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Dramatic Writing – Online Learning Programme 2020-2021

(One afternoon per week for 25 weeks)

C.W.P. in collaboration with New Writing South


As a writer on the online Dramatic Writing Programme you will follow the same course of study as you would if you were attending one of our courses at our teaching centre in Brighton, the only difference being that you will study in our online, interactive teaching space. You will have a regular taught seminar each week so you can get into a steady routine, get to know the other writers (a maximum of twelve per group) and build a supportive and creative community.

All our teaching is done ‘live’ (we do not use any pre-recorded lessons). When your seminar is due to start, you will simply turn your computer on and click on a link on our website. The link will take you to a web page where you can see and interact with your tutor and the other writers in your group.

You will need to commit to a minimum of twelve hours per week. This includes seminar time, reading and writing time. You will need to have a computer (a desktop or laptop with a built in camera), good internet access and be able to find a quiet place to be online at a regular time each week for group seminars. 

In the autumn and spring term courses of this programme you will learn, through practical writing sessions, how to write for the stage and screen. You will be taught how to format scripts, how to utilise the technical and practical characteristics of these different forms and how to work creatively within them. Starting with the essential skills of stagecraft you will learn how to develop characters and storylines that are resonant, coherent and built around dramatic tension. You will then, in the spring term, apply what you have learned to the screen; to more episodic and filmic narrative. In the summer term you will be encouraged to take one of your first draft pieces from the first two terms and through reading and discussion in script development workshops, develop them into a second draft.

By the end of the programme you will have developed a strong working knowledge of scriptwriting technique; written your own scripts and had them critically reviewed; gained a deeper insight into professional practice and had an opportunity to meet and work with professional writers.

What this programme will do for you

This programme will enable you to identify the forms of dramatic writing that are best suited to your individual talent. It will give you a thorough practical understanding of dramatic technique; it will stretch and challenge you creatively; it will provide you with a critical forum where you can test out your ideas; it will teach you how to manage your creative output, both as an individual and within a group and it will strengthen your confidence to work creatively alongside your ability to reflect critically on your own work.

Programme Structure

Autumn term 2020: Course One – The Principles of Dramatic Writing

The main focus of this course will be the form and structure of writing for the stage, including developing strong characters, dramatic stories and an understanding of how a play is ‘put on its feet’. You will develop an understanding of how a play is constructed, including story and suspense; the unities of time and space; dialogue and subtext; the role of the actor; and the interaction between the performance and the audience. During the course you will write the first draft of a one act play (or the first act of a longer play).

Spring term 2021: Course Two – Screenwriting

During this course you’ll develop the craft of dramatic writing for the screen – the principles of storytelling crossover from course one – but here the story’s told in pictures and sound: it’s showing not telling. You’ll identify what you’re trying to write, then take that idea and develop it into the first 10-15 pages of a feature/TV script or a short film. Then we’ll look at log lines, story archetype and genre; the protagonist/antagonist, revisit structure for the screen (turning points, inciting incidents, beats, scenes, Acts); examine point of view, opening and closing scenes and the use of montage.

Summer terms 2021: Course Three – Dramatic Writing Workshops

You will choose one of the pieces you have written for Courses One and Two and in this series of script development workshops, write a second more detailed draft. The aim of the workshops is to offer constructive criticism that will develop the potential of each script by nurturing writers during the writing process and offering critical support and guidance. At the end of the summer term there will be a showcase of readings of students’ work.

Key Facts

Programme length

One year


September 2020


Wednesdays 1 – 3.30pm

Term Dates

Autumn: 28th September – 11th December 2020. Spring: 11th January – 26th March 2021. Summer: 19th April – 24th May 2021.


Entry requirements

No formal qualifications required

Programme team
  • Dr Mark Slater (programme director)
  • Sara Clifford

£650 (Fee includes £100 non-refundable deposit) Fees for the online course must be paid in full before the start of term, no instalment plans are available for this course. Please note that International Students will be responsible for bank transfer fees and bank admin charges.

For further information on this course or our other programmes contact

Mark Slater

For enrolment details contact
New Writing South
9 Jew Street, Brighton BN1 1UT
t: 01273 735353