Putting People in Plays

Putting People in Plays with Nick Warburton

This is one of two WRiTEON Member Workshops, included in the 2021 membership fee. The good news is that it now only costs £12 a year to be a member (or £10 a year, if you set up an annual payment). For that, you can attend the March workshop (see here) and this one, at no extra cost, as well as taking advantage of all the other benefits of WRiTEON membership. (See here)

Date: Saturday 4th September 2021

Time: 10.00am – 12.00pm

Location: Zoom (You will be sent a link nearer the time)

Booking: Booking details will be provided to members via email and via our Members Facebook Group.


Please note, numbers are limited and places will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. If you book and then find you are unable to attend, please let us know straightaway, so that your place can be offered to someone else.

 What to expectPutting People in Plays is an interactive online workshop, with examples and writing exercises. The focus will be on approaching drama through voice (finding a character’s voice; using narrative voices), dialogue (naturalistic and poetic ways of speaking to each other) and character (how to build a character; what not to include; character and plot). Some of the content will also be relevant to other forms of writing.

Nick Warburton has written scripts for stage, television and radio. He has won the BBC/Radio Times Drama Award, the Sandford St Martin Award, the Jerusalem Award and the Tinniswood Award, and has been short-listed for the Audio and Music Award, the Sony Award and the Prix Italia. He created the original drama series On Mardle Fen, which ran for six series. He has written TV scripts for Doctors, Holby City, Born and Bred and EastEnders. Several of his stage plays have been premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough. He has also worked with Pentabus and is a patron of the Cambridge group Bawds. He is the Chair of Radius (The Religious Drama Society of Great Britain) and is an Honorary Fellow of the University of Chichester.

First Stage 2021

First Stage 2021

First Stage is a series of staged rehearsed readings of new short pieces of drama for one to four actors, with an opportunity for audience feedback, to be presented in Spring or Summer 2021 (dates and venue to be confirmed).  We have had to postpone our planned readings, for obvious reasons.  We are now exploring the possibility of First Stage moving to an outside location. Submissions are currently closed.

A big thank you to all who submitted!

WRiTEON’ Zoomologues

WRiTEON Zoomologues

WRiTEON’s response to the lockdown was to create Zoomologues. Between May 2020 and April 2021, 42 monologues and 30 duologues, by 31 writers, were performed by 52 actors, over twelve nights, to an invited audience on live Zoom video calls. There were the inevitable lockdown stories; exploring how friendships, couple and family relationships might be forged, revived or broken, online, during these strange times, but there were also many other stories, ranging from Greek mythological sports commentators to a futuristic AI Priest and a homicidal clown. Our Zoomologues Gallery (Round 3) inspired wide-ranging interpretations of subjects of portrait paintings and Zoom Not Zoom took us out of Zoom into a range of imagined locations, including a dinosaur cave, a windswept heath, a vaccination centre and the after-life. Most of the writers and actors were local to Cambridge but a few joined us from elsewhere, including London, Edinburgh, France, Belgium and The U.S.A. 

Some writers went on to take their Zoomologues pieces to the next level. James Stedman developed his You Know Carol. Ciaran’s Mum (seen in Zoomologues 4, in October 2020), into an eight-part web series, while filmed versions of Barbara Anderson’s Confession (also seen in Zoomologues 4) and Julia Bolden’s A Foray into Romantic Fiction (seen in Zoomologues 5) were accepted in the Short Zoom Theatre Films category of the Manhattan Rep’s Stories Film Festival and viewed online by international audiences, throughout May 2021.

We plan to do further rounds of Zoomologues, even after live theatre makes a proper comeback, so watch out for news of Zoomologues 7, later in the year. 


Zoomologues is co-produced by Richard McNally & Julia Bolden


Comments on Zoomologues 1-6 included: 

‘I think I may prefer zoom to the experience of being in a theatre!’

‘A real treat! I enjoyed it so much. Thanks to all writers and actors – and let’s do it again soon.’

‘Another set of awesome evenings…I do hope you do more, they work really well and I’m loving some of the new voices we’re hearing…And of course the acting is top notch as well’

Check out some highlights from our previous Zoomologues performances below:

The Shadows

The Shadows

Corpus Playroom

7th – 11th December 2021

A strange scent… An eerie sound in the darkness… A hauntingly quiet memory… What did you just see in The Shadows?

Down a narrow alley, through a creaky old door, in a confined space, a truly terrible event awaits those who dare to set foot in the Playroom.
A new twist on tales of old; an uncomfortably intimate, unique horror experience that is not for the faint-hearted.
Are you brave enough to endure three terrifying Cambridge stories which will take your breath away?

The show runs without interval and contains strobe lighting


Created by The Cambridge Ghost Writers

WRiTEON are currently working with 24 writers to collaborate on this latest fully-staged production. The participants have received a full day workshop on the horror genre from an industry professional, a stimulus workshop, and will receive a reading from actors halfway through the writing process. Three scripts will then be selected to feature in this new production to be developed, rehearsed and performed at the Corpus Playroom.


The development process consists of six stages:


  1. The Weekend Workshops

We hosted a weekend that consisted of two days of workshops (delivered over Zoom) that gave our writers all the tools they needed to write the stories for the play.

Saturday 29th May – The Horror Workshop 9.30am – 5.30pm

This was a full-day workshop on writing horror led by Ian Long, a professional writer who teaches for Euroscript:



Sunday 30th May – Stimulus Workshop 2pm – 5pm

Existing Cambridge Ghost Stories

We looked at existing ghost stories from Cambridge, which they may use as inspiration.

Outlining the Process

We outlined the process going forward and the limitations the writers need to take into consideration when writing.

Technical Overview

We gave a presentation about what is possible technically in the Playroom, i.e. in terms of sound, lighting, set, special effects etc.


  1. The First Writing Stage


The writers have a little over a month to write the first draft of their short ghost story. 


  1. The Readings


We will have a private reading of all the scripts to help the writers see what is and isn’t working about their story.


  1. Editing Stage


The writers will then have about one month to polish their script based on what they learned from the readings.


  1. Selection Stage


A small panel of WRiTEON readers will then read all the final scripts that have been submitted and select three to feature in the final performance. Selection will be based both on quality and how the three scripts may compliment each other (i.e. no repetition and a good mixture of ages & genders in the characters).


  1. Rehearsals and Performance


The play will then be cast and rehearsed over two months. Richard McNally (Seven Words for Love, Butterfly Effect, Blood Music) will direct the production.  The production will be fully-staged i.e. lines learnt with full set, props & costumes.


How to Take Part


If you are interested in participating as an actor or behind the scenes then please send an email to: