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Course options

  • Qualification

    MA - Master of Arts

  • Location

    The University of Manchester

  • Study mode

    Full time

  • Start date

    SEP-21

  • Duration

    1 year

Course summary

Course description

Our MA Playwriting course is an intensive one-year programme designed to provide a genuine gateway into a writing career in the theatre and performance industries.

Like our successful MA Screenwriting course, the MA Playwriting is taught by practitioners and is vocationally-oriented and industry-focused.

Over the course of the year, you will work with leading industry practitioners to develop your playwriting, pitching and dramaturgical skills. You will learn about and develop skills in writing for performance across a diverse range of contexts, genres and themes.

By the end of the course, you will have developed at least one full-length stage play, a collection of one-act dramas, a full-length festival play and at least one play that adapts elements of a classic text to engage with a contemporary context.

You will have access to individual career guidance and training in how to navigate entry-level writing work in the theatre and performance industries. The course features regular speakers from the industry, including returning alumni who have established successful careers as writers, dramaturgs and producers.

In Semester 1, you will study the basics of playwriting as a craft, with a focus on form and structure. This will include engaging with plays in textual form and in live performance, and the study of plot/story, character, genre, scene development, monologue and dialogue, dramatic action, beginnings, endings, features of staging and audience relationship.

You will study a diverse range of new and historical works, including historical plays that have brought about innovations in dramatic form and structure, as well as new writing staged in Britain and further afield in recent years.

In the second semester, we turn to industry-oriented study, focusing on developing new pieces for festival contexts, and on the skills and resiliencies needed to sustain a living in playwriting.

There will be an industry day based at our studio theatre on campus, with talks from directors, agents, producers, publishers, literary officers and writers.

Teaching and learning

The course runs over two 12-week semesters, during which you will take part in seminars and writing workshops that engage with the best of contemporary new performance writing. Our 'writer's room' ethos helps to establish an environment that encourages collaboration, experimentation, sharing ideas and risk-taking.

We intend to keep learning as specific to individual needs as possible, and study groups are intentionally small in scale. You are taught through mixture of theatre visits, seminar tasks, interactive exercises and group discussion.

We aim to schedule classes over the course of two consecutive dates to allow for writing development time and seminar preparation in between contact.

In-class time is supported by regular individual tutorials to discuss written work and overall development. You will receive ongoing feedback from course tutors both verbally, in one-to-one sessions, and in writing.

Coursework and assessment

You will be assessed using a variety of methods, including the submission of plays and pitches. See individual course unit details for specific assessment information for each unit.

Career opportunities

We aim to prepare students for a successful career in playwriting and writing for performance.

You will graduate with a strong sense of your emerging signature as a writer, and also with an ability to write across a range of genres and contexts and in response to specific commissions.

Tuition fees

Students living in United States
(international fees)

£ 20,000per year

Tuition fees shown are for indicative purposes and may vary. Please check with the institution for most up to date details.

University information

University of Manchester

  • University League Table

    17th

  • Campus address

    The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, Manchester, M13 9PL, England

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