THE FOUNDATION COURSE 2021 - 2022
THE FOUNDATION COURSE dates, 2021/22
The dates, all on Mondays, are as follows, 6pm - 8.30pm:
October 4, 11,18, 25
November 1, 8, 29
December 6, 13, 20
January 10, 17, 24, 31
February 7,14, 28
March 7, 14, 21, 28
April 18, 25,
May 2, 9, 16, 23, 30,
June 6, 13
The dates, all on Saturdays, are as follows:
32 x 2.5 hour sessions taking place on Mondays from 6 to 8.30pm, plus
two half-day workshops.
(80 hours in total)
Course Fee: £2950
Each course is self-contained. It is not necessary to do all three years.
HOW IT WORKS
You might be a brand new writer, or someone who has written a great deal
but is yet to break through onto the professional stage or radio; or you might
have written in another field altogether and want to build up your skills
as a playwright.
The professional course covers every aspect of writing a play. Over 30 weekly sessions and 2 half-day performance workshops, 8 WRITERS will produce short, medium and full length scripts.
Classes run from 6 to 8.30pm on Monday evenings.
John teaches a different aspect or theme each week to a group of 8 writers who each receive close personal attention. The course provides a wide framework of reference for each writer to find, and place, his or her own voice and make it as distinct as possible.
Two of the three terms have a half-day performance workshop in which the group will see their work performed and look at the practical staging opportunities that each play creates.
Personal study consists of weekly written work, shared with the group, and a verbal report on the play studied for that week.
You will receive up-to-date professional advice as to where to send your best work.
The course covers all the structural essentials of writing a good play:
writing a dramatic page
writing a dramatic scene
juxtaposing scenes to build a narrative act
story-events and sequencing
the creation of character
the finding of a distinct voice for each character
dialogue and subtext
the creation of place
the challenge and manipulation of time
working with a theme
genre and the world of your play
plotting and story-telling
the uses of different dramatic forms
the presentation and lay-out of your script
John’s course addresses the whole collaborative nature of theatre.
As well as paying rigorous attention to language and text, he looks at the physical nature of performance, the place of movement and gesture, the question of music and its impact on story-telling and the site-specific opportunities that contemporary theatre affords.
John also considers the wider application of drama in the field of education and other areas of social change.
At the end of the course, writers will be advised on the potential of their plays to be produced professionally; to consider who the play is written for and why; and who the play might be sent to and what kind of collaborators to seek.
During the course there will be in-depth study of contemporary playwrights.
FOUNDATION COURSE READING LIST 2019-2020
A RAISIN IN THE SUN Lorraine Hansberry
THIS CHILD Joel Pommerat
IPHIGENIA IN SPLOTT Gary Owen
TOP GIRLS Caryl Churchill
THE WRITER Ella Hickson
LAMPEDUSA Anders Lustgarten
TWO Jim Cartwright
SNOWFLAKE Mike Bartlett
THE INHERITANCE Matthew Lopez
VALUED FRIENDS Stephen Jeffreys
ALBION Mike Bartlett
UNCLE VANYA Anton Chekhov
GUT Frances Poet
THIS IS OUR YOUTH & LOBBY HERO Kenneth Lonergan
THE WEIR Conor Macpherson
THE TRUTH Florian Zeller
HOW THE WORLD BEGAN Catherine Trieschman
THE VILLAGE BIKE Penelope Skinner
THE FERRYMAN Jez Butterworth
"John is an insightful, supportive, and inspiring teacher, and assembles a group with a range of experience and perspectives. There is a perfect balance of group discussion and one on one feedback. I can't recommend the course highly enough."
Ed Rowett, participant 2019/21
"Taking the course has been one of the best decisions I have made. It is very well structured, with the homework exercises building up from monologues to eventually a full-length play."
Katrina Rimmer, participant 2019/21
Visiting workshop leaders and guest speakers
2021 TIM CROUCH (Don’t Ask The Driver, An Oak Tree, England, The Author)
June 2018 CHRIS CAMPBELL then Literary Manager at The Royal Court
June 2019 MIKE BARTLETT (Dr Foster, Press, King Charles 3rd, Albion, Earthquakes in London)
March 2020 KENNETH LONERGAN (Manchester by the Sea, You Can Count On Me, Starry Messenger, This is Our Youth)
FREE Taster Days
John Retallack offers FREE taster days that will take you through key elements of his Oxford Playwriting Course. The taster day will engage you in writing a dramatic scene and invite you to hear it read aloud by professional actors.