outline (approx 100 words) of their previous experience of dramatic writing and their interest in taking part in the course.

N.B. The course content is not fixed and will evolve depending on the dynamic and the needs of the group.

The course is designed to develop a new idea and not to work on an existing draft (although it is hoped there will be a Finish Your Play course in the near future for writers wishing to do just that.)

Michelle Read is a produced playwright and professional dramaturge with a breadth of production experience. She holds Masters Degrees in both Dramaturgy and Screenwriting. Her production awards include the Hugh Leonard Bursary and the Eamon Keane Full Length Play Award, the Stewart Parker/BBC Northern Ireland Drama Award and a Fringe First from the Edinburgh Festival. Michelle also works one-on-one with writers to develop new plays and regularly teaches creative and dramatic writing. 

"I unreservedly recommend this course - it’s both challenging and enjoyable, raising your game as it embeds the fundamentals of playwriting."

Pat Nolan, 'Introduction to Playwriting' at the IWC, 2014

More from this collection