France - 5 Day Screenwriting Course

Venue: Le Verger (near Limoges) France

Cost: From £590.00 (travel costs not included) 

I will be running a 5-day residential screenwriting course/retreat at LE VERGER, the summer house of Creative Writing and UEA Masters graduate David Lambert, in a lovely part of rural south west France (dates now confirmed for September 8th to 13th, 2022).

Here is your opportunity to take part in a residential screenwriting course and retreat in the idyllic rural Dordogne at Le Verger near Limoges, France. You will get full support with whatever screenwriting project you wish to work on.

This is a chance to get some serious writing done in a lovely, relaxed environment, miles away from it all.  Each of the 5 days starts with a one hour screenwriting seminar from Philip for the whole group.

There will also be the opportunity for each of the writers attending to have one-to-one sessions with Philip for advice on their work-in-progress and more general screenwriting advice. Philip will be on hand to read and feedback throughout the week. (ie this will be course AND retreat!)

The evenings will give you the chance to share your experiences and work with the other writers and Philip.

David and Michèle Lambert have been running courses at Le Verger for several years and will provide the space and cater for you, the writers’ every material need and comfort.

Le Verger offers own-room accommodation or a room-share with one other writer.

Writers will be asked to take turns clearing the table and loading the dishwasher after the evening meal.

Booking your Place

How do I apply and how much does it cost?

Two people sharing is £590 each and private room is £650 (which includes accommodation and railway station / airport transfers in France to Limoges).

(This is the Le Verger cost + £175 for Philip’s tuition fee added).

You can secure your place by paying a non-refundable £100 deposit and the rest no later than 8 weeks before the course start date. (ie by July 8th 2022).

Your fee covers:

• the entire cost of your course (feedback and writing advice, taught sessions, writing retreat, 1-2-1 session, the lot),
• your accommodation in a single or shared room,
• full board – that’s breakfast, lunch and dinner (incl. delicious French wine!)
• transport from/to airport or rail station in France.

The only extra expense is your flight, which with budget airlines, is very affordable (the sooner you book, the cheaper it will be). Easyjet flies direct between London-Gatwick and Limoges airport, which is around an hour’s drive (75km) from Le Verger. There are also options to get to Limoges-Benedictins station by train.

Please note: To make travel simple, all participants will be asked to book the same Easyjet flight, so after booking your place on the course, please wait until you get the go ahead to book your flight or train. Travelling together also allows the writers and facilitator to start getting to know each other and makes airport transfers simpler. Please note that if you require a separate pick-up or drop-off (not with the rest of the group), a local taxi can cost you up to 160€. The hosts will do their best to arrange a lift for £80. Cost of the main group transfers is £15 per person one way and is included in the course price.

There is also the option of lunch or evening meal in the village. (Michèle & David Lambert at Le Verger provide for anyone who doesn’t want to go). The lunch menu is very reasonable at around 13-15 euros (slightly more in the evening).


To apply, you will need to complete the booking form (link below).  You will then receive bank/payment details via e-mail.

You can either pay the full fee on booking, or a £100 non-refundable deposit to secure your place.

Cancellation Policy

(To secure your place a £100 non-refundable deposit must be paid. The balance must be paid 8 weeks at the latest before the retreat or the place may be forfeited).

If you cancel:

4-8 weeks before retreat:          50% of payment refunded

2-4 weeks before retreat:          25% of payment refunded

Under 2 weeks before retreat:  no refund

If we have to cancel the retreat or course due to unforeseen circumstances, we will refund in full your balance payment. We cannot be held responsible for any travel arrangements you have made or have to cancel. We recommend you take out a travel insurance policy. We reserve the right to change the programme of the retreat or course at short notice. In this unlikely event, we will do our utmost to provide an equally attractive alternative to ensure your satisfaction with the retreat or course.

Please e-mail me if you have any queries
Please e-mail me if you have any queries

So is this a Course or a Retreat?

Both! During your stay at Le Verger, you will be offered a one hour taught session every morning, followed by individual writing time for the rest of the day and opportunities to share work and get feedback in the evenings. On top of that, you will also be offered one-to-one sessions with the course facilitator – to give you feedback on your work and other screenwriting guidance (both about craft and career).

The taught sessions will focus on the craft of screenwriting – but I will be guided by the particular needs and interests of the attending writers.

The writing time is exactly that. Your time to write. But I will be on hand at agreed times of the day for feedback and advice.

The sharing time is an opportunity to hear your writing read and see how it works or what needs more attention. It is also an opportunity to learn from other people and a great way to develop your critical thinking. Formulating and receiving feedback are essential skills for any writer. We should also say, it is entirely up to you if you want to share work at this stage. No pressure.

One-to-one session. During the stay, you will be offered at least one individual session (up to 1 hour long) with your tutor to ask all those questions that you aren’t quite confident to share with the group, to get individual feedback and advice and soak up as much of that writing inspiration and energy as you possibly can.

Who Runs the Course?

The course facilitator and your writing tutor is Philip Shelley. Philip has worked as a script editor, producer and trainer in UK TV drama for the past 25 years. He runs the annual Channel 4 screenwriting course and has worked as script editor on shows such as INSPECTOR MORSE and WAKING THE DEAD.

Your hosts at Le Verger are Michèle and David Lambert. Michèle is a French teacher, whilst David is a writer himself. He holds an MA from the UEA and has taught creative writing at The Open University and writing for the stage at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge. But most importantly, they are both incredibly attentive to their guests’ individual needs. Outstanding cooks, they cater to a variety of tastes and dietary needs. They are also the ones who will be picking you up from the airport and welcome you at Le Verger.


You’ll be accommodated in your own simple but comfortable room with a desk and lamp. ‘The Piggery’, a separate gite in the grounds, is suitable for two (or more) writers: it has a large open mezzanine space upstairs (4m x 6m) with further accommodation below (5m x 6m) separated by curtains, and a bathroom. There is wifi in all the accommodation. Two Writer’s Cabins (3 x 3.5m and 3 x 3 m) each provide ‘rustic’ but comfortable individual accommodation (occupants use the three main house bathrooms). There’s also a glamping option –– a pop-up tent (3m x 3m) you can stand up in, with single bed, rush matting and electricity. 

Subject to availability, retreaters can opt for their own room in a cabin, the tent or in the main house, or they can share accommodation with another writer.

*While we do our best to satisfy your accommodation request, please note that in the event that this is not possible you will be offered the alternative at the advertised price.


Breakfast is on a help-yourself basis and can be from as early (or late) as you require it. A buffet lunch will be laid out in the kitchen from 12.30-1.30. Tea and coffee-making facilities are available whenever you require. A sit-down dinner with wine is served from 7.30pm and we encourage all retreaters to join the group for this (let us know on the Booking Form of dietary needs or other intolerances). 

We provide vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and soya alternatives. 

Retreaters take turns after one evening meal to help clear away.

When you're not writing

You are in Dordogne, a glorious part of South-West France! Relax on our land or feel free to take yourself off on well-signposted walks to Le Puy des Ages (4 km), the château-forge of Savignac-Lédrier or the village bar (1.5km)…

What to bring

We recommend you travel light (we provide towels, there’s a hair drier) as luggage space in the transfer cars is very limited! A warm jumper is recommended in all seasons — at the highest point in the Dordogne (410 m) even hot days can have cool evenings. Please ensure you bring the dietary essentials you need.

The nearest pharmacie is 7 km away (and costly) so please bring supplies of any personal medication you know you will need (hay fever, travel sickness). French supermarkets are not allowed to sell even aspirin. We recommend you bring an effective anti-tick preparation as there have been reports of ticks in the region. Natural Rose Geranium (pelargonium graveolens) essential oil, or anything with 30% deet is effective.

Bring euros as cards are not always accepted and there are no ATMs in deepest France.

Bring your own European plug adapter.

Please e-mail me if you have any queries