“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.” —Simon Stephens
“An incredibly useful writing helpmeet. As witty and humane as its author.” —Emma Thompson
For over two decades, Stephen Jeffreys’ remarkable series of workshops attracted writers from all over the world and shaped the ideas of many of today’s leading playwrights and theater-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 and an exploration of the fundamental “Nine Stories,” plus 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.
Stephen Jeffreys’ plays include The Libertine, I Just Stopped By to See the Man, Valued Friends, A Going Concern, Lost Land, and The Art of War, among others. His work has been produced in numerous theaters including the Royal Court Theatre, Tricycle Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Sydney Theatre Company and Steppenwolf Theatre. His adaptation of Dickens’ Hard Times has been performed all over the world.
For twelve years Stephen was Literary Associate at the Royal Court Theatre where he was a member of the Council. His celebrated playwriting workshops influenced numerous writers, and provided the material for this book, which he was working on right up until his early death in 2018.