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Courses

Phillippa Wilson and Alex Kinsey, reading a script

Live Theatre run a range of courses including an Introduction to Playwriting course, a Live Writers Group (for more experienced playwrights) and a Comedy Course for aspiring stand-up comics. 

Introduction to Playwriting

Live Theatre’s popular Introduction to Playwriting course combines practical exercises and discussion. Learn key elements of writing for the stage including narrative development, theatrical development, character progression and structure. Many students from the course have gone on to have work produced professionally including award-winning writers Lee Mattinson (Chalet Lines), Fiona Evans (Geordie Sinatra) and Paddy Campbell (Wet House).

Places are limited and allocated via an application system.  Deadline for applications is Friday 10 October.

How to Apply

To apply please submit a brief synopsis of an original stage play to degna@live.org.uk

The synopsis can be from a stage play you have already written, one you are currently writing or one you would like to write. The synopsis should be no more than 250 words long. If you’ve never written a synopsis before don’t be put off, all you need to do is break your idea down into three brief paragraphs:

  • The first paragraph deals with what happens at the beginning of your play
  • The second paragraph deals with what happens in the middle of your play
  • The third paragraph deals with what happens at the end of your play

As well as your synopsis we’d also like to know a little bit about you…

  • What (if anything) have you written before?
  • What do you want to write about?
  • What do you hope to get from completing the course?
  • What is your favourite play; why do you like it?
  • Are you able to commit to attending all five sessions?

We are keen to receive applications from writers of all experience levels. Whether you’re completely new to writing or just new to writing for the stage, this course will ignite your passion for playwriting.

Feedback from previous course member

'I just wanted to say thank you for the support and guidance that your theatre provided for me to grow as a writer. You made it seem possible to succeed. I submitted my play The Joy of Herding Cats to BBC Writers Room. This was the play I worked on while attending the playwriting group. Well, I have just received an e-mail to say that it has made the top 5% and will be progress to a full reading. Again, thank you, without your encouragement and guidance, I would have never submitted this play.' 
Sharon Zucker, member of the Introduction to Playwriting course in 2012  

Live Writers Group
Wed 14 Jan to Wed 18 Mar 2015, (excl. Wed 11 Feb & Wed 4 Mar), 7pm-9pm

Live Writers Group is aimed at budding writers who are passionate about theatre and supports you through the process of writing a one-act play. 

An opportunity to develop a play alongside a small, select group of emerging playwrights. With advice and support from Live Theatre’s Literary Department, the
course also includes visits from playwrights and theatre makers.

New for this season is the opportunity for each participant to receive a 30-minute one to one session after they’ve received their feedback report.

The course cost £120; £80 concs and places are limited and allocated via an application system. Deadline for applications is Friday 19 December.  

How to Apply

Applicants need to have a sound grasp of the basic principles of playwriting; ideally gained by completing Live Theatre’s Introduction to Playwriting course or a similar course elsewhere.

Submit a 250-300 word synopsis of the play you would like to write along with a character list and the first three pages of dialogue. Your synopsis is not set in stone; you can make changes later if you wish to. The important thing is to have a solid idea that you can start working on (it must be a new piece rather than something you’ve been working on previously).

We’d also like to know a little bit about you:                                       

  • What (if anything) have you written before?
  • What do you want to write about?
  • What do you hope to get from being a member of Live Writers’ Group?
  • Where do you see your writing career in two years’ time?
  • What is your favourite play; why do you like it?
  • Are you able to commit to attending all eight sessions?

The closing date for applications is . Successful applicants will be notified on Friday 19 December. If you would like to apply for membership of Live Writers’ Group please submit your application to degna@live.org.uk as a single word document. If you have any queries please get in touch.

Stand-Up Comedy Course

Have you watched live comedy and thought ‘I could do that’? Tutors John Scott and Vladimir McTavish along with special guests guide students through creating an on stage character, using improvisation and stagecraft and shaping your material into a workable routine, which students try out in a special gig in Live’s Studio Theatre.

What past course participant Micky Cochrane had to say about his experience on the course:

‘Stand up was one of things I had always wondered about. I’ve been an actor and performer for many years and when a fellow actor told me about the course I thought what the hell – give it a go.

I’m really pleased I did. The course was such an interesting experience for me, full of people from all walks of life who wanted to try something new.  The biggest compliment I can pay is that you get the right advice and tools to prepare you to perform and even though I felt I hadn’t taken much on board my performance at the end showed that I had learned a lot.

I had no intention of becoming a stand up but now I have played several gigs and I have just been confirmed to play Jesterval comedy festival on 14 June’

What past participant Camille Burridge said about the course:

‘All my life I was presented with opportunities of doing stand up, but my fear and confidence stopped me even though I was a part of a thriving theatre and comedy company. I just felt I could not stand alone.

I always had the intention of attending a stand up course in London, but  financially it was not viable. I jumped at the chance when Live theatre set up the stand up course and I signed up double quick?……to have a place in the first ever stand up course in Newcastle .

The course was a  bit rough round the edges as any new course can be. But everyone involved had one goal and that was to mentor and guide us to the penultimate goal  “Your own stand up gig”.

With the help of 2 professional stand ups and secrets of how to formulate and recognise material along with dealing with audiences, venues , promoters, how to get gigs and even hecklers took me to where I myself did my first gig at the end of the course and followed on to travel in my first year completing 60 gigs, even performing my stand up at the Edinburgh fringe amongst others places.’ 

It was a rollercoaster of nerves and fear but I achieved my dream and I believe if anyone wants to try it even if it just to answer that Mysterious question “could I ? “…. Do it.

I’m glad to say I am planning to go back to The fringe with more gigs and in Manchester, and I am pleased to say that I have regular slots at the stand Newcastle.’

Cost: £100, £60 concs

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