Script Development

Since 2010 I’ve worked closely with writers and writer-performers to create over fifteen new works for the stage, and one award-winning memoir.

I adore the process of growing a project and supporting writers to spin ideas, develop characters, hone structure, and create brilliant texts for performance. As I hope the testimonials below demonstrate, they also seem to enjoy working with me! Get in touch if you want to chat about how I could support your writing process.  

“Working with John has been one of the most satisfying artistic experiences of my life. His sensitive, clear insight has allowed me to understand the magic of dramatic writing, and his thorough, deep research brings me closer to the truth of what I’m trying to achieve. Any writer looking for support with script work will be lucky to work with him. He’s a joy.”
– Tessa McWatt, novelist, librettist, and winner of the Eccles British Library Award and the Bocas Prize for Non-Fiction for ‘Shame On Me: An Anatomy of Race and Belonging’ 

“John was involved with shaping my memoir from the outset, as a reader and narrative consultant. He advised on structure, tone, scientific accuracy and, crucially, the delicacies of depicting individual characters with sensitive backstories, including incest, physical and emotional abuse and addiction. John is a clear, direct and compassionate communicator, which makes working with him a real pleasure. He is effective and efficient, and once involved in a project works with commitment asnd stunning attention to detail. His wide experience as a director working internationally with diverse performers and audiences was invaluable when advising me on teasing out the intricacies of the narrative, bringing the political and social story of climate change to the page, while allowing intrinsic themes to surface, such as violence against women and indigenous people as the corollary of violence against the planet. Simply put, nothing was beyond John and Soundings would not be the book it is without his input.” 
– Doreen Cunningham, Winner of the Royal Society of Literature Giles St Aubyn Award for ‘Soundings, Journeys in the Company of Whales’. 

“John Walton is brilliantly perceptive, insightful, and for any writer an essential part of developing a play or screenplay. Writers get too close to their material to be objective. John provides a fresh look, from the audience perspective, of how a play or script comes across. That enables you to sharpen characters and dialogue, and examine story structure. Dramaturgs do not rewrite material. They are mentors, helping the writer fully realize their artistic vision. He’s prompt, and a total pleasure to work with.”
– James Farwell, playwright and librettist  

“John is an exceptionally thoughtful and thorough dramaturg. My work as a writer has benefitted infinitely from collaborating with him. He approaches projects with an intense intellectual rigour, an innate understanding of what makes great dramatic material, and a wicked sense of fun. He is respectful of the writer’s individual process, intelligent, playful, generous, and extremely hardworking. His work ethic is unparalleled, which is clear from the high standard of work he has executed in his career so far. I would jump at the chance to work with him again.”
– Freddie Machin, playwright and screenwriter 

“John is an absolute joy to work with – he is intelligent, meticulous, insightful as well as an all round great human. I have been fortunate to collaborate with John on several comedy scripts and shows, and, without doubt, co-creating ‘Instructions For American Servicemen’ has been the highlight of my 25 year career. John’s original concept and eye for comic detail, his dramaturgy and directorial shaping to make the show as funny as possible, were all vital in achieving the show’s great success – selling out across the UK and in New York. Equally, John goes above and beyond in researching his shows (I think he read every WW2 book in existence!) and he genuinely cares about crafting and creating the best show possible.”
– Dan March, writer and comedian  

“John has excellent dramaturgical skills and is able to both analyse a new piece of writing expertly and to articulate, constructively and affectionately, what needs to alter. I’ve found him to be an intelligent and compassionate collaborator and would highly recommend climbing into the dramatic trenches with him.”
– Tom Mallaburn, playwright