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Playbox Theatre
The Dream Factory
Stratford Road
Warwick CV34 6LE
United Kingdom​

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We are delighted to host the brilliant young writers company, BLANK-SHIFT, who have been resident at The Dream Factory since 2016.

Home | Creative Writing

Blank-Shift offers creative writing workshops for young people of all ages and abilities, and is a unique opportunity for young people to explore a range of writing styles and techniques, with regular opportunities to showcase their work.



Blank-Shift is a wonderful programme for writers to develop their voices as part of a regular and dynamic programme of workshops. Sessions give immediate practical advice to those keen to drive their writing further and generate a wealth of new material.

Each season is rich, diverse, lively and uniquely ‘Blank-Shift’; covering poetry, prose, script and screenwriting, as well as analysing some of the best writing in literature, on stage, radio and screen.

This programme is closely affiliated to Playbox Theatre and is run by Playbox’s Literary Associate, Toby Quash, with guest speakers and writers from across the industry.

Membership of Blank-Shift is seasonal (running in conjunction with the school term) and includes set dates for writing workshops; specialist, intensive day-schools and additional masterclasses.

For all the latest on Blank-Shift events and fees, please contact:

To apply now, please follow this link


Summer 2024:


Saturday 13th July

  • 14.30-15.30 (6+ years)
  • 15.30-17.30 (10+ years)
  • 17.30-19.30 (14+ years)

Autumn 2024:


Saturday 21st September 

  • 14.30-15.30 (6+ years)
  • 15.30-17.30 (10+ years)
  • 17.30-19.30 (14+ years)

Saturday 19th October  

  • 14.30-15.30 (6+ years)
  • 15.30-17.30 (10+ years)
  • 17.30-19.30 (14+ years)

Sunday 17th November  

  • 15.00-16.00 (6+ years)
  • 16.00-18.00 (10+ years)
  • 18.00-20.00 (14+ years)

Sunday 1st December  

  • 15.00-16.00 (6+ years)
  • 16.00-18.00 (10+ years)
  • 18.00-20.00 (14+ years)


Sunday 7th July


Sunday 6th October 


Sunday 15th December 

  • ‘A VERY BLANK-SHIFT CHRISTMAS!’ – 16.00 onwards


Saturday 17th August
Sunday 18th August
Friday 3rd January (6+/10+)
Saturday 4th January (10+/14+)
Sunday 5th January (14+)

With times to follow.

(Live workshops run alongside the usual prompts, feedback and regular tailored support that we offer all of our brilliant young writers).

You can follow Blank-Shift on social media, for all the latest news and special offers:


A few highlights from the recent Blank-Shift Summer BBQ

“Playbox is an immensely precious and unique place for children of all ages to express themselves freely and learn about themselves and the world”
Claire Lomas

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Blank-Shift writers’ FAQS


I don’t have any previous experience of play writing – is this course still right for me?

Absolutely! Blank-Shift is a natural home for creative writers’ of all abilities and all levels of experience. As long as you are keen to use your imagination, and to develop your skills, we will challenge you at whatever stage you are at.

I have already written my own material? Will I still be able to develop through Blank-Shift?

Yes. Blank-Shift is created to focus on the individual, and the groups are kept to small numbers, so that each writer receives lots of bespoke attention. Group activities are balanced with individual projects, with opportunities for all participants to submit their own work to the director, and to receive detailed and regular feedback.

What types of creative writing will we be exploring? Is it just play writing?

We’ll be exploring everything! A season will often include explorations of poetry, prose, play-writing, screen-writing, writing for radio, film and literature analysis. We examine writing throughout history, right through to some of the most interesting contemporary writers.

Will this course help to prepare me for further education or for a potential writing career?

People join Blank-Shift for many different reasons, but each year we are proud to celebrate several senior members graduating to some of UK’s top Creative Writing University courses. Blank-Shift is proud of alumni who are now successful playwrights, screen-writers, poets and storytellers. 

Will there be the opportunity to see my writing on stage?

Yes. We regularly host ‘scratch night’ events, where actors are brought in to workshop your material, and to share with audiences. Blank-Shift writers are also regular collaborators on new plays, commissioned by Playbox Theatre. Most recently, Blank-Shift writers worked on Gretel for Christmas 2020, and are in early preparations for a new adaptation of The Ancient Mariner for a major production in 2022. Blank-Shift recently completely an entirely new audio work, Midnight In Raisin Town, which is due to be recorded and released shortly.

What might a typical Blank-Shift workshop be like?

There isn’t a typical workshop! We’ll usually begin with warm up, physical, activities, to ensure everyone is energised and ready to work, before moving on to discuss the meat of the session, our writing stimuli, we’ll have group discussions and debates, we’ll create stories, explore writing exercises, brainstorming, generation of ideas, development of work, review of our material…and so much more.

Will I need to do any work between the Blank-Shift sessions?

We rarely set ‘homework’ but writers are always welcome to continue their own, personal, projects and to submit material for feedback from the director. Occasionally there will be a stimulus to consider in advance of the next workshop, but the primary focus for the work takes place during the sessions being attended.

What should I wear to my writers’ workshop?

Please wear comfortable and practical clothing to Blank-Shift.

How many people are in the workshop? Will I have plenty of individual attention?

The maximum numbers in a Blank-Shift workshop are 20. We ensure that everyone has a high level of attention, which is reflected in the individual feedback available between workshops.

Who is the director of Blank-Shift?

Toby Quash is the Founding & Artistic Director of Blank-Shift. A graduate of both Oxford University and University Of Bristol, Toby is an award-winning writer with over 20 years of professional experience, writing for theatre, film and radio. Toby is also Literary Associate of Playbox Theatre and has written in excess of 30 original plays for the company.

Will we be working towards a finished ‘product’ or is it an ongoing process?

That depends upon our project. Some of our exercises are for training and development only, whilst others are specifically designed to work towards an end result. For further information on the upcoming season content, please email

Do I have to attend every week?

Each session is important and, to get the most out of the programme, we do encourage you to attend each workshop if at all possible. Frequently a session will build on the achievements of the previous meeting, so regular attendance is important.

Where do the workshops take place?

All workshops take place at Playbox Theatre, The Dream Factory, Warwick.

How do I join

We’d love to welcome you to Blank-Shift! Please click the apply button above, if you’d like to join. We’ll then be in touch quickly, to let you know when we can invite you to come along. If you have any questions at all, please email