Multi-award-winning new writing company Papatango is offering free playwriting workshops to secondary schools in the South West, as part of its new WriteWest programme. The workshops empower students to become playwrights, giving them the opportunity to work with acclaimed writers to create their own plays which are then professionally performed and published.

The workshops are completely free of charge. Papatango’s team of experienced workshop leaders/professional theatre-makers will go in to each participating school and run two workshops with a group of up to 30 students from Key Stages 3 or 4. In the first, students will work together to form small theatre companies and write or improvise a short, one-act play through a series of exercises that are suitable for all levels of literacy. In the second, a cast of professional actors will go in to rehearse and perform the plays for the students. The plays will be published in book format, with a free copy for each student and free copies for the school library. 

The workshops aim to give students a taste of both playwriting and professional theatre making. They not only complement the curriculum but also encourage team-working and help students to develop confidence in writing, creative thinking and expressing their ideas. To help prepare the workshops, teachers will receive a comprehensive toolkit.

Workshops have previously been run in schools across London, Bristol and the North West.  A teacher from a participating Barnet school said, “The Papatango workshop has provided an invaluable experience for our students and raised their confidence, not only of how to approach writing a play, but also how to analyse the way in which plays are structured and characters are developed. It was interesting for them to see a ‘rehearsed reading’, as many of them had only seen professional actors perform in polished performances. Many have developed an interest in watching ‘scratch’ nights.

“Gaining access to arts in the curriculum is absolutely invaluable to a child’s development. The preparation pack was excellent. Having a workshop of this standard in our school has been fantastic.”

There are a limited number of spaces still available for workshops in early 2020, which will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. The workshops are open to state secondary schools in the Bath, Bristol, Somerset and Gloucestershire areas.

WriteWest, which launched in May this year, is a major playwriting programme taking place across England’s South West. It is entirely free for over 2000 artists, participants and audiences, and will foster a new writing ecosystem across the UK’s largest region. It facilitates a region-wide network of venues, companies and artists, to redress systemic weaknesses in provision, forge pathways to theatre, and create new plays and productions.

If you are interested in your school taking part, or would like to find out more, please email Sarah Parkes at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

For further information about Papatango and WriteWest, please visit