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Writing Audio Drama for Radio and Podcasts

Course Times & Enrolment

Wednesdays from 25th September 2024 (Code CW072-102) Add to Basket Wednesdays from
25th September 2024 6:30pm - 8:20pm • (10 classes)
M1 Paterson's Land, Holyrood Campus • Tutor: Douglas Dougan MA MAIE
£195.00 Concessions and discounts

Course Summary

Write your own audio play for radio or podcast. This course is designed for those new to writing scripts for audio drama or drama in general but is also suitable for more experienced writers who wish to explore the challenge of a new medium. Classes are engaging and interactive with plenty of opportunities to share your developing work with others in a supportive environment. 

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

No prior knowledge required.

Content of Course

1 / 2: Discovering radio as a medium; will begin with a brief history of radio drama from the recording of live stage broadcasts in the early twentieth century to the contemporary purpose-written output from broadcasters such as the BBC and RTE. The power of radio drama will be revealed through a short case study of the furore created by Orson Welles’s 1937 broadcast of ‘The War of the Worlds’.

3. Using a range of examples from radio drama this session will introduce the student to the techniques required for writing radio drama. These will include script layout and some tips on useful software.

4. ‘The Theatre of the Mind’ which will reveal the potential and limitations of radio drama using case studies such as Dylan Thomas’s ‘Milk Wood’ and ‘The War of the Worlds’; and writing for the ear. Students will practice how to prompt a listener's imagination using sound effects, contrast and variation.

5. Writing dialogue - how to use speech to convey story and character. Students will complete a series of writing exercises.

6. What are the various roles of the narrator in radio drama eg. help tell the story, reveal information, comment on the action. We will offer guidance on the pitfalls and advantages in using a narrator for radio drama.

7. Introduction to the use of soliloquy and monologue: ‘a speech of extended length and internal coherence, delivered by a single speaker, that does not include another’s response.’ Examples of soliloquies and monologues will range from Shakespeare to more contemporary playwrights such as Alan Bennett. Students will have the opportunity to write a character speech.

8 / 9. Students will work on planning, drafting and editing an original short radio play of their own.

10. Reading and workshopping students’ scripts. Advice on markets and outlets for radio drama.

Teaching method(s)

Lectures, listening to examples and analysis of clips/script excerpts. Students will be given practical exercises to work on individually and in groups to master the skills demonstrated. Workshop sessions will allow students to read, analyse and feedback on each other’s work. Students will be encouraged to write, share and discuss creative work.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Understand the scope and possibilities of radio drama;

  2. Distinguish and describe in a critical manner what is effective radio drama;

  3. Critique scripts, diagnose problems and find solutions;

  4. Devise, layout, write and present a radio script in a professional manner.


Core Readings


  • MacLoughlin, S. (2008) Writing for Radio (4th edition). Bristol: Soundplay

  • Caulfield, A. (2009) Writing for Radio: A Practical Guide. Marlborough: Crowood Press


  • Boardman-Jacobs, S (2004) Radio Scriptwriting, Seren, Poetry Wales Press Ltd.

  • Best Radio Plays (annual anthology of radio plays), Methuen

Web Sources

Class Handouts

Handouts will be provided.


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.