Theatre503 launches the 503 Studio with its Autumn Writers Programme

  • 503Studio launches to combine all strands of Theatre503’s writer support
  • Autumn Writers Programme line-up: 12 October – 16 December 2020
  • Three new board members: Sabrina Clarke-Okwubanego, Emma Rees, Luke Shires
  • Date confirmed for the announcement of the winner of the 2020 Theatre503 International Playwriting Award: 19 November 2020
  • Summer / Autumn productions postponed by lockdown remain supported and in development

Theatre503 today announced an online Autumn Writers Programme to launch the new 503Studio, including masterclasses from Anna Jordan, Jasmine Lee-Jones, Simon Stephens and other leading playwrights. Combining all the venue’s existing strands of writer development, the 503Studio offers a wide-ranging framework of creative support to help early career playwrights get from script to stage.

The 503Studio: Autumn Writers Programme includes courses, masterclasses, and taster sessions offering opportunities for a wide range of experiences from first time writers to more advanced playwrights. It also features practical “How To…” seminars (including producing your own work, fundraising, and embedding diversity and inclusion into your practice), a series of topical Open Talks, and a new year-round 1-2-1 dramaturgy service. Courses and classes are led by Anna Jordan, Asif Khan, Chris Bush, Jasmine Lee-Jones, Nickie Miles-Wildin,

Ola Animashawun, Rex Obano, Sam Potter, Sabrina Mahfouz, Simon Stephens, Tanya Ronder, Tim Crouch and the 503 Literary team.
Part of Theatre503’s Arts Council England Emergency Grant ensures the Autumn Writers Programme can be offered for free or at subsidised rates for anyone struggling financially in the current climate.
Theatre503 will also offer some classes in person, subject to demand and current Covid-19 guidelines.

Lisa Spirling, Artistic Director: “The 503Studio is the culmination of a four-year dream to bring together all the elements of our work developing early career playwrights to get their work on stage. Our Autumn Writers Programme is just the beginning of a bold new chapter in Theatre503’s history. While the 503Studio has always been a long-held ambition, the Covid-19 crisis has given us a moment to reflect on who we are and what we can do to keep supporting our incredible freelance community, who are responsible for the majority of our work. Even in our toughest moments, our Board and team were unanimous in their desire to keep true to our mission of supporting the development of our incredible writers. There is so much we can do, and have been doing over the summer, to deliver on this as our stage remains closed. The 503Studio is a promise and a statement of intent, that for as long we are able, we will continue to play our vital role in identifying and nurturing diverse new voices that help us see the world anew and launch them into the industry.” 

Andrew Shepherd, Executive Director: “There is so much that goes into getting the work of a debut playwright to be ready for production before it reaches a stage, which is why the 503Studio is so vital, especially during this time. We are particularly excited about our plans to reach out to writers who don’t know they’re writers yet and help them tell their story. We can also maintain our commitment to productions that were programmed in 2020, by giving them space and time to continue dramaturgical development. As a small independent theatre with no regular public subsidy, the loss of 60% of our core income by being closed to regular programming means we are still under threat. However, it is a key part of our mission that our work should be available to as many people as possible. This is why a significant part of our ACE Emergency Grant has been committed to offer subsidised and free places to those who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford it.”

Theatre503 has  announced the  appointment of three new Board members. They are Sabrina Clarke-Okwubanego, Co-Founder of Niche On Demand; Emma Rees, Interim Executive Director of Theatre Centre and Luke Shires, CEO of Luke Shires Marketing. The winner of the 2020 Theatre503 International Playwriting Award will be announced on Thursday 19 November (details and finalists to be announced). Theatre503 remains committed to staging the productions it postponed due to lockdown, including Foxes by Dexter Flanders, and three of the 2018 Theatre503 International Playwriting Award finalists  –In That Short Space by Joel MacCormack, Milk and Gall by Mathilde Dratwa, and Before Evening Comes by Philana Imade Omorotionmwan.



Introduction To Playwriting | Rex Obano | 12 Oct – 9 Nov | 7pm- 9.30pm Mondays

Write Your First Full Length Play | Steve Harper | 15 Oct – 28 Jan | 2pm – 4.30pm | Thursdays

How To Start Writing| Tanya Ronder | 20 Oct – 1 Dec | 7pm – 9pm | Tuesdays

Advanced Playwriting | Sam Potter | 16 Nov – 14 Dec | 2pm – 4.30pm | Mondays


Improving Your Dialogue | Chris Bush | Wed 14 Oct | 2pm – 4.30pm

Structure and Form | Tim Crouch | Wed 21 Oct | 7pm – 9pm

Using Acting to Aid Writing | Asif Khan | Wed 28 Oct | 10am-12.30pm

Creativity in Challenging Times | Anna Jordan | Wed 11 Nov | 2pm-4.30pm

Making Creatively Accessible Work | Nickie Miles-Wildin | Wed 18 Nov | 7pm-9.30pm

Dramatic Action | Simon Stephens | Wed 25 Nov | 10am – 12.30pm

Creating Characters | Sabrina Mahfouz | Wed 2 Dec | 7pm-9.30pm

Writing Comedy | Ola Animashawun| Wed 9 Dec | 7pm-9.30pm

Radicalizing Dominant Narratives | Jasmine Lee Jones | Wed 16 Dec | 2pm – 4.30pm


A first bite of creativity for first time writers

Anastasia Osei-Kuffour | 13 Oct | 7pm-9pm

Steve Harper | 10 Nov | 10am-12pm

Lauretta Barrow | 15 Dec | 2pm-4pm


Continuing our conversations exploring some of the major topics facing writers and our industry today

What does an inclusive industry look like post-COVID? | Mon 19 Oct | 4pm-6pm

Can I write outside my experience? | Mon 23 Nov | 7pm- 9pm

Is it ever too late to start writing? | Mon 14 Dec | 7pm-9pm


Practical sessions led by the 503 team to help professional development

How to get my work on | Thu 29 Oct | 7pm – 9pm

How to embed diversity & inclusion into your creative life | Mon 16 Nov | 7pm-9pm

How to fundraise | Mon 7 Dec | 7pm-9pm


A year-round script reading service, including a detailed one to one feedback session from the 503 Literary team or our roster of expert freelance dramaturgs.


Courses                £150 – £250

Masterclasses    £30

Tasters                  £25

Open Talks          Pay What You Can

How to                  Pay What You Can

Free and subsidised places available for all the Autumn Writers Programme via Theatre503’s Share The Drama scheme as part of their Arts Council England Emergency Grant.


Where there is demand, we will replicate some of the classes in person at Theatre503 for up to 8 people, adhering to Covid safe guidelines.