Creative writing and publishing

Writing for site responsive theatre with Sara Clifford

Ref: SWE10312


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About this course

Explore responding to a site or location and how to create exciting immersive stories that capture the spirit of a place..

Course Description

Create a toolkit for writing for site responsive theatre through practical exercises and a series of questions. You will then work in groups to apply your new skills and processes to create a short piece of theatre responding to the magnificent historical setting of West Dean College itself.

What makes your local community what it is? Its work history, such as mining, shoe making, fishing, technology? Or a heritage link? Or a social experience such as a dancehall or a history of protest? And how has that shaped the landscape and the memories and experiences of the people who live and work there? What stories do people, of all ages, want to tell about it? How can those stories be encapsulated in a bigger story? We will consider how to create high quality theatre in these contexts and explore different techniques you can draw on, using site specific work, or verbatim text for example; explore topics such as the environment or working with a local community to tell their story; and how to work in collaboration with both other artists and participants to create exciting immersive stories.

This course will offer the tools to create texts with the emphasis on performativity. It is aimed at early career writers, whilst also offering professional development and skills sharing for more established artists. Sara Clifford, the tutor, specialises in this work and has created six site responsive theatre pieces since 2012, ranging from Our Dancing Feet, a dance piece set in the 1950s performed in a nightclub in Brighton; to Home Fires, a promenade story of World War One performed at Newhaven Fort.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials

What students need to bring

  • Pen and paper or laptop, to write on


Sara Clifford

Sara originally studied English, and has an MA in Screenwriting. She has been a script reader/dramaturg for over twenty years, and teaches writing for performance at various universities. Sara has written over thirty plays, was finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award; and Writer in Residence at Brighton University.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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