Adapting Stories for the Stage

Presented by Michael Weller –

Held online over Zoom: 

Almost all successful plays depend on a good story, but beginning playwrights often start writing without any story in mind. This course will travel in the opposite direction – story first. Having a fully worked out story before you begin eliminates half the anxiety of writing a play, and frees you to focus on the craft itself.

Chose a good short story, novel, narrative poem, even a film to adapt for the stage – look for something with several distinct episodes, developments, twists and turns – and we’ll learn to identify the core action(s), and to restructure it as a play which you can then start writing with a plan and a purpose.


  • If you are able to bring at least one finished full-length play as a sample of your work, this is helpful
  • Bring a description of the story you are going to adapt, including:
    • a description of the dramatic action in one sentence
    • an expanded description in one paragraph