You don’t need to look very far to find plays that have changed the world. Ireland has an especially strong theatrical tradition, including greats like Wilde, Shaw, Synge and Beckett, as well as modern figures like Marina Carr, Frank McGuinness and Martin McDonagh. Even Harry Potter is getting the stage treatment, with the two-part Harry Potter and the Cursed Child making massive waves in London’s West End and beyond. As Hamlet put it, the play’s the thing – so how do you go about writing your own?
If you’re completely new to playwriting, these broad guidelines provide a solid overview (they’re from the world-famous For Dummies series, but I promise I’m not calling anyone names by recommending this link – a good resource is a good resource!). Moving on from that, Maxie Szalwinska shares tips from the Royal Court’s playwriting weekend. This unmissable article by Alan Ayckbourne gives a deep insight into his own processes for refining and developing an idea. Scriptmag has plenty of links for the aspiring playwright – Gary Goldstein’s recent article is especially good.
If you want to specialise, theatre isn’t the only medium for plays – radio is also an outlet that playwrights can explore. The BBC has in-depth advice on this medium here. Drama for children is another rich area for playwrights, and ThoughtCo share some advice on writing drama for children here. There is even a dedicated scriptwriting festival running in Birr, Co. Offaly, this July.
When you’re ready to submit your play, there’s a lot of help and advice out there. As well as their submission guidelines for radio drama, RTE includes some excellent tips here. For a sense of what’s happening in the Irish theatre world, IrishPlayography.com should be your first port of call, and can help you to identify outlets producing work similar to yours. Ireland’s National theatre, the Abbey, is open to unsolicited submissions, as is Druid Theatre Company in Galway from July to November (no pressure). Always check submission guidelines and tailor your submission before sending work.
Exit Ellen stage left (I’m sorry: I had to make a stage directions joke somewhere).
(c) Ellen Brickley