"John has the most extensive knowledge of theatre past and present of anyone I know."(Sarah Daniels)
"Over three decades he has guided me to my greatest writing, has tempered my excesses, encouraged me to continue, to continue, to strive and be better; I fear I may have disappointed him, he has never disappointed me." (David Spencer)
"Scrupulous and considerate, he always made you feel you mattered - a rare experience for playwrights. He didn't say, 'this line is bad'; he identified something good you had done, and made you immediately want to make the rest as good. In John's world, writing and integrity and humane values have always been inseparable." (Meredith Oakes)
John Burgess has worked as a director and producer of new plays for over forty years. He helped found the National Theatre Studio with Peter Gill in 1984 and he was Head of New Writing at the National theatre 1989 -1994. Writers whose work he has premiered include Nicholas Wright, Sarah Daniels, Jonathan Harvey, Judith Johnson, David Spencer, Stephen Wakelam and Meredith Oakes. His productions have been seen at the National Theatre, the Royal Court, the Donmar, the Bush, Stratford East, Riverside Studios and BBC Television as well as abroad in Switzerland, Scandinavia and the US.
Since 2011 John has been running a highly successful writers' group whose graduates have had their work performed at the National Theatre, in the West End, at the Soho Theatre, the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Arcola, BBC Radio 4, the Traverse Theatre Edinburgh, the Finborough and Hampstead Theatre and published by Faber and Nick Hern Books. For more details, see John's website.
These five days are about the practice not the theory of playwriting.
Days will be divided into 2 intense two-hour group sessions with assigned reading and set exercises in between, making for eight (or even nine) hour days focused on the practical business of writing for the stage. Topics covered will include basic dialogue, rhythm, lists, action, silence, stichomythia, exits and entrances, music, vulnerability and direct address.
Participants will be guided towards finding individual solutions to specific problems of writing for the stage, enabling beginners to find firm ground beneath their feet and giving the more experienced an opportunity to refine and extend their skills.
Following the success of last year's course CAMP are now offering two consecutive weeks with a second follow-up five day period (more info here) exploring further more complex topics such as images, science, group scenes, history, work, and the rhetoric of persuasion. If you would like to attend both weeks, we encourage you to apply for a grant here and mention in your application that you intend to come to both courses. Applicants attending both weeks will be awarded a grant towards the cost of the second week.
"Since completing John's course I have gone on to have my first full length play premiered at the Traverse Theatre, a play that will also receive its US premiere in 2017" (Ross Dunsmore)
"I was invited to write for the 40th Miniaturists event at the Arcola Theatre in April 2013, I've had two short plays performed by Script Sessions at the Courtyard Theatre and the New Britannia Theatre. I've recently landed my first seed commission by winning first prize in A Play for the Nation's Youth. This was a national playwriting competition run jointly by Salisbury Playhouse, Nick Hern Books, Out of Joint and BBC Writersroom. None of this could have happened without John's help." (Fiona Doyle, www.curtisbrown.co.uk/client/fiona-doyle)
"John combines an extraordinary knowledge of world drama with a musician's ear for rhythm, tone, atmosphere and feeling. He is the best teacher you will ever have, and he is an artist in the truest sense." (Denise Keane)