Playwriting Unit

by Jennifer Ansted

Playwriting Unit

by Jennifer Ansted


Unit Objective:

Students will demonstrate an ability to create an original story with believable characters and dialogue by writing and revising an original ten-minute scene.


Learning Level:



Prior Experience:

Students should be familiar with plot structure


Big Idea:



Enduring Understandings:

Responding: Theatre artists can pay attention to how people sound when they talk and how people really interact and resolve conflicts.

Creating: Theatre artists can recreate human interaction in a natural and organic way.

Connecting: Theatre artists can connect what they create to their own lives.


Essential Questions:

Responding: How do people sound when they communicate?

Creating: How can I recreate organic human interactions in a very inorganic atmosphere?

Connecting: How does what I create teach me things about my own life? What can I learn as a theatre artist? 



TH:Cn10.1.I – Investigate how cultural perspectives, community ideas, and personal beliefs impact a drama/theatre work.

TH:Re7.1.8 – Apply criteria to the evaluation of artistic choices in a drama/theatre work.

TH:Cn10.1.8 – Examine a community issue through multiple perspectives in a drama work.

TH:Cr3.1.8 – Use repetition and analysis in order to revise devised or scripted drama/theatre work.

TH:Cr3.1.I – Practice and revise a devised or scripted drama/theatre work using theatrical staging conventions.

TH:Re8.1.8c – Apply personal aesthetics, preferences, and beliefs to evaluate a drama/theatre work.


Key Knowledge and Skills:

-Understanding and implementation of repetition, exposition, subtext, and logic in creative writing.

-Understanding of how to format a theatre script.

-Making meaningful revisions based on criteria and feedback.

-Thinking critically and writing about relevant issues or topics.

-Understanding of and utilizing the elements of a plot in creating their plays.



Lesson 1: Intro to Playwriting

Lesson Objective: Students will demonstrate their understanding of plot structure by participating in a pre-assessment activity. They will also demonstrate their understanding of the difference in storytelling and in formatting between a short story and a play by transforming existing stories into plays in small groups.


Lesson 2: Dialogue

Lesson Objective: Students will demonstrate their ability to analyze dialogue and decide what they think makes dialogue effective by analyzing existing film clips and their own homework assignments based on certain criteria.


Lesson 3: Getting Ideas

Lesson Objective: Students will demonstrate an ability to brainstorm story ideas relevant to their personal belief system or their community by participating in classroom activities.


Lesson 4: Plot and Dialogue

Lesson Objective: Students will demonstrate their ability to revise their own work by writing and revising part of their ten minute scenes in class.


Lesson 5: Characters and Relationships

Lesson Objective: Students will demonstrate their ability to establish relationships in dialogue by revising their scripts in class.


Lesson 6: Dramatic Readings

Lesson Objective: Students will be able to discern what works and does not work in a dramatic piece by reading and evaluating their own scripts and those of their peers during dramatic readings.


Playwriting Unit of Lessons.Jennifer Ansted