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The Sheffield culture guide written by in-the-know locals

Creating Characters

Sat. 18 July 2020 at 10:00

Sat. 25 July 2020 at 10:00


Writing is about people. Even if we’re dealing with mythical gods, androids or abstractions, at the end of the day, we’re interested in human beings. In this two-part workshop with Prof. Anton Krueger you’ll consider some of the many multi-faceted, contradictory, transformative, terrible, enthralling, wonderful, bizarre, inspiring, beautiful, tragic, deluded and insightful characters at the heart of so many great stories. You'll discuss how to go about creating interesting characters and try to understand what makes them appealing.

You'll also explore fundamental questions, such as – what are people really like? What do we have in common with each other, and in which ways are we completely unique? Also, in which ways could each of us be described as a character: from the outside as well as from the perspective of our own subjective inner monologues which reflect our motivations…

Exercises will include writing descriptions of characters, firstly from the “outside” –as objective personalities, and then from “inside” – as represented by stream-of-consciousness inner monologues. You'll then team up and try your hand at collaborative improvisational writing in which our characters collide in situations of conflict, and in this way, we’ll lead up to the basic unit of drama, namely the “scene”.

In the second session, participants will read out the collaborations they worked on during the week (their take home task.) There’ll be some feedback on these dialogues, but the main focus would be to simply enjoy their creativity and encourage its expression. The main focus of this workshop will be seeing the action of storytelling as involving “an interrupted ritual.”

Anton Krueger is an Associate Professor in the Department of Drama at Rhodes University, South Africa where he teaches performance studies and creative writing. He has written numerous books in many genres, including: Sunnyside Sal (memoir, 2010), Experiments in Freedom: Issues of Identity in New South African Drama criticism, 2010), Shaggy (short stories, with Pravasan Pillay, 2011), and Everyday Anomalies (poetry, 2011). His many plays have been performed in eight countries and include Living in Strange Lands: the Tsafendas story, which was broadcast on SAFM in January, 2019. The play was reworked as Strange Land, and opened at The Market Theatre in May, 2019 and has since been nominated for a Naledi Award. His plays have been nominated for a range of other awards including the FNB VITA, the Olive Schreiner prize and the PANSA New Writing award (for Chatter). An Afrikaans drama Altyd was shortlisted for the RSG Sanlam Radio Drama prize and broadcast in 2013 and Easter Island was shortlisted out of 1000 entries for the BBC World Radio 3 Drama award of 2016. It was broadcast on SAFM in 2018. He was the runner up for the Dalro Poetry prize in 2011 and won the Rhodes Vice Chancellor’s Book award in 2011 (Experiments in Freedom) and the Hiddingh-Currie award in 2018 (Magnet Theatre: Making Space). He also received a BASA silver medal for Arts Journalism in 2017. His novel Disruption was listed for the Dinaane Debut Fiction Award in 2018. An Afrikaans novel Die Oog (a collaboration with Eben Viktor) was published by Naledi towards the end of 2019. He is currently in rehearsal for a new one person Zoom show written for the Virtual National Arts Festival, called The Voice in Your Head.

Workshops and masterclasses in Utopia Theatre’s Creative Hub are for people of African origin aged 16 and above.

Click here to book your place.

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