While writing for performance is a core aspect of drama education and drama in education, many teachers approach teaching playwriting with trepidation and ambivalence. Additionally, much of teacher training and high school coursework is focused on devising performance, playwriting is unfortunately an activity on the periphery. I wish to explore the factors that may be contributing to teacher apprehension and to challenge this peripheral status. For many teachers in my study, teaching playwriting was an activity for which they felt unprepared and, as a consequence, many found the experience unsatisfying and frustrating, and considered their efforts to be less than effective. My research sought to understand what it was about the teaching of playwriting that caused such a response from highly successful and experienced teachers.
In an attempt to understand the experience for both teachers and students, I studied the playwriting process in a number of NSW secondary schools. I explored the playwriting experience for students and teachers in order to better understand the teaching and learning that was occurring in the classroom. One of the emerging themes was an aversion to accessing or employing playwriting texts or theory to inform the teachers’ pedagogy, as they considered them to be formulaic and restrictive. To begin my research, I examined the resources available to teachers.