Writing a short script with Sara Clifford

Ref: SWE32855

Location: West Dean
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About this course

Discover how to construct a script, tell your story and satisfy the audience. Develop ideas for a play, write an extract or short script.

Course Description

How is a script constructed? What is the best way of telling your story? What is satisfying for an audience?

The tutor will take you through the journey to write a ten-minute complete play or the first ten pages of a longer script. Through a combination of exercises, workshop collaboration, individual writing time, peer learning and professional guidance from the tutor, you will learn how to:

– Generate ideas for plays or to develop your existing idea.

– Create strong believable characters that have a life within the play.

– Create challenging ‘journeys’ for your characters.

– Make your idea intrinsically dramatic, how best to tell your story.

– Develop an understanding of the scenography of a play, i.e. how it is put ‘on its feet’ and the collaborative nature of rehearsals.

– Develop your understanding of the interaction between play and audience.

The tutor will create a supportive and creative environment, and will ensure you receive the maximum benefit, especially tailored for emerging writers.

Through practical workshops and guided scripting sessions, along with important ‘time to write’, the tutor will nurture your understanding of the writer’s craft in order to produce your own new work.

By the end of the course, you will have a strong short script or extract ready to be shared in a script-in-hand reading. You will have gained confidence in developing ideas for a play, and an understanding of character, journey, dramaturgy and scenography.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials

What students need to bring

  • See a play, piece of theatre or a film shortly before coming on the course, which you can discuss.
  • What did you like about it and why?
  • What didn’t you like and why?
  • What happened in the end?
  • Bring an idea! This can be at a very early stage, or you may have a stronger sense of what the story is.
  • And can you think of a premise for it in the form of a question? E.g. Will Romeo find happiness ever after with the forbidden Juliet?
  • Notebook and pen/pencil – or your laptop.
  • N.B. PCs are available to use in the Computer Room.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Notebooks, pens, pencils

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


Sara Clifford

Sara originally studied English, and has an MA in Screenwriting. She has been a script reader/dramaturg for over twenty years, and teaches writing for performance at various universities. Sara has written over thirty plays, was finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award; and Writer in Residence at Brighton University.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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