Debates surrounding the teaching of playwriting are heavily influenced by theories of creativity. This article reports on research in Australian secondary schools that explored the student and teacher experiences of playwriting pedagogy. The findings of the research revealed that teaching was based on a belief in intrinsic creativity: that teaching and learning strategies were considered corrupting rather than enabling. However, it also emerged that the approach appeared to hinder the students’ ability to express their theatrical vision, to reach their creative potential and develop their proficiency as playwrights. This paper challenges the assumptions of intrinsic creativity, arguing that they are based on views on the relationship between knowledge and imagination that are contested. I argue for a paradigm shift in this approach to playwriting pedagogy and encourage re-engagement with theory in practice, and suggest that adopting a systems view of creativity (Csikszentmihalyi 2008) could have a significant positive impact on the way playwriting is taught in the classroom. I conclude by suggesting that refocusing pedagogical dynamic, from critic to dramaturg, could create a more rewarding experience for both teacher and student, resulting in increased student autonomy and a more satisfying teaching experience.