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. 

SATURDAY 14 & SUNDAY 15 MAY, 2016 10AM TO 5PM 
Introduction to Playwriting weekend

Learn key elements of writing for the stage including narrative development, theatrical development, character progression and structure in Live Theatre’s popular playwriting course.  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 15 April. 

Successful applicants will be notified on Friday 22 April.

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?

We welcome and encourage applications from people of all experience levels and backgrounds. We particularly welcome applications from disabled and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) individuals as these groups are currently underrepresented on our course. Whether your'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 

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 including the Jesterval comedy festival in June 2014.’

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

Book now

Live Writers Group  

Applications are now closed for Live Writers Group.

Join a group of emerging playwrights and develop a play with advice and support from Live Theatre’s Literary Department. The course includes visits from playwrights and theatre makers and the opportunity or each participant to receive a 30 minute one to one tutorial after they’ve received their feedback report. Live Writers Group is aimed at budding playwrights who are passionate about theatre; this group is geared towards supporting you through the process of writing a one-act play. You will receive dramaturgical notes on your work in progress throughout the course and at the end of the group (once you’ve submitted your one-act play) you will receive a detailed feedback report and a one-to-one tutorial.  

Sessions include: character development, dialogue, structure, theatricality and pitching your play. There will also be sessions with guest writers and theatre practitioners who will give their hints and tips for creating successful plays. 

A prerequisite for joining Live Writers Group is a commitment to work towards the completion of a one-act play. If you can’t make this commitment, this is not the group for you. You also 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.

Live Theatre's online Playwrighting course www.beaplaywright.com

Learn the art of playwriting from leading theatre practitioners in Live Theatre's acclaimed online distance course.

Facilitated by a new writing producing theatre with a proven track record in nurturing and supporting writing talent, www.beaplaywright.com consists of five modules which allow students to progress at a speed that suits them. Each module tackles an aspect of playwriting through text, video and audio tutorials and filmed excerpts of material including interviews with award-winning writers such as Lee Hall (Billy Elliot andThe Pitmen Painters) and Alan Plater (Close the Coalhouse Door).

The philosophy of the course is not to provide a ‘how-to’ of playwriting, rather a stimulating environment where students are asked to think about their art and craft in a more intense way, to help writers find their own voice.

Join an active online community of over 100 budding playwrights from around the world learning the craft of playwriting.

Students on the solo version of the course which costs £95, work through the online modules

The interactive version of the course at £495 offers fortnightly online discussions and practical feedback from experts at Live Theatre including a detailed critique of their final play.

Find out more

The development of www.beaplaywright.com was supported by Arts Council England, Business Link and a social investment loan from The Esmée Fairburn Foundation and Venturesome Capital.

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