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An introduction to Playwriting with Orion

City, University of London is excited to announce a brand new course in Introduction to Playwriting. City’s playwriting tutor, Orion, talks about the journey that led them to writing plays; and what inspires and challenges them about playwriting.

by Short Courses

Hi Orion and welcome to City! We are delighted that you will be teaching our new short course, Introduction to Playwriting. Where did your passion for playwriting begin?

I can't remember ever having the thought, "I think I'll give playwriting a go". I was heavily involved in acting as a child and teenager, but something wasn't quite gelling for me. I was always wanting to rewrite the scripts rather than learn them...I wrote my first complete play when I was sixteen. My family moved to a remote part of The United States, where my surroundings were completely alien to me - buffalo, wild turkeys, Mt. Rushmore, red and white tiled diners untouched from the 1950s.

During this isolated time, I managed to get my first play out, which later I decided to send to The Royal Court Theatre. From there, they invited me onto their Emerging Playwrights Programme, an experience which provided me with the confidence that any emerging writer needs to realise they might have a good story or two to share.

What inspires your playwriting? Where do your ideas come from?

Ideas come from all over the place. Conversations I overhear on public transport. Photographs. News articles. I often use the writing process as a way to think through a personal conflict. For instance, I am currently thinking about how queer identities can survive or exist in large corporate work environments. In particular, I am interrogating the ways in which gender neutral pronouns complicate and challenge assumed heteronormative settings.

Tell us a bit about your playwriting career so far?

Each play that I've written has been different from the last. I'm sure there are some reoccurring themes...but for the most part, I really enjoy jumping between vastly different settings and characters and am always keen to come across projects that will make me feel somewhat out of my depth.

What are the challenges of becoming a successful play write?

For me, the greatest challenge is following through with an idea. After a couple of months ploughing away at your script you will inevitably find a new idea for a new script and this new idea will seem infinitely better than the one you are currently working on. Over half the fight is down to following through with the script you started with. Stick with it. Stick with it. Stick with it.

What motivated you to teach the playwriting course at City?

City is one of those rare places that is excited for change and the expansion of its community. There is such an embracing atmosphere. I knew I wanted to teach somewhere that is thinking hard about the future of higher education and how we can always be improving these structures through collaboration and inclusion.

What can students expect to get from the course?

Students can expect to gain the foundational tools they need to give voice to their first full length play.

Discover more about the Introduction to Playwriting course

OrionOrion will teach the 10-week programme, Introduction to Playwriting, starting on Wednesday 1st May 2019.

You can book your place and find out about other courses offered in a wide range of courses in subjects including business and management, computing, law, languages and writing by visiting the website.

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