Playwriting for Beginners

  • Level(s) of study: Short course
  • Study mode(s): Short course
  • Location: City Campus
  • Starting: 20 January 2020
  • Course duration: Monday evenings 6 - 8:30 pm, ten weeks

On this course you’ll learn a range of dramatic writing techniques for creating a one act play.

You’ll learn about different processes that aid play development, studying the conventions of dramatic tension both in the storyline and between the characters.
You’ll start the course by developing an idea and considering what works, what doesn‘t work and why.

You’ll create a synopsis and, whether your play is set in the present or past, you’ll ensure it connects with the contemporary world to make it relevant, engaging and marketable.

As your characters begin to come to life, you’ll be taught to consider where they are taking the play.

You’ll look at the importance of the synopsis whilst remaining open to change as the play develops; you’ll see your play as a living piece of work, and appreciate the role of the director and actors as part of this process.

You’ll also consider the play ‘beyond the moment’ and how to make your play stay with the audience after the performance.

What will I gain?

You’ll leave this course will a one act play completed (or near completion).

You’ll also have ideas of how the play might be extended from a short play into a full-length play, and new ideas for future plays inspired by the course.

You’ll also have ideas for short play competitions and how to submit your work.

Tutor profile: Tina Jay is an award winning playwright, having won both the Kenneth Branagh Award for New Drama Writing for her play ‘Walking’ and the International Student Playscript Competition (judged by Sir Ayckbourn) for ‘Rotten Apples’.

She has had a number of plays performed in London, at venues including Tristan Bates, The Park Theatre, The Lost Theatre, Barons Court and Rich Mix, as well as at The Royal Exchange in Manchester.

Her most recent play HELD was performed in 2017 for a two week run at Tristan Bates Theatre in the West End, starring Jack Brett Anderson (Wolfblood, Don't Hang Up, King Edward II at Rose Theatre), Duran Fulton Brown (Jason Bourne, Jekyll & Hyde, The Accident at The Lyric) and Anthony Taylor (Romeo and Juliet at The National, Sweet Bird of Youth at The Old Vic, Kick Ass 2).

Tina was shortlisted last year for the BBC Writersroom 10, leading to her being selected for the Holby City Shadow Scheme.

She is currently working on two short films for production later this year, together with a number of new play projects and developing a TV series.

Tina previously ran her own Drama School for over ten years, and has taught creative writing in a variety of disciplines. She has an MA in TV Scriptwriting (with distinction).

She is very keen to help people develop their own individual distinctive voice, in their chosen written form and style.

Indicative maximum class size: 15

Any questions?

Contact the short course team:


Telephone: +44 (0)115 848 2813

What you'll study

On this course you will:

  • read short extracts of classic and contemporary plays, considering how these may influence your choices in writing a play
  • study how characters drive the storyline and how to effectively create a three-dimensional relationship with the audience, studying the art of originality and avoiding the stereotypical
  • look at how to create effective conflict between characters, and the importance of pace and the need for voice variation, pattern and tone to create drama
  • learn the art of natural dialogue, and how less can often be more, letting the audience fill in the gaps.

Fees and funding

The fee for this course is £375.

Payment is due at the time of booking.

The fee for this course is £375.

Payment is due at the time of booking.

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418