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  • Option 1 year full time or 2 years part time
  • Year of entry 2020
  • Campus Egham and Central London

Please note that this degree is now closed for 2020 entry. Please see our alternative Drama, Theatre and Dance MA by Research.

The course

Aspiring playwright? Teacher, director, actor or theatre enthusiast who wants to gain experience of writing for dramatic performance? This course is for those who want hands-on opportunities to develop their playwriting skills, knowledge and awareness. You'll develop your own plays across different forms and styles, from monologues and single-authored plays to the writing of experimental dramaturgies for live art and collaborative or devised projects.

Since we think writers learn best from writers, you'll be taught by experienced playwrights and academics. Recently the course has been taught by award-winning playwright Tanika Gupta and we've had visits from Simon Stephens, April de Angelis, Roy Williams, Dennis Kelly, Linda McLean and Duncan Macmillan amongst others. As you let established voices push you to be more ambitious and creative in your writing, you'll also explore your own voices and style. You'll explore how dramatists past and present have used conventions – and broken them – in the creation of structure, metaphor, character, scene, dialogue, image and action. 

As you go through the course, you'll also work on an independently-researched project - a chance to get your teeth into an area of specialist interest. Part of the course is taught at our creative hub in the centre of London, 11 Bedford Square, plugging you into the heart of theatre production and a busy creative scene in the city.

Part-time students will be based at the Central London Campus for the first year and Egham Campus for the second year of their study.

Core Modules

  • In this module you develop an understanding of the craft of the playwright in terms of structure, dialogue, story, image, and cultural and political dynamics. You will work on the development of your own work, looking at the principles involved in constructing a contemporary play. A mixture of in-class writing exercises, discussion of others' work, and analysis of both classic and modern existing texts will help you learn how to become your own dramaturg and develop greater control as a writer. You will become immersed in London's new play culture, visiting a range of theatres during the year, with the opportunity to meet professional writers.
  • In this module you will develop an understanding of current trends in, and new approaches to, contemporary performance practice, including playwriting, theatre directing, devised, physical and applied work. You will collaborate with students from the other MA programmes offered in the Department of Drama, Theatre and Dance, encountering a broad range of performance making processes and contexts. You will also apply established techniques of research and enquiry to the conception of a new group or solo performance project, allowing you the opportunity to provide thought-provoking response to the practices encountered.
  • In this module you will develop an understanding of how to undertake research in different branches of theatre studies. You will start to prepare for your dissertation, with basic training in how to use major resource archives, whether paper, electronic or material. You will consider how to employ theoretical knowledge of a selected range of creative techniques, exploring ways of engaging critically with research materials, analysing performance, and presenting research findings in written and practical forms, including workshop demonstration, advanced skill class, and comparison of two approaches to a moment in performance.

Optional Modules

All modules are core

We use a range of assessment methods including essays and performance analyses, practical projects and a final dissertation. You'll sometimes complete practical projects in groups and you may be assessed for your contribution to group work. 

Drama, Theatre and Dance Postgraduate Admissions


Ally Williams, Postgraduate Administrator

+44 (0)1784 443922

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