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what is dramaturgy?

I see my role as a Dramaturg as helping a writer to find their distinctive voice within their work, making sure that that is communicated clearly through the script. 

I asked director and dramaturg Rob Watt, whose work I admire and enjoy, what he would say about his role as a Dramaturg...

"I make work with living writers and the role of a Dramaturg is essential. The Dramaturg helps the writer shape, question and interrogate the world of the play and the characters who inhabit it. They investigate the rigour and integrity of the play while supporting the writer to make the best work they can." Rob Watt, director & dramaturg

workshops for new writers

Canvas held 2 days of workshops with HFC Arts Development Insight. Rosanna worked with four different writers on 10 minute excerpts of plays. See what the writers involved had to say...

‘I feel newly invigorated and keen to try out fresh ideas. Rosanna’s approach as a dramaturg was supportive, precise and open and helpful. I felt like my work was treated with appreciation and respect.’ Jack Sanderson Thwaite

‘For a long time I felt like I was hitting my head against a brick wall with it, and after the session I couldn't wait to start work on it again. I would recommend these sessions to other writers and I would seek similar opportunities for all of my projects from now on.  Kelvin Fawdrey

 Following the success of these we will be offering more workshops like this in 2017. Get in touch if you think your process could benefit from this kind of opportunity.


From Idea to production...

Rosanna and Olivia worked closely over the course of a year to take Olivia's first few pages of script to a full scale production. This writer/dramaturg relationship is one that they are now continuing going forward. Here is what Olivia had to say about the process...

Before ‘The Coastguard’s Daughter’ I had never written a play before. After being directed by Rosanna Elliott in Cider with Rosie, I knew that I wanted her to direct this production. It was crucial to work with a director I trusted and who would passionately and sensitively engage with both the story and the process. I did not come to her with a finished script. I had one scene and an idea.

I did not come to her with anything other than hope, an idea, a vision, a plan, an article which prompted the story and the first scene that I had written. In bed. In pencil. Next to my cat.

I could have approached Rosanna as a director with my finished script and once I had achieved funding. However, I think we achieved funding and a finished product of calibre because it was not just me but we. One of the best pieces of advice Rosanna gave me throughout the creative writing process was to go back to the beginning. To ask myself why I was doing it? What was it for?

As a director Rosanna will often ask her performers to ask themselves why they are doing x, w or z. What is the point and purpose of that action, that scene, that moment, that look, that instinct. As we sat through the script together this would guide us. I learnt what didn’t need to be said. A script is not a novel. It becomes a living breathing thing once you put it up on its feet with performers.

Rosanna and I spent days working on my ‘finished’ script. As a director she asked the astute questions, interrogated the vision, and then looked again. As an expert director she saw the strongest ways to tell this story. So we ripped apart, crossed out and coloured in. As performers the cast asked why. As artists they articulated their own answers. We became a team of story-tellers. 

I know if I ever come to Rosanna with a script again, it won’t matter if I’ve only written the first page or right up to the last. It will be just the beginning of that story. Olivia Lowry, writer of The Coastguards Daughter