If you have authentic ideas burning inside you and you love the idea of telling a good story, it may be that you’re destined for a career as a playwright. In order to make that decision, however, you’ll need to do some research and find out what’s involved, whether you need qualifications or not, and how you would get paid.
It can be satisfying to write a play; certainly, should you come to see it be performed on a stage. Turning it into a career, however, isn’t as easy as all that. As with other careers in the performing arts, such as acting, you’ll likely need to balance it with another job in order to provide you with a regular income.
As an aspiring playwright, you wouldn’t be required to go through any kind of formal training but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t seek to gain qualifications and get involved in activities to assist you in building knowledge and skills. You may also find opportunities to apply your skills to write for film, television, or radio.
What a playwright does
Playwrights write brand new plays, as well as adapt existing stories into plays. They also write new versions of old plays that were written in other languages, often working with a translator, in order to achieve such goals as giving the language a more up-to-date feel.
Playwrights will sometimes write a play based on their own idea, then once it’s finished, they get in touch with theatre companies to gauge any interest in having the play performed at their venue. This is especially the case for new playwrights attempting to break Into the industry.
A theatre company may ask playwrights with more experience to write a play for them and pay the playwright upfront. Such an agreement can come about from the theatre company liking an idea that the playwright has proposed to them. Or they may ask the playwright to adapt a story or offer a new translation of a particular play.
Playwrights typically remain involved with a play once they’ve finished the script and rehearsals have been. They usually attend some, if not all, the rehearsals and might even be asked to change parts of the script.
Becoming a playwright
You don’t need a qualification in order to become a playwright- what matters is that you can write a decent script. You’ll still need to invest time in developing your skill, however. There are a number of ways in which you can do this.
Read plays. See plays. There are ways you can get into plays for free, or at least get your hands-on inexpensive tickets. One way could be to volunteer as an usher for an amateur play or at a professional theatre. You’d likely have the chance to sit and watch the play without paying. You’ll also want to read new plays and not just the classic ones like Shakespeare, as you’ll need to have an idea of what types of work theatre companies are accepting.