Introduction to Playwriting: for Deaf and/or Disabled Writers

Introduction to Playwriting: for Deaf and/or Disabled Writers

Join our free 8-week online course and develop your playwriting skills!

Theatre by the Lake and Graeae are working together to support first-time, emerging and early career writers in Cumbria who identify as Deaf and/or Disabled, and who have an interest in writing for the stage.

The Introduction to Playwriting course is aimed at those who have an interest in or passion for Theatre but little or no experience in writing for the stage. The course will take place on Wednesday evenings between September-November 2022, primarily on zoom but with opportunities to meet in
person at the Theatre. It will be led by Penrith-based writer Karen Featherstone, who has written extensively for the stage and screen, was part of Graeae’s Write to Play scheme for disabled writers and was commissioned to write an audio drama for TBTL’s Assemble Here project in 2021.

Throughout the course we’ll be exploring structure, character, theme and form, and by November each writer will have produced a short excerpt for two characters.

Introduction to Playwriting: for Deaf and/or Disabled Writers at Theatre by the Lake by Jenny from Graeae

Interested in applying?

We’re looking to hear from people who:

  • Are passionate about theatre and intrigued to learn more about the craft of playwriting
  • Have minimal / no prior experience writing for the stage
  • Live in Cumbria
  • Are available for all of the sessions outlined below
  • Identify as D/deaf or disabled**

**TBTL and Graeae follows the social model of disability. You are eligible if you identify as Deaf and/or disabled and/or neurodivergent and/or if you have experienced barriers to participation due to access requirements not being met or due to societal/attitudinal barriers related to your impairment.

All access requirements will be met, including sign language interpreters and access support workers.


Wed 28 Sep – week 0 (an optional meet and greet at Theatre by the Lake to watch the performance of Brief Encounter (Captioned)

Sessions 1-8 take place between 6:30-8:30pm
Wed 05 Oct – week 1 (zoom)
Wed 12 Oct – week 2 (zoom)
Wed 19 Oct – week 3 (zoom)

(Half term Break)

Wed 2 Nov – week 4 (zoom)
Wed 9 Nov – week 5 (zoom)
Wed 16 Nov – week 6 (zoom)
Wed 23 Nov – week 7 (zoom)
Wed 30 Nov – week 8 (a sharing of work produced, in person at Theatre by the Lake***)

***we recognize that some people may still be shielding or face additional barriers to accessing the Theatre. Support and/or alternatives will be provided.

How to Apply

Expressions of interest can be made by email to Claire Dunk ( These can be written or video recorded. The deadline for applications is Fri 23 September.

Please answer the following questions in your application:
1) Tell us a little bit about yourself
2) What interests you in the course? What would you hope to get out of it?
3) Where are you based?
4) Are you able to commit to the 8 online sessions?
5) Please tell us your access needs for taking part in the course.
If you need any support to complete your application please contact us by email
( or Phone 017687 81108

About Karen

As a disabled writer for the stage, Karen is an alumna of Graeae Theatre Company’s year-long Write To Play initiative and her works have featured at theatres around the UK, including the National Theatre Studio, Hampstead Theatre, Liverpool Everyman, for Oldham Coliseum, and in a Little Pieces
of Gold showcase at Southwark Playhouse. She’s been commissioned twice by Theatre By the Lake.

Her first solo show called I Surrender! premiered at the Lancashire Fringe in 2019. She’s currently working as a screenwriter on a new children’s series while developing her stage work.

About Graeae

Graeae is a force for change in world-class theatre – breaking down barriers, challenging preconceptions and boldly placing Deaf and disabled artists centre stage. Artistically led by Jenny Sealey, Graeae’s signature characteristic is the compelling creative integration of sign language, captioning and audio description, which engages brilliantly with both disabled and non-disabled audiences. Championing accessibility and providing a platform for new generations of artists, Graeae leads the way in pioneering, trail-blazing theatre, both in the UK and internationally.

Graeae also run an extensive programme of training and learning opportunities throughout the year, training and developing the next generation of Deaf and disabled artists. These programmes include Write to Play for early-career writers, and Ensemble, which trains young Deaf and disabled artists in theatre making skills. Graeae are lucky enough to have a cohort of young artistic advisors, also known as The Rollettes, who come together to perform once a year.