Curriculum Guideline

Introduction to Playwriting

Effective Date:
Course Code
CRWR 1102
Introduction to Playwriting
Creative Writing
Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Start Date
End Term
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
4 hours per week
Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction

The bulk of the classes will be conducted in the workshop format. The following may be combined with the workshop:

  • in-class performance of students’ work
  • lectures and discussions
  • small group work
  • assigned reading and class presentations
  • interviews with instructor
Course Description
This course concentrates on the process of writing stage plays. It includes instruction in play mechanics, dramatic structure, character development, speech patterns, movement, action, and dialogue in the writing of drama. Students are introduced to a range of stage play formats and styles through the study of traditional and modern plays. Student work is presented and discussed by the instructor and students in a workshop environment.
Course Content

Selected plays from published texts.

Students’ manuscripts will form the bulk of the course content.

Learning Outcomes

General Objectives:

The student will learn the techniques of dialogue, characterization, and plot construction as these apply to the writing of stage plays.  The student will write drama for in-class discussion and will learn how to revise manuscripts.

Specific Objectives:


  1. The student will learn to identify and outline script ideas suited to stage presentation.
  2. The student will learn to utilize dramatic action, character revelation, lighting, stage movement, set and costume in the presentation of play ideas.
  3. The student will develop dramatic material through controlled classroom exercises.


  1. The student will recognize the various stages in drafting a play.
  2. The student will recognize a variety of modern and traditional dramatic forms and will learn to express play ideas using these forms.
  3. The student will learn to develop writing habits consistent with the production of quality written work.
  4. Over the term, the student will learn to write dramatic material that shows development in the understanding of dramatic form.


  1. The student will read and watch the work of published and produced playwrights to discover how those writers deal with problems of form and craft.          
  2. The student will recognize how playwrights use character development, dramatic structure, dialogue and stage direction to write successful plays.
  3. By reading the work of his/her peers aloud in the classroom, the student will develop the critical skills necessary to judge the effectiveness of dramatic material.


  1. The student will recognize the value of revision as an essential writing process and where suitable will revise his/her work for class discussion.
  2. The student will evaluate critical suggestions from the instructor and his/her peers, and incorporate these into the revised play.
  3. The student will learn to prepare a play manuscript for presentation to producer, editors and workshops.
Means of Assessment

A minimum of three assignments submitted for class discussion, including a monologue, a short sketch, and a one-act play will count for a minimum of 60% of the course grade.  Other evaluations may include self-evaluations of submitted material, in-class writing assignments, participation in the workshop (in-class critical analysis of student work), and a 500-word report on a professional live play seen during the term.  An overall minimum of 40 pages of work is required.

Students are required to attend 80% of the workshops.  A student missing more than 20% of the workshops without receiving prior permission from the instructor will receive a 0 in class participation.  Leaving after the break is considered half an absence. 

Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students

The following may be required:

The text of a play being produced by the Douglas College Theatre Department in the current semester. To be announced at beginning of term; a relevant play anthology such as Modern Canadian Plays (ed. Jerry Wasserman).

  • Any College entrance Language Proficiency Requirement EXCEPT the Douglas College Course Options in ELLA or ENGU, OR
  • a minimum grade of C- in ELLA 0460, or a minimum grade of C- in both ELLA 0465 and 0475, OR
  • a minimum grade of C- in ENGU 0450 or ENGU 0455 or ENGU 0490


Which Prerequisite