Slide Top Tips [1] Have a strong start: aim to capture and hold

the audience’s attention right from the beginning.
Slide Top Tips [2] The structure is usually beginning, middle,

and end, but that doesn’t mean they have to

be revealed in that order. Flash backs and flash

forwards can help to keep the audience engaged.
Slide Top Tips [3] Write your story in three acts. The pillars of

a screenplay are the Three Acts. Each act can

operate independently, and when taken together

provide the full arc of a story.
Slide Top Tips [4] Make sure you have an overall goal or point

to your story. There needs to be a reason for

telling the story.
Slide Top Tips [5] In a play, the story has to be visual as well as

auditory. Don’t have a character tell us something

she can show us instead. For example, it's much

more effective to hide under the bed than to say

"I'm afraid."
Slide Top Tips [6] The relationships between characters

are critical to a play’s success. The people are what

it is all about. If you, as the writer, care about the

characters, then the audience will also care...
Slide Top Tips [6b] ...Write dialogue that illuminates your

characters and advances the plot at the same time.

Each character needs to have its own distinct,

believable voice. Remember to read your dialogue

Slide Top Tips [7] Cut away the dead weight. Now that all your

ideas are on paper, look for weak links, distractions,

or anything that drags. Does the story ever get side

-tracked? Are there unnecessary details/repetitions?
Slide Top Tips [8] Show your finished work to a few friends.

Choose people with different tastes and background

to get a variety of opinions. Be sure to ask for the

cold, hard truth; you want constructive criticism,

not flattery or lies.
Slide Top Tips [9] Make each character speak in a distinctive voice.

If you have trouble with that, try imagining a

specific actor you know - even if it's someone who

will never play the part - in the role.
Slide Top Tips [10] Give each character a "moment," something

that justifies the character's existence in your play

and that makes him attractive for an actor to play.

Writing the script for the 2019 Birmingham Passion Play

Listen to Emily describe her experience of writing the script for The Birmingham Passion Play 2019.

It may seem like the most daunting part of starting your Passion Play, but the best place to start is your own reading of the four Gospels themselves. The best scripts come from your understanding and passion for what you are reading, and this will come through in your play. As you read through the Gospels and imagine what it would have been like to be there, or imagine what it would be like on a stage, and the first stage of the writing process will have already begun…

The good thing about writing a script for a Passion Play is that you don’t need to make up an interesting story or unique characters. The ‘best story every told’ is all in the Bible.

So the first place to start is in the Gospels. Read them, perhaps watch films, read other historical or fictional works on Jesus. Spend time exploring the characters and events before you start writing. You might like to work with others to ‘hot-seat’ characters or to workshop scenarios similar to those described in the Gospels.

You might like to read a few other Passion Play scripts, or you might want to have a totally fresh approach. When you are ready to start writing remember we have a list of Top Tips at the link above.

The BBC ‘Writer’s Room’ has some good advice for script-writers offering ‘a guide or structure to help them take it from idea right through to a first draft‘.

Radius is the Religious Drama Society of Great Britain. They have lots more advice about writing plays on their website. James Lark is a tutor on Radius workshops, creator of Miracles at Short Notice at the Edinburgh Fringe 2011 ( ‘a sophisticated treat’ – Musical Talk), and adapter of The Snow Spider by Jenny Nimmo for its 2014 tour.