Open to all.
Limited to 12 participants.
This workshop will be conducted via Zoom.
Playwriting is an artform about curiosity, obsession, energy, entertainment, transformation, and illumination. It’s about inspiration, dedication, and practice. It’s about following your impulses and shaping those impulses; about creating a series of freedoms and constraints that focus inspiration into a text that can be used as a blueprint for performance. Unlike most other forms of writing, a play text must leave space for other creators to bring their artistry to the work. Director, actors, designers and technicians eventually fill in those spaces left by the writer to transform what is on the page into a three-dimensional performance that necessitates an audience for it to be fully realized. Having written plays that have been staged throughout Canada and beyond (Stratford Festival, Shaw Festival, Soulpepper Theatre, Segal Centre, Centaur Theatre), Erin Shields has developed a number of exercises, strategies and best practices to imagine, explore, and write plays.
Playwriting 101 is an invitation for writers of other genres to try their hand at playwriting and for playwrights to deepen their practice. Throughout this eight-week workshop, participants will bring their own particular understanding of story, character, and theme to the table, to explore how to apply those same skills to the art of playwriting. Each class will focus on one of the following dramatic elements: character, conflict, desire, premise, form, plot, and structure. Through conversations, focused exercises, and sharing work, participants will gain an understanding of how to organically and technically write a play. The process will alternate focus each class between the micro elements (character, dialogue) and macro elements (theme, story structure), as writers gradually learn how to build the world of the play with nuanced characters.
During these eight weeks, participants will write. A lot. By the end of the workshop, writers will have a strong understanding of the basic elements of a play and how to use those elements to write their own play.