National Convention of Youth Drama – The Dramaturgy Toolbox

Hanna SlättneIn the run-up to the National Convention of Youth Drama, we’ve asked some of the workshop leaders for in-depth descriptions about what they’ll be offering this March at the Macrobert Arts Centre in Stirling. First up is Hanna Slättne, a Dramaturg, Facilitator and Theatre Maker, who will be presenting the Dramaturgy Toolbox on Sat 24 March 2018.

What’s your session about?

“My session is called the Dramaturgy Toolbox and its for anyone who makes work and is interested in understanding dramaturgy a bit better, to feel confident in using it and also to support others to function as the dramaturg in the room or to think dramaturgically”

What will participants learn?

“During the session, I hope that we can start assemble a toolkit for participants to take away. Having exercises, tools and approaches for different types of processes and for the different parts of a process. So for example, how do you even start to structure a piece? How do you as a team find what the piece is really about that everyone is happy with? How do you find the meanings that will make up the foundations of the piece? And when in the process is that a useful thing to do? Too soon and we might miss out on new discoveries through play and exploration or too late and it’s a rush to the finish line with no real thought other than getting the show up!

And as a leader of a process, how do you get a whole group made up of very different people and ideas to work towards the same goal? That will be a key starting point and we will look at several routes to get there in the workshop

We will look at different types of processes such as the new writing process, the more collaborative devising process or even more of a dance piece and I will try to respond to the participants’ own processes and projects to use as examples. There will be a variety of practical exercises and examples”

How did you become a dramaturg?

“I ended up doing what I do, because my brain seems to analyse how meanings are created naturally. When I started to be involved in theatre, I quickly realised that this was my strength and how best to used my skills in a process. I was one of the pioneers of how we understand the role of the dramaturg in contemporary British theatre and was a co-founder of the dramaturgs’ network 17 years ago. At the time of us setting up the network and beginning to really push the discussion about different types of theatre making processes, dramaturgy was seen to be about new writing.

Personally, I always knew that it was equally, if not more important, in other types of processes such as devising and dance, however, because of this idea of what dramaturgy is, I ended up working in new writing for a big chunk of my career. I now do a much more mixed bag of projects and work a lot in dance and more experimental interdisciplinary artforms.

Who is your favourite playwright?

My favourite playwright in the UK is Caryl Churchill. She is always exploring the form and reinventing the ways of creating meanings on stage through her writing and that is so exciting. A dramaturg’s dream”


Hanna Slättne presents the Dramaturgy Toolbox on Sat 24 March 2018 as part of the National Convention of Youth Drama at the Macrobert Arts Centre in Stirling. Booking is open at


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