Involve yourself in acting classes, drama clubs, or shows. You can learn much about how plays work even when you haven’t written it yourself. You’ll also want to keep writing. In the beginning stages, the quality of your work is of little importance. The best way to improve your skill is to start, and keep, writing. But certainly, you should also find part-time courses or writing groups in the area in which you live.
Also, think about getting together with members of local drama groups or friends to showcase your work. You’re unlikely to achieve fame and fortune this way but it would provide a great learning experience.
Once you’ve improved your skills and penned work that you feel happy with, it’s time for you to get you and your work noticed by the theatre industry. You can enter competitions and attend courses and workshops with prestigious organisations you can compete for a place on. The BBC Writersroom is one of the better information sources regarding current opportunities.
Some theatres, as well as theatre companies, read plays submitted by new writers. While they consider putting on those players, the more likely outcome is that they will as you to take part in additional learning activities with them, as opposed to paying you and staging your first major play.
Some subjects in schools, colleges, and universities provide opportunities for you to build your knowledge and skills that will help your progress as a writer. It isn’t essential that you gain a qualification- you won’t be asked to present your CV after you’ve sent in your script. But they can be useful in your development.
In English literature, you would study plays by the best playwrights. Drama would provide you with an understanding of theatre and a chance to experiment, and at university, possibly take a module in playwriting.
Some universities offer a joint degree in Drama and English, enabling you to study both. Creative writing degrees provide you with the opportunity to study and experiment with various forms of creative writing, such as screenwriting, poetry, fiction and, of course, playwriting. Some universities require an A level or equivalent in English. Some degrees are available for those entering university for the first time who wish to focus more on playwriting.
Specialising in playwriting
There are degrees that specialise in playwriting, although they tend to be at the Masters level, so you would need to have already completed a degree or have sufficient relevant experience. Some prefer you to have taken a relevant subject for your degree before taking a Masters, while others only care that you can demonstrate that you have sufficient aptitude for the course.
If you attend university, you’ll likely be given an opportunity to become involved in theatre away from your course. You may find a student drama society willing to stage your plays either on the campus itself or by taking it to a festival like the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.