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Writing for the Theatre

with Tanika Gupta & Joel Horwood

'The definition of a good play is one that says something about the state of the world'

- Stephen Jeffreys

How do you come up with creative ideas in the current climate? And, once you have your big idea, how do you turn it into a play? Join celebrated writers Tanika Gupta and Joel Horwood to explore methods for creating words for the stage. Through games, writing exercises and invaluable one-to-one feedback, you will be encouraged to take your writing to the next level.

We’re looking for writers keen to begin or improve their writing for the stage.

Applications for Writing for Theatre are now closed.

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Dates - Monday 22nd June to Friday 26th June. The course will comprise 9 hours of contact time on Zoom, plus time spent working independently on projects.

Click here for the provisional timetable.

Price* - £135 (including membership to the Wise Children Club), with free places available.

About the course leaders

Tanika Gupta MBE FRSL

Over the past 25 years Tanika has written over 25 stage plays that have been produced in major theatres across the UK and has written extensively for BBC Radio drama. Some of her Theatre credits include: A Doll’s House (Lyric Hammersmith) Red Dust Road – adaptation of Jackie Kay’s memoir (NT Scotland) ; Bones (Central School for Speech and Drama); Hobson’s Choice (Manchester Royal Exchange); Lions And Tigers (Globe Theatre. Winner of the James Tait Black Prize for Drama 2018); A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian (Hull Truck Theatre); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Globe Theatre –Dramaturg); Anita and Me (Birmingham Rep); Love N Stuff (Theatre Royal Stratford East); The Empress (Royal Shakespeare Company); Wah! Wah! Girls - A British Bollywood Musical (Sadler’s Wells); Mindwalking (Bandbazi Theatre); Great Expectations (Watford Palace Theatre/English Touring Theatre); Meet The Mukherjees (Bolton Octagon Theatre); White Boy (National Youth Theatre/Soho Theatre); Sugar Mummies (Royal Court Theatre); Gladiator Games (Sheffield Crucible Theatre); Hobson’s Choice (Young Vic); Fragile Land (Hampstead Theatre); Inside Out (Clean Break); Sanctuary, Brecht’s The Good Woman Of Setzuan and The Waiting Room (National Theatre); Skeleton (Soho Theatre); and A River Sutra (Indoza).

Some of her Television credits include:  Doctors, London Bridge, All About Me, EastEnders, Grange Hill, The Bill, Flight, Banglatown Banquet, Our Lives As Animals ,The Fiancee and Bideshi. Some of her Radio credits include: Trumpet, A Passage To India, Death of a Matriarch, The Home and The World, Emma, Writing The Century, Bindi Business, Song Of The Road, The God Of Small Things, Baby Farming and Ibsen’s A Doll’s House
In 2008 Tanika was awarded an MBE for Services to Drama and in 2016 was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Tanika has an honorary doctorate in the Arts from Chichester University and is an Honorary Fellow at Rose Bruford College and Central School of Speech and Drama. She won the James Tait Black award in 2018 for her play Lions and Tigers.


Tanika Gupta

Joel Horwood

Joel is a playwright whose work for theatre includes The Ocean At The End of the Lane (adapt. Neil Gaiman. National Theatre); Berberian Sound Studio (Donmar Warehouse); The Little Match Girl (Shakespeare’s Globe/Bristol Old Vic), an adaptation of Jon Klassen’s I Want my Hat Back which received an Olivier Award nomination for Best Family and Entertainment Show (National Theatre); This Changes Everything (Tonic Theatre) which was nominated for a WGGB ‘Best New Play’ Award; A Series of Increasingly Impossible Acts (Lyric Hammersmith/UK Tour); I Caught Crabs in Walberswick (Eastern Angles at the Pleasance, Edinburgh/UK Tour/Bush); Food which won a Fringe First Award (Traverse, Edinburgh) and Mikey the Pikey (Pleasance, Edinburgh). Joel is working with Maria Aberg on a version of The Great Gatsby.

Work for screen includes Skins and The Reward which won the RED connector Grand Prize in 2008. Joel has also adapted the Radiohead album OK Computer for BBC Radio 4.

*The School for Wise Children is committed to making theatrical training accessible and offers at least 50% of our places for free to those who would not be able to train otherwise. Due to our funding, we are unable to offer free places to those outside the UK. You need to be aged 18 or older to participate in a School for Wise Children course. 

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