Friday, 4 February 2011


Issue: How do we best nurture and encourage the next generation(s)* of playwrights?

Convener(s): Yvonne Sewell

Participants: I lost the bit of paper! Please get in touch if you were here – good chats occurred:

*not restricted to age

Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:

This is a huge question (one of many). What exactly do we mean by the next ‘generation’? We discovered that there are two quite distinct issues here: that of our education system and that of individual development amongst adults.

The education system:

Why isn’t script writing as integral to the curriculum as poetry, prose or Shakespeare? There is an argument here that children don’t want to write scripts as they’d rather improvise and use actions. But that cannot run true in comparison to the rest of the curriculum. The curriculum is (should be) there to give children the tools and knowledge to fulfil any potential – whether it’s scientific, physical or creative. If other creative mediums are actively encouraged then why is script writing left behind? True, with a gem of a Drama or English teacher this world might be opened up to people at a younger age but this shouldn’t be left to chance.

Obviously, there are huge hurdles here, both to do with funding and time within the curriculum. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about it.

There are a few break-out groups for young people to learn to write scripts but these don’t hold priority over youth theatre groups and they need to be brought to the forefront to make the playwriting network more accessible to everyone both in the long and short term.

Useful resources:
Story by Robert McKee
How Plays Work by David Edgar
The Secret Life of Plays by Steve Waters

North West Playwrights
Playwrights Studio Scotland
New Writing South
New Writing North
The Antelopes
Scriptworks (at Contact Theatre, Manchester)

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