Faculty of Arts




The course aims to introduce a number of the “building blocks” of writing for live performance through the study of examples (the texts) and the presentation and critique of exercises. There is no intention to write a complete play as such, though sometimes a student’s exercise scene is equivalent to a very short play in itself; and the final exercise of the three linked scenes can be the basis for a whole.

In other instances individual scenes have been the beginning of full-length theatre works that students have moved on to write and stage, both as part of their study, and also on the professional stage. Because the course does not aim towards writing a complete play, you are free to explore different dimensions of writing for performance.

Throughout the course I am interested in sustaining a conversation about what writing for performance means in 2021, including consideration the role of writing in the mediums of dance and performance art, as well as the relationship between writing and technology.


Coursework only

Availability 2021

Semester 1


Coordinator(s) Dr Emma Willis


The Writer, Ella Hickson, Nick Hern Books, 2018.

Father Comes Home from the Wars: Parts 1, 2 & 3, Suzan-Lori Parks, Theatre Communications Group, 2015.

Purapurawhetū, Briar Grace Smith, Huia, 1999. OUT OF PRINT. You can access the e-book via the library. The library also has physical copies. Additionally, there is a filmed version of the play made for Māori television that you can access via the library.

Top Girls, Caryl Churchill, Methuen, 1982. OUT OF PRINT. You can access the e-book via the library. The library also has physical copies. 

Mother Courage, Bertolt Brecht (trans Tony Kushner), Methuen Drama, 2009.

Fairview, Jackie Sibblies Drury, Theatre Communications Group, 2019.

We’re Gonna Die, Young Jean Lee, Theatre Communications Group, 2015.

 2.5 Minute Ride, Lisa Kron, Theatre Communications Group, 2000.

for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf, Ntozake Shange, Scribner Poetry, 1997.

Ruined, Lynn Nottage, Theatre Communications Group, 2009

Recommended Reading



DRAMA 718: 30.0 points

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