The basic idea of this project is to identify, formulate, and further develop the distinct and innovative pedagogical features of teaching playwriting at the School of Theatre and Performance Studies and to explore if these practices could be developed further into a unique Warwick brand.
This strategic project will involve a variety of activities 1) to formulate and develop the distinct features of teaching playwriting at Warwick, 2) to explore and further develop synergies with other programs and departments at Warwick especially Creative Writing 3) to engage students of all levels as well as interested staff members and 4) to foster existing connections and develop new links with leading playwrights, theatre practitioners, and new play development theatres in the country.
The project is open to students of all levels and also to interested staff. We hope to engage around 40 UG and PG students in our activities. We need some financial support (see budget), basic IT support (website, documentation, podcasts) and also a Studio space for our workshops.
The project activities will include:
Workshops: Richard Shannon and me, in collaboration with the lead student learners, will offer a series of workshop open to students of all levels as well as faculty members across the University interested in playwriting. The workshops will often include colleagues from other departments to explore certain aspects of playwriting from different angels. In addition to our colleagues from Creative Writing, we would, for instance invite a historian for the workshop on using history as a material, a colleague from Law when discussing dramatic conflict, a mathematician for the workshop on the geometry of dramatic structures, etc. The workshops will be a means of opening the process of learning and teaching playwriting beyond existing module structures and across different departments and disciplines at Warwick. It would also be a good opportunity for us to further develop, shape and adapt our existing methodologies in an interdisciplinary context. We will offer two workshop themes: Playwriting (i.e. focusing on specific aspects, techniques, and issues of the playwriting process) and Playwriting beyond Theatre (i.e. using playwriting exercises as pedagogical tools in seminar modules) In addition to the workshops, Richard and I would run three Playwriting Clinics to offer individual feedback for students, who are not enrolled in the Writing for Theatre and Performance Module.
Guest Workshops/ Interviews: In order to foster links with artists and theatre communities and involve a variety of perspectives and approaches to playwriting, the project would invite high-profile playwrights and other theatre practitioners. Students will play a key role in selecting and hosting the guests. We are also interested in opening the guest interview feature of the project to wider public beyond the University and we will liaise with the Warwick Arts Centre to explore this possibility further. These interviews will be podcast and made available to the student community for research purposes e.g would attract interest from theatre, English, creative writing, etc.
Book on Playwriting: We (Richard Shannon and I) plan to co-author/ edit a book on playwriting based on our teaching and the pedagogical exploration we would be doing through this strategic project (Palgrave Macmillan has already expressed interest in such a publication). Existing books on playwriting are usually single authored, thus dominated by one-person's experience and approach to practice and the teaching of playwriting. This book will be based on our experience of co-teaching playwriting, but it would also incorporate other voices (i.e. interviews with some of the playwrights featured through the "Inside the Playwright's Room" and we would really be very keen to incorporate student voices, for instance, featuring some of their short pieces to illustrate the process of an exercise). This book would in the first place aim to help writers and teachers in the creative process, but our materials and choices will be filtered through the question "What makes Playwriting at Warwick distinct?"