Master your writing with Masterclasses

13-Dec-2022 | Kerrie L Marsh -

Reading might not always be the most helpful resource. We all learn differently and take in information in various ways. Reading a blog might not be useful to you. I defiantly can’t follow flatpack furniture instructions and much prefer to follow a video that a friendly handyperson has shared on the internet.  This is why a few blogs ago, I wanted to draw your attention to the 37 Plays project Podcasts. A series of interviews by playwright Mark Ravenhill who chats with other playwrights who discuss their writing process and share their tips with the listeners. It’s a wonderful world to dip into when you are pottering around, on your commute or a little pre sleep chill time. You don’t have to sit down and read, you can just allow the information to sink in as you catch up on housework or… not. It’ll eventually get done right?  

But if, like me you often turn to videos for helpful hints then you will be pleased to learn that the Royal Shakespeare Company’s YouTube channel now have a series of 37 Plays Project Masterclass videos, and they are extremely insightful and helpful in providing guidance for people interested in script writing.  

In each session established playwrights talk about their approaches to writing, problem solving, and answer questions from the audience. 

They cover a range of subjects from how to write the stories of our nation, finding your story, building your world, and compelling characters. These videos coincide with the resources available on the 37 Plays website. So, they are great viewing to back up anything you have read on there. There are also three masterclasses on the channel that are available to watch. Playwright Hannah Khalil talks about sculpting time, Jack Holden explores creating character and Ishy Din along with director and dramaturg Chris White discuss all things, world building.  

In Finding Your Story, Juliet Gilkes asks three important questions. 

  1. What is true? 
  2. What comes next? 
  3. Why should we care? 

With a reminder that compelling stories are always about change. “Our understanding of the world is not static. It can’t be. Otherwise, they would have been no evolution”  

Ishy Din in Building Your World informs us that writing isn’t like cooking. Once you’ve added something, if you don’t like it. Don’t worry. You can just take it out again. And in the terms of worlds, then if you can imagine it, you can set a play there. It’s as simple as that.  

Jack Holden in Compelling Characters tells us how he uses a “Mental Soup” that he dunks into for character inspiration. A bubbling batch full of character traits he’s picked up from observing and listening. Disclosing one of his favourite activities is to eavesdrop and listen to real human conversation. 

These are just a few of the helpful tips in this collection of videos. There is so much more content to watch and discover. The masterclasses alone are around an hour in length and full of useful detail that will be sure to help you along your writing way. It’s also worth mentioning that searching your favourite writers and the writers who intrigues you is also a beneficial exercise because there will surely be interviews and conversations involving them across the internet that you will find inspiring also. 

The 37 Plays Project Masterclasses have been kindly collated into a playlist so you don’t have to go searching through all the videos on the RSC YouTube channel. You can get yourself a brew, snacks and a notepad and pen and immerse yourself in the wisdom of professional writers and get inspired! Enjoy! 

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