Professor Olu Obafemi is an academic and prolific playwright and director. In this Masterclass he shares with us his ideas of what it takes to be a playwright. For him, this starts with being a writer. As a writer Professor Obafemi advises that writers need to be interested in the world, in their environment, they need to have ‘compassion and concern for society’. Writers need to believe that they are capable of ‘impacting society in a positive way’. Specifically, for anyone interested in writing stage plays ‘they need to want to write for theatre’, understanding that ‘theatre is the most public, most social and interactional’ of all the kinds of writing available. Playwrights need to understand the rules and conventions of how a play works and Obafemi provides an outline of the key devices used in writing plays.
Professor Obafemi discusses writing adaptations and gives us a preview of his own latest work, itself an adaptation of a legend. He also shares with us, most generously, how we might start to write a play, beginning with an issue or concern that we are interested in investigating.