Dr Sarah Grochala, MA Oxon, MPhil(B), PhD, AFHEA, FRSA | The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Dr Sarah Grochala, MA Oxon, MPhil(B), PhD, AFHEA, FRSA

Job title

Senior Lecturer, Course Leader MA/MFA Writing for Stage and Broadcast Media


I am a multi-award winning playwright, a dramaturg and an academic.

I have been obsessed with theatre for as long as I can remember. As a teenager, I was an active member of both Manchester Youth Theatre and the Manchester Royal Exchange’s Youth Theatre. I trained as actress at Drama Centre and then went on to study English Language and Literature at St John’s College, Oxford University, where I acted in, directed and produced a large variety of plays. After graduating, I worked extensively in theatre and television as an actress for several years. My major roles included Jo March in Little Women (Duchess WE, 2004-05) and Pope Joan in Thea Sharrock’s production of Top Girls (BAC, 2000). I started writing plays whilst I was acting and eventually trained as a playwright with David Edgar on the MPhil(B) in Playwriting Studies at Birmingham University.

I completed my PhD at Queen Mary University of London. My research examines the use of dramatic structure in contemporary plays and the relationship between these structures and social and political structures of contemporary society. My thesis was joint second prize winner of the 2014 CDE Award. My first monograph, The Contemporary Political Play, was published by Bloomsbury Methuen Drama in 2017 and was shortlisted for the 2018 TAPRA Early Career Research Prize. 

In 2018, I was the recipient of a British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award. This award enabled me to organise Brexit Stage Left, a festival of European plays in translation, at The Yard Theatre in January 2019. Alongside this I also organised a conference at Central examining the lack of contemporary European plays in translation on British stages. 

I am currently the course leader for the MA/MFA in Writing for Stage and Broadcast Media. Before working at Central, I taught at a number of universities and drama schools, including Birkbeck, Kingston University, Mountview, Queen Mary and the University of Reading. I am currently an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Authority. I have taught playwriting workshops internationally for organisations including: NIDA (Australia), the Studios Key West (USA), D-CAF (Egypt), Summer Scriptwriting Base (Bulgaria) and Ethnic Kitchen (Lithuania).  


Writing for Stage and Broadcast Media, MA/MFA

Research Degrees (MPhil/PhD)

Teaching Areas

  • Playwriting
  • Dramaturgy
  • Contemporary Political Theatre 
  • Modern British Theatre History
  • Adaptation
  • Theatre Making
  • Critical Theory

Areas of Expertise

  • Playwriting
  • Dramaturgy
  • The History and Politics of Dramatic Structure 
  • Contemporary Political Theatre
  • Contemporary British, American and European Playwrights
  • Digital Theatre

PHD Supervision

I am currently supervising PhDs on theatrical representations of trauma, the one child generation in China and Easter Europeans on UK stages. 

I welcome enquiries related to PhD projects in the field of contemporary playwriting, particularly in the relation to the politics of form in both British and international plays.

Key Publications


2020. The Theatre of Rupert Goold (London: Methuen)

2017. The Contemporary Political Play: Rethinking Dramaturgical Structure (London: Bloomsbury Methuen Drama).  

Journal articles

2014. ‘Life of Digital Double’, Nam June Paik Reader, Vol. 5, 138-145

2014 ‘Going Straight: The Politics of Time and Space in David Eldridge’s Incomplete and Random Acts of Kindness’, Journal of Contemporary Drama in English, Vol. 2:1, 145-158

2011. ‘A Form of Ethics: The disrupted and misappropriated story in the monodramas of Mark Ravenhill’, Contemporary Drama in English, Vol. 18, 141-154

Book Chapters

2020. ‘Violence’ in The Cambridge Companion to British Playwriting since 1945 (Cambridge: CUP)

2017. ‘Controversial Intentions: Adaptation as an act of iconoclasm in Rupert Goold and Ben Power’s Faustus (2004) and the Chapman Brothers’ Insult to Injury (2003)’ in Contemporary Approaches to Adaptation in Theatre (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan)


As a playwright, my plays include S-27, which premiered at the Finborough Theatre (2009) with subsequent productions at the Griffin Theatre, Sydney (2010) and the Annex Theatre, Toronto (2012). S-27 won the Amnesty International/iceandfire Protect the Human Playwriting Competition and was shortlisted for the King’s Cross Award and the Leah Ryan Prize for Emerging Women Writers.

In 2011, I was the winner of OffWestEnd.com’s Adopt a Playwright Award for my play Smolensk.

Between 2014-16, my play Waiting for Romeo was in the repertoire of the Yan Etki theatre in Istanbul. The production won the 2015 Ekin Yazin Dostları Theatre Award for Best Play (Small Venue).

My most recent play Star Fish was shortlisted for BBC Script Room 10 and the 2016 Nick Darke Award. 

My work as a playwright has been supported and developed by the National Theatre Studio, the RSC, The Orange Tree, Arts Council England, The Peggy Ramsay Foundation, The Orchard Project and The Studios Key West. I am a full member of Equity, the Writer’s Guild and the Society of Authors. I currently write audio dramas based in the worlds of Dr Who for Big Finish.

From 2012-2016, I was an associate artist with the theatre company Headlong, where I curated and developed a number of digital projects in collaboration with other artists, including the visual artist Michael Takeo Magruder and interactive theatre maker Tassos Stevens (Coney). I also worked on a number of productions for Headlong including The Effect, Chimerica, 1984, The Nether and People, Places and Things.

As a dramaturg, I worked for Soho Theatre and the Brighton Festival. Between 2015-19, I was the co-ordinator of the English Committee of the Eurodram network, which promotes the translation of contemporary European plays. I am currently a senior reader for Theatre 503. 

Published Plays

2009. S-27, (London: Oberon)

Recent Productions

Full-Length Plays

2014-16 (Playwright), Waiting for Romeo, Theatre Yan Etki, Istanbul

2012 (Playwright) S-27, Annex Theatre, Toronto

2010 (Playwright) S-27, Griffin Theatre, Sydney (Time Out, Sydney – Critics’ Choice)

2009 (Playwright) S-27, Finborough, London (Time Out, London – Critics’ Choice)

Short Plays

2014 (Playwright) Little Mermaid, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff

2014 (Playwright) The Shadow, Soho Theatre, London

2013 (Playwright) Red Shoes, Usher Hall, Belfast

2012 (Playwright) Red Shoes, Belfast Festival

2012 (Playwright) Emperor’s New Clothes, Cockpit Theatre, London

2012 (Playwright) Red Shoes, Chapter Arts, Cardiff; Theatre 503, London; Arches, Glasgow

2011 (Playwright) The Beautiful Ones, Latitude Festival


2019 (Writer) Narcissus, Big Finish


2016 (Writer) What’s She Like, Headlong/Coney

2014 (Curator/Dramaturg) The Nether Realm, Headlong/Royal Court

2014 (Curator) PRISM, Headlong/The Cultural Institute at Kings

2013 (Collaborator) 1984 Digital Double, Headlong/The Cultural Institute at King’s

Register of Interest

Nothing to declare.