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Introduction to Playwriting

Applications are now closed.

In this all-day workshop, award-winning playwright Mary Anne Butler will introduce the essential skills of writing / devising for theatre, sharing stagecraft techniques to support you to develop:

  • A compelling central character
  • A clear character goal
  • Understanding of character obstacles
  • The essence of punchy dialogue that moves your story forward
  • Techniques for raising the story stakes


The workshop will also more broadly cover:

  • An overview of the journey from page to stage (writing/dramaturgy/developing/producing)
  • Deciding which of your creative ideas would translate well to the stage
  • Exploring dramaturgy – the craft of shaping your ideas into their best possible stage version
  • Gathering like-minded teams of peers around you, to help realise your work for the longer term

This program is designed to kickstart a creative stage play idea that participants can continue to develop later in the year via local arts initiative Theatre Makers.

Mary Anne will join participants in two follow-up online sessions: The Lonely Playwrights Club. These Zoom sessions will support playwrights to stay connected to their original idea and carve out time to write or devise in a world of distractions. Participants will then be invited to apply for the Theatre Makers program in August, an opportunity to develop acting and technical production skills to put their brand-new work onto the stage.

This workshop is open to anyone with a passion for theatre and performance, regardless of experience or skill level. Places are reserved for First Nations participants and accessible application options are available. You can record a video, audio note or request a word version of the form below.

There are 16 places available – please contact Betty Sweetlove at alice@ntwriters.com.au if you have any questions about the application process or workshop accessibility.

Applications open: Mon 25 March 2024

Applications close: Mon 15 April 2024 (5pm)

Workshop date: Sat 18 May 2024, 10am – 4.30pm

Workshop venue: Red Hot Arts

Cost: Free via application, open to anyone aged 18+

Online Zoom dates: tbc


Mary Anne Butler’s plays have won the Victorian Prize for Literature, the Victorian Premier’s Award for Drama, the Shane and Cathryn Brennan Prize, an AWGIE and two NT Chief Minister’s Book of the Year Awards. She’s been nominated for the Griffin Theatre Award and twice for the Nick Enright Award. She mentors for Varuna – the National Writer’s House, and is an experienced dramaturg and teacher.

This workshop has been made possible by the Community Benefit Fund.