Playwriting and New Play Dramaturgy

Playwriting and New Play Dramaturgy offers a sequence of two practical workshops focusing on the development of the playwright and developmental dramaturg.  Aspects of playwriting, such as action, dramatic structure, plot, dialogue, characterization, sub-text and thematic development are addressed, always through the lens of individual voice and style.  The series of courses emphasizes the development process, as well as the creative product.  These courses will work towards giving playwright participants an understanding of how they write, why they write and what they write about, and towards giving dramaturg participants an experiential understanding of how plays develop and how the dramaturg fulfills an integral role in that process.  The goal of these courses is for each participant to develop, understand, and apply an individualized method and practice of play creation.

Students must successfully complete the first year required courses, THEA 1010 3.0, THEA 1100 3.0 and THEA 1200 6.0, in order to apply to Playwriting and New Play Dramaturgy.

In THEA 3290 6.0 Playwriting and New Play Dramaturgy I, students will begin to develop the craft of playwriting and new play dramaturgy.

In THEA 4290 6.0 Playwriting and New Play Dramaturgy II, students will further hone their skills and engage in more advanced exercises and assignments, moving beyond exploration and identification of individual voice and style towards creating and evolving work, and learning how to submit that work to professional theatres.  Class sessions will be comprised of specific projects, assignments, discussions, sharing of research and reading / workshopping / critiquing of writing and creative work, as well as preparation for public presentation events (The Ashley Plays and Telling Tales Out of School). Students may be asked to work collaboratively on projects, present their own work or present the work of their classmates.  Rehearsal, preparation work and playwright-dramaturgy consultations outside of class time are required throughout the courses.  Dramaturgy students will meet weekly as a group with the Course Director to discuss their ongoing consulting work with the class playwrights.

The development process applied in this sequence of courses includes The Four Elements, the Lomogram Image Cards, Image Flash Exercise, Telling Tales Out of School and The Ashley Plays, as well as a variety of other exercises which focus on how to generate and then develop creative material.  Emphasis throughout is on articulating individual voice, in active dramatic form.

Specialized Honours BFA (Performance Creation)

The department is pleased to announce our new degree path, the BFA in Performance Creation, which students in Playwriting and New Play Dramaturgy may find appealing. For more information on this new program, please visit the program webpage.

Criteria for Entry

For entry into THEA 3290 6.0 Playwriting and New Play Dramaturgy I:  Submission of a portfolio and permission of the Department.

For entry into THEA 4290 6.0 Playwriting and New Play Dramaturgy II:  Successful completion of THEA 3290 6.0, submission of a portfolio and permission of the Department.  Interview may be required.  For details on all portfolio submissions, please see the Department.  Note: Entry into THEA 4290 6.0 is not automatically granted with a passing grade in THEA 3290 6.0.


Required courses:

  • THEA 3290 6.0 Playwriting and New Play Dramaturgy I
  • THEA 4290 6.0 Playwriting and New Play Dramaturgy II

Recommended Courses:

Students are strongly encouraged to take THEA 4330 3.0 Contemporary Canadian Theatre as a supplement to their series of Playwriting and New Play Dramaturgy courses.  Creating contemporary Canadian theatre without seeing and engaging with contemporary Canadian theatre is like learning to cook without eating the food.

All Theatre majors must complete either THEA 3150 3.0 Theatre Management or THEA 4150 3.0 Theatre Career Management in order to graduate.