The Humanitas Visiting Professorship in Drama David Edgar gives a series of lectures and conversations about the state of modern playwriting in contemporary theatre, how playwrights work and how they collaborate with one another.
Plays for Today?
Closing symposium in which critic Michael Billington, playwright Rachel De-lahay, theatremaker Chris Goode academic and Dr Liz Tomlin discuss with David Edgar the place of the playwright in contemporary theatre. This event was filmed on 7th February 2015. The challenge to traditional roles and hierarchies in the theatre has involved academics and critics as well as practitioners. What effect is the controversy having on the content, form and working methods of contemporary theatre? What would the theatre look like without playwrights? What can the industry learn from new working methods, and how might performance companies benefit from collaborating with writers?
How Playwrights Collaborate
A conversation with playwrights David Edgar, Howard Brenton and Bryony Lavery about how playwrights collaborate with directors, performers and each other. This conversation was filmed on 6th February 2015. How do playwrights with together with each other, with dramaturgs, with directors and producers, with actors? How do things work in television, where writers are increasingly powerful in the production process? In theatre, how do playwrights work with companies that have traditionally made their own work?
How Playwrights Work
A conversation with playwrights David Edgar, April de Angelis and David Greig discussing their working methods and what is (or isn’t) unique about their work. This conversation was filmed on 4th February 2015. Most people assume that the individual writer brings something particular to the playwriting process, but is that true? What do playwrights actually get up to at their desks? Do they plan, or is it all instinct? What does feeling something "works" or is "right" actually mean? What do they feel is essentially “them” about their work: the subject matter, the form or the voice?
State of Play
First lecture in which Playwright David Edgar outlines the story of new writing in postwar British theatre and the growth of the anti-writer trend since the 1990s. This lecture was filmed in Oxford on 2nd February 2015. He also presents the case for the individual playwright (vigorously) but also discusses whether the primacy of the playwright is outdated and what playwrights can learn and have learnt from alternative playmaking methods.