Roger Hall, author of Last Legs and umpteen other successful Kiwi comedies, is delivering a playwriting bootcamp and later the same day, a talk about the plays and television shows that didn't make the cut.

Roger Hall discovered he had a knack for playwriting when he first sat down to write a novel. It didn't go well.

He found himself skipping description and writing nothing but dialogue.

"I also realised I would do that when reading as well, I'd go straight to the dialogue."


The remarkable Kiwi playwright, who has penned more than 35 plays and numerous television episodes, is coming to Tauranga to teach his trade in a dense two hour playwriting bootcamp.

"It sounds like a cliche," Roger says, "but there is that wonderful moment when a character comes to life from the page. Writing is a play, there's a lot of craft and structure to it which you have to be aware of. If you are a novelist, you can describe a character but in a play you can't do that.

"You need to use dialogue or there's a few other ways to develop a character - and I will be showing different ways of doing that."

Developing a character and making them three-dimensional and relatable is the trick to a good play, Roger says. He has been praised with having the ability to create characters audiences can identify with. "I can see couples in the audience nudging each other sometimes, they see themselves in the characters."

He prefers comedies "with sometimes sad undertones". "This is the kind is comedy that appeals to me. You have a good laugh but while you're laughing you are wincing slightly.

Slapstick has never appealed to me, I could never see the banana thing (slipping on a banana skin)."

Roger has been told that his play Last Legs (featuring at Baycourt October 13-14) is "close to the bone". Last Legs is a black comedy about sex, death and politics in an upmarket Cambridge Retirement Village. It's very funny and poignant at times - with characters dropping like flies.

Roger Hall is coming to Tauranga to run two events - a playwriting bootcamp and a talk, The Ones That Got Away, at Baycourt on October 14.

The bootcamp is an intense two-hour workshop primarily for playwrights and would-be playwrights, but also useful for fiction writers. Topics include characterisation, dialogue, time and place, plots and sub-plots, exposition, holding the audience and structure.

Later that day he gives a talk, The Ones That Got Away, in the Baycourt exhibition space from 4.30pm-5.30pm.

"We are big fans of Roger and his works here at Baycourt, so for him to make this special trip to Tauranga to deliver his playwriting bootcamp and to share some of his experiences with the community is really fantastic and such a massive privilege," says Baycourt manager Megan Peacock Coyle.

Check Baycourt website for details.