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A one-day creative workshop with IHR Practitioner-in-Residence and award-winning TV producer Sue Horth.

Do you have a particular obsession from your research: a moment, character or set of events from history, which you’ve always felt could make a gripping drama for TV or film? Do you think accuracy and context are poorly delivered through period drama? Do you wonder whether a room full of historians could do a better job at creating something with authenticity at its heart? 

Lifting the veil on some of the creative process behind Sue’s factual drama specialism, this one-day creative workshop will offer a collaborative group exploration - a snapshot - of the scripted development process: bringing an idea from initial concept to the kind of pitch that a producer, channel or writer might develop further. Through this process Sue will share some of her insights about her own industry and what makes a compelling ‘true-story’ drama.

The workshop will simulate some of the development process of a ‘writers’ room’ by focusing on an idea generated by one of the workshop participants (participants will vote from their own shortlist in advance). While the spotlight will be thrown on a single example, the creative process should feel universal, so beyond the main workshopped concept, everyone will come away with some of the toolkit to develop a mini ‘pitch’ for their own idea. Creative collaboration, in an informal and supportive environment, will be key to this experience.

This will be an all-day, in-person event at the IHR with space for ten contributors. We’re aiming for a diverse range of voices and ideas, and there will be a travel allowance for participants based outside London. Lunch and refreshments will be provided on the day.

Sue specialises in transforming authentic true stories into gripping drama, by bringing the rigour of historical research into the creative process, and applying the disciplines of strong dramatisation to real events. Her work for television includes the Bafta-winning ‘Damilola, Our Loved Boy’, ‘37 Days’, ‘Our World War’, the recent ‘Floodlights’ and much more. She’s fascinated to explore what skills, sources, questions and approaches professional historians might bring to this process. 

“As passionate lovers of history, I hope we’ll all find plenty to interest us in this creative exploration of how telling a great story, and honouring real events, don’t have to be mutually exclusive.”

Some of the areas for discussion with Sue will include: 

  • The opportunities for scripted drama, compared with documentary, to access the emotional experience embedded in real events.
  • Setting, shape, structure and narrative … What’s a ‘precinct’? What’s a ‘universe’? What are the tangible differences between a single film, mini-series or series
  • Character(s), leads, and the importance of a ‘journey’
  • The ethics of turning real events into performance.


To apply for a place at this workshop, please complete the short form via the 'apply now' button at the top of the page.

  • Application deadline 9th June
  • Successful participants will be notified by the 15th June

If you have any further enquiries, please contact the IHR Events Office via