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Story Gym for Writers

Story Gym for Writers

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  • Sun 16 Aug, 3:00pm


Studio One, 1 Rutherford Mews, Nelson



Ticket Information:

  • General Admission: $23.00

Story is king. Yet so many playwrights go about their writing without the proper recognition of universal narrative structures that are going to pull the audience into the action, and keep them there. Using the experience of a lifetime of performing, directing, writing and reviewing theatre, Dan Allan will take the participants through a veritable circuit training of story-telling tips.

Have you got an idea for a play but wondering how to turn it into a narrative? Have you got a play but aren’t sure how to take its action from ‘okay’ to ‘breathtaking’? Or have you ever written a play and wondered why it hasn’t gone on to the success you’d hoped for? Whether just starting out, or an experienced playwright looking to ‘bulk up’ on story skills, this workshop could provide the workout your script needs to really work!

Note: This workshop will be divided into two halves. Firstly, Dan will take the participants through a series of story-telling tips as a seminar. Topics include: universal story types, must-dos for character, playing with time and structure, and effective dialogue.
Then, in the second half of the workshop, we will conduct an open script assessment of the participants work, with the aim of giving each participant a new direction for their next draft.

Participants will ideally have a draft, or at least an outline for a play, although it may be possible to come to the seminar only.

As an actor, director, writer, and reviewer of theatre, Dan Allan has been creating and presenting stories to audiences ever since playing Bugsy Malone in his intermediate school production in 1992. That year, Dan started learning about story structures through improvisation theory, and later put it into professional practice, performing for seven years with The Court Jesters in Christchurch, and more recently with The Deep End, People’s Republic of Improv and Cusp in Nelson. He has attended workshops with the god-father of modern improvisation, Keith Johnstone, and also enjoyed tutelage from Patti Styles, Michael Robinson, Miranda Harcourt, and kiwi author Carl Nixon. As well as improvised story-telling, Dan is well versed in devising original theatre, at one point studying Joseph Campbell’s narrative theories before embarking on a completely original physical theatre piece called Fleet, which toured NZ and South America. In 2009, he studied devising in a three week course at Zen Zen Zo in Brisbane, and subsequently created a piece of theatre based on The Bacchae during a week long masterclass. More recently, Dan has begun writing plays, adapting Robin Hood as a children’s theatre show, and with his wife Lisa, Alice in Wonderland, All the Fairytales You Know (and Some You Don’t), The Three Musketeers and The Importance of Being Earnest for performances by Body in Space, The Court Theatre, and NZ Playhouse. Dan’s solo show An Evening with Lord Nelson debuted at Nelson Fringe in 2018. He has a BA in History from the University of Canterbury, where he studied film and creative writing under Stuart Hoar. Dan hones his opinions on effective story-telling by reviewing for Theatreview and The Nelson Mail, and attending live theatre and films regularly. He is also addicted to Netflix.

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