The course is taught in the Drama Department, which is housed in the recently developed Milton Building, which contains architecturally inspirational studio spaces and writing rooms. The recent subject review commented upon the 'excellent facilities - both aesthetic and practical' and the 'theme of creativity across all levels and modules of the courses' as well as the 'committed team of staff with a clear shared ethos'. The course specifically concentrates on the practice and study of writing for live performance. It offers postgraduate students the opportunity to work with practising writers who perform both as tutors on some of the course modules and as professional advisers on final projects.
The course emphasises the less traditional, more experimental end of the writing spectrum and encourages you to develop new writing strategies and languages that go beyond the notion of the well-made dramatic play, whilst understanding the structure and intent of that particular form.
In the first term students attend workshops, lectures, seminars and tutorials on one afternoon and evening a week. This structure changes in the second term to include an intensive residential week, and a number of weekend workshop sessions as well as individual tutorials. Students write up their final MA Writing Project under the supervision of a professional performance writer. There are opportunities throughout the course to workshop text using student actors.
Two modules are taken (assessment type in brackets):
-Performance Writing Strategies (writing portfolio) Students participate in tutor-led writing workshops, seminars and tutorials where they learn and implement a number of strategies and techniques for generating, shaping and structuring textual performance material.
-New Performance Writing (presentation and submission of written paper) Students encounter, analyse and critique performance writing and the role of text in performance making, through a series of interactive seminars. The module traces the continuum from dramatic to postdramatic writing.
Two modules are taken:
-Project One: Solo Writing (developed performance text and critical analysis) Students develop a text for performance through the process of writing an outline/treatment and draft submissions of an extended work. The module incorporates a writing workshop where students can test their ideas and receive feedback from tutor and peer group, both of their writing on the page and eventually its translation into performance in rehearsed readings/stagings.
-Project Two: Collaborative Writing (collaborative text, working notebook and analysis) Students encounter performance as a collaborative art, with the writer's text being one ingredient in that collaboration. They participate in group workshops, and work with other writers and/or artists from sister disciplines to create a collaborative text for performance.
-Professional Writing Project (full length text for performance and critical analysis) Students undertake an intensive writing project, developing a full length text for performance through the process of writing an outline/treatment and draft submissions of their work. The module closely reflects professional practice and is monitored by industry professionals. The School offers bursaries towards the cost of taught MA and MMus courses.