Bitesize Playwrighting is a new initiative and competition for schools from touring theatre company Tamasha, intended to support secondary school Drama teachers continue to teach their subject during the coronavirus lockdown. As a physical art form, many Drama teachers are struggling to teach their subject remotely, but there is one part of the theatre-making process which can continue while we are all isolated, and that is playwrighting.

In our series of short videos, each no longer than 5 minutes, our artistic director, playwright Fin Kennedy, and members of the Tamasha Playwrights group walk students through the playwrighting process step-by-step. Each clip introduces a different element of drama, from creating believable Characters, to the Inciting Incident which brings them together, to writing realistic Dialogue, considering the scene's Location, and structuring a simple Plot. Each video is constructed around a practical exercise for students to complete, all intended to build up everything they need to write their own 5-minute scene for two Characters.

The videos below are numbered and arranged in order as a Scheme of Work for students to complete, with flexibility for teachers to use them in whatever way is most helpful, across days, weeks, or even a whole term. The videos are also accompanied by a suite of downloadable written playwrighting resources, including worksheets for students to complete offline.

All the Bitesize Playwrighting films are free, thanks to generous support from the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Garfield Weston Foundations, and will remain online permanently for teachers to use in years to come.

To motivate students we're also holding a competition! We're inviting all students who complete the course and write a 5-minute scene to send it to us for a 30th September 2020 deadline. All plays we receive will get some tailored notes from one of our Tamasha Playwrights group, and our favourites will be offered some one-to-one mentoring and an invitation to complete a final draft for publication. We'll compile the winning entries into a digital volume celebrating young people's playwrighting, and make it available to all participating schools and for free download on our website.

We've been touched by the enthusiastic response to this initiative already, with some teachers asking if staff can enter the competition too. Our answer is a resounding YES! It will be really fun if you want to do some writing alongside your students as you all learn together. We are pleased to announce that we will create a separate category in the competition for staff plays, and include some in the anthology!

To take part, please email aitor@tamasha.org.uk to register your school, after that it's over to you! We are here to answer any questions which come up, and we might periodically check in with you, but we hope that everything you need will be in the films and resources below.

The films below are the ones which are ready now, and are enough to get you started. But keep checking back for new ones as more are still being made and we will upload them once they're ready. It will hugely improve the scene you write if you are able to watch all the videos and complete all the exercises. Learning playwrighting takes time! But we think it's worth it - we can't wait to see what you produce.

Good luck, and happy playwrighting!

We’re really pleased that Methuen Drama are sponsoring our Bitesize Playwrighting competition and producing the digital winners’ book. The publishing home of a huge range of play editions, critical texts and teacher development books, as well as the digital library Drama Online, we couldn’t think of anyone better to sponsor us. Have a browse on their website here.

 

We are grateful to The London Community Response Fund (City Bridge Trust) for supporting Tamasha to deliver our digital programme and professional development programme for London-based artists during this time.