For over two decades, Stephen Jeffreys’s remarkable series of workshops attracted writers from all over the world and shaped the ideas of many of today’s leading playwrights and theatre-makers. Now, with this inspiring, highly practical book, you too can learn from these acclaimed Masterclasses.
Playwriting reveals the various invisible frameworks and mechanisms that are at the heart of each and every successful play. Drawing on a huge range of sources, it deconstructs playwriting into its constituent parts, and offers illuminating insights into:
- Structure – an in-depth exploration of the fundamental elements of drama, enabling you to choose instinctively the most effective structure for your play
- Character – advice on how to generate and write credible characters by exploring their three essential dimensions: story, breadth and depth
- How to Write – techniques for writing great dialogue, dynamic scenes and compelling subtext, including how to improve your writing by approaching it from unfamiliar directions
- What to Write – how to adopt different approaches to finding your material, how to explore the fundamental ‘Nine Stories’, and how to evaluate the potential of your ideas
Written by a true master of the craft, this authoritative guide will provide playwrights at every level of experience with a rich array of tools to apply to their own work.
This edition, edited by Maeve McKeown, includes a Foreword by April De Angelis.
‘What Stephen Jeffreys doesn’t know about playwriting isn’t worth knowing’
‘Stephen Jeffreys is as important a teacher as he is brilliant a writer… Without him, I wouldn’t have been able to write the plays that I have written’
‘An incredibly useful writing helpmeet. As witty and humane as its author’
‘What Stephen taught me has shaped my mind and I have shared this with countless writers’
‘Stephen was a true mentor… I still draw upon much of what he taught me today’
‘Like a bird in the air, Stephen was utterly in his element as a teacher. We sat spellbound’
‘I had the great pleasure of working with Stephen on his play The Libertine. Would that all playwrights had his openness, his talent, his hard-headedness, his experience, his enthusiasm, his audacity, his complexity, and perhaps best of all his talent and interest in eliciting the best in others’
‘Stephen’s wit was legendary. “Wit”: from the proto-Indo-European word “weid” meaning “to see”/”to know”. Stephen “saw” clearly and “knew” profoundly; which is why we sought out the clarity of his words and learned deeply from his laughter’
‘Stephen was more than just a great bloke whose easy laugh set a room alight; he was a genuine geek, an obsessive about the craft of writing… As I read, I was reminded again of his deep connection to plays and how they work. There are gems in here, there is guidance, there is the spirit of Stephen Jeffreys’
April De Angelis
‘A gripping page-turner that will prove the perfect manual for anyone wishing to improve their playwriting skills… this highly readable and very entertaining book will enhance the enjoyment of general readers whenever they visit the theatre or even read playscripts at home. However, its target audience will be aspiring playwrights, who will learn a vast amount’
— British Theatre Guide
‘A masterfully adept and complete guide to not only finding what you want to write about, but also how to do it… each page has at least one piece of invaluable advice that can be taken away and built on… a love letter to theatre and the craft of writing for the stage’
— Broadway World