Playwriting Weekend Workshop


The workshopping process is a valuable experience for playwrights of all types and abilities. Under the guidance of an experienced playwright and teacher, this course creates a safe and constructive environment to workshop existing short plays or scenes from plays that you have written.

Scenes will be performed (read) by class members then workshopped by your peers.

Pre-course requirement:
Writers will be required to submit at least 10 pages of a script prior to the first session of this workshop. Your play or scenes must be emailed to before 12pm, Friday 30 October 2020.

Target audience:
This course is for anyone who has already attended the Writing a Short Play course or who has written a script, or part of a script, for a play that they would like to workshop.

Learning objectives:
By the end of this course, you will have:

  • Experienced the workshopping process both as a playwright and as an actor and dramaturg.
  • Understood techniques and strategies to improve your play including structural analysis, scene structure, plot and character development, and rewriting and polishing.
  • Seen some of your play performed and rewritten it accordingly.
  • Discussed aspects of your play with the tutor and with members of the class.
  • Given constructive feedback to the other members of the class about their play.

Course outline:
In this workshop you will receive constructive feedback from the tutor and your peers that will allow you the opportunity to develop and build your writing skills. Discussion and participation are at the heart of this writing workshop.

You will be expected to work on your play in between each session.

There is a half-hour lunch break half-way through each session. Tea, coffee and biscuits are provided. You are welcome to bring your own lunch if you wish or to purchase it from nearby food outlets. Access to a microwave oven is available

Class limit:
This course is limited to a maximum of 12 participants, so please enrol early.

Dave Armstrong is one of New Zealand’s best-known playwrights. His plays include Central, Niu Sila (with Oscar Kightley), The Tutor, King and Country, Le Sud, The Motor Camp, Rita and Douglas, where we once belonged (with Sia Figiel), The Motor Camp, Kings of the Gym, Anzac Eve and The Surprise Party. Dave has won the Chapman Tripp Theatre Award for Best New New Zealand Play three times (Niu Sila, The Tutor, where we once belonged) and his play Central won the 2015 Writers Guild SWANZ award for Best Play. Dave’s works for children include Magnolia Street, the children’s opera Kia Ora Khalid (with Gareth Farr), both commissioned and produced by Capital E, as well as adaptations of Margaret Mahy’s The Singing Bus Queue and Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Dave co-wrote children’s movie, Kiwi Santa, which was released in late 2017.

“Fantastic tutor. Great course structure. Would have liked the course to run a couple of weeks longer, but understand that availability makes that difficult. Overall, definitely would recommend to future participants.”, Writing a Short Play (2019)

"Dave Armstrong is an excellent course leader, personable, experienced, articulate with excellent listening skills. My aim was to learn about aspects of playwriting to help my appreciation of the genre and to improve my creative writing skills. Both aims were easily achieved.", Writing a Short Play (2019)

"Very engaging and helpful. The wisdom and knowledge from the tutor, combined with the class discussions made the course well worth it.", Writing a Short Play (2019)

“Really impressed with Dave Armstrong’s demeanour and ability to engage us all. superb knowledge and delivery of the course. A real pleasure to attend. More than met my expectations”, Writing a Short Play (2018)

Relevant links:
School of English, Film, Theatre and Media Studies
International Institute of Modern Letters
Armstrong Creative

For further information:
Continuing Education, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington 6140.
Phone 04 463 6556,  Email:

Please note: Courses need a minimum number of enrolments to go ahead. If your course doesn’t reach the number required, we’ll have to cancel it. If this happens, we’ll contact you by phone or email about a week before the scheduled start date and arrange a full refund. Please check your emails regularly.