Welcome to Oxford Playwriting

OXFORD PLAYWRITING is a programme of three Oxford-based writing courses for aspirant professional playwrights run by theatre director and Olivier award-winning playwright JOHN RETALLACK. No academic qualification is required, and the course is open to anyone over 18 with a passion and flair for writing.


The course has three levels; FOUNDATION, INTERMEDIATE and ADVANCED and is open to writers to join for 1 year, 2 years or 3 years. The ADVANCED course is open only to writers who have completed one or two years of the OXFORD PLAYWRITING programme.



For beginners.

Oct 2021 - June 2022


For those more experienced

Oct 2021 - June 2022


For those who have done the Foundation or Intermediate courses

Oct 2021 - June 2022

For all 3 levels of the course there is an additional PERFORMANCE WORKSHOP in which professional actors, directed by John Retallack, perform extracts of the writers’ work for an invited audience.


The course is based in Oxford’s historic city centre with striking views over the colleges. 

Classes and Performance Workshops take place at: Vincent’s Club, 1A King Edward Street, Oxford OX1 4HS

Read recent PRESS COVERAGE from Ox Magazine on how the course sustained the various groups during the pandemic through a mix of in-person and online learning.

JR tutoring 2 2016 crop.jpg


John Retallack offers a FREE 30-minute online consultation for those interested in applying for the course. He will take you through key elements of his Oxford Playwriting Course, and give you the opportunity to ask questions.

Course Feedback

"John's course is the best anyone could hope for. It has transformational effects on the confidence and achievements of all the participants. John is passionate and knowledgeable about theatre and has great first-hand experience. The course is so artfully constructed that you slip gracefully into writing a play, through all the exercise stages, almost without realising it. The discussion of plays is precise and informed and of great practical benefit for our own writing. Best of all, the chance to have your work rehearsed and performed by excellent professional actors is gold dust."

Nick Marston, writer, 2018-21 course




Actors read work at a Performance Workshop