Led by a professional playwright, this unique programme focuses on the practical exploration of the theory and craft of writing for performance. It explores how a script is written to be interpreted by the key creative artists in theatre and how that script plays out in space and time in front of an audience.
Through seminars, tutorials, workshops and professional master classes (led by some of Europe’s leading playwrights and theatre artists), you will develop an understanding of live performance theory, self-motivation and the focus necessary to work as an independent artist within the theatre industry.
Edinburgh has a buzzing theatre scene and the programme draws on this to culminate in a public, professional reading of your work in progress at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
The programme will be taught through a combination of seminars, workshops, independent study, one-to-one supervision and professional master classes. There will also be regular theatre visits.
A central component of the programme will be development workshops with professional actors and established directors, focusing on your own work. You will also work with the performing artists-in-residence, who will offer workshops in each semester. Over two semesters you will take three compulsory courses and one option course.
On completion of these courses, you will produce a major piece of performance writing, supported by one-to-one supervision and development workshops, to be given a professional reading at the end of the programme.
Option courses may include:
Students who successfully complete this programme will:
This highly practical programme allows you to forge valuable links within Edinburgh’s performing arts community. You may choose to use the research skills you have developed to pursue advanced study, or seek a role within the theatrical field.
The transferable skills you gain from your studies, such as communication, research and project management will be valuable to your career development whatever path you choose.
If you want to become a produced or published writer, or to develop your writing skills, this programme will give you the chance to be tutored by leading and established writers in a supportive and creative environment.
The emphasis is on different forms of scriptwriting - playwriting, screenwriting, dramatic writing, writing for film and television, and writing for radio – but you can also develop imaginative writing in other forms, especially prose fiction. Specialist pathways in screenwriting or writing for theatre are open to you.
Whether you’re an aspiring writer, a teacher or simply want to learn more about the writer’s craft, you’ll be working in an environment dedicated to developing new and emerging talent. Our students come from all over the world, and we have a powerful record for developing successful writers and creative leaders. Through our partnership with the West Yorkshire Playhouse, the course is linked to the Playhouse’s own new writing schemes.
Our tutors are professional dramatists and leading researchers with a wide range of expertise. The Programme Director for the MA is the award-winning playwright, screenwriter and producer Garry Lyons, who established the degree in 2006.
Find out more about Garry Lyons
You’ll be based in our landmark building [email protected], with two professional-standard and publicly licensed theatres that regularly host works by students and visiting theatre companies. You’ll be encouraged to use these facilities to try your work out in workshops, rehearsed readings or full productions, and gain experience of practical drama-making.
The programme also benefits from our close links with external organisations. As well as our partnership with West Yorkshire Playhouse, we work with the BBC’s new talent unit, Writers’ Room. Other partners include Opera North, ITV, Screen Yorkshire, the National Media Museum, Creative England, Red Ladder Theatre Company, True North Productions, Chapel FM Radio, Valley Press and many more.
A core module will introduce you to creative writing research, including the potential of practice-led research. This will help to equip you for the rest of the programme, giving you the tools to reflect analytically on your writing and compare it with existing writing of a similar genre or style.
In Semester 1 you’ll spend time in intensive workshops refining your own short pieces of narrative writing, exploring the principles of storytelling and more experimental approaches. You’ll also choose from optional modules, allowing you to specialise in writing for the screen or for theatre and radio.
You’ll have the chance to build on this foundation in the following semester, when you’ll choose from further optional modules. These will allow you to continue working on film and television writing or choose to work on an original project of your own – individually, in collaboration with students from across the School, or based on a two-week placement with an external organisation.
All of this work will culminate with your major project, which you’ll submit by the end of the programme – this could be an extended piece of creative writing, a conventional dissertation, or performance-led research.
Working with West Yorkshire Playhouse
The MA is partnered with West Yorkshire Playhouse, one of the UK’s leading theatres outside London. This links us to the the Playhouse’s new writing schemes. Directors and associate artists from the Playhouse regularly run workshops and masterclasses for us, and we collaborate with the theatre on joint projects such as new writing events and festivals. The Playhouse occasionally offers work experience opportunities for our students to apply for.
Our tutors are professional dramatists and academic specialists in a range of genres, with experience of dealing with theatres, agents, production companies, editors and publishers. We also invite guest speakers from the worlds of theatre, broadcasting, film and publishing to share their insights into the creative industries.
You’ll be taught using a range of methods including lectures, seminars and tutorials as well as practical sessions and workshops. Independent study is also a vital component of this degree, allowing you to conduct your own research and develop your own ideas.
You’ll be assessed mostly on the basis of your creative writing, including theatre, screen and radio scripts and short prose stories you’ll develop in your modules. To encourage you to reflect on your practice, you’ll also write commentaries on your own work. Core modules may also use assessment methods such as essays and presentations to allow you to demonstrate your knowledge.
Many students will want to pursue a career as a professional writer. Although this is a fiercely competitive field, this degree is designed to try to help you realise your ambitions. Alternatively, you could use your additional experience and qualification to progress in your current career or pursue a related path within the creative arts.
You’ll also be well equipped for a future in education, arts administration, script editing, literary management, broadcasting, journalism, advertising, the media, publishing, literary agencies, marketing, PT and many other areas.
The programme has established a powerful record for developing successful writers and creative leaders, from playwrights and television writers to novelists, directors and lecturers.
One of the University’s larger modern language subject areas, German has earned its place as a significant centre for research, with half of our research ranked as internationally excellent or world leading in the latest Research Assessment Exercise.
The size of our graduate school means we are able to support a broad range of German and Austrian cultural and literary research themes, from the medieval period to the present.
Current interests include:
We promote the connection between language and culture through a number of extracurricular programmes, both formal and informal.
You will have the opportunity to take part in our annual play, which is commonly a collaborative effort with a noted German author or playwright.
We organise regular film nights, followed by Stammtisch, and gallery visits are also offered.
We maintain close links with the Scottish arm of the Goethe Institut and the Edinburgh German Circle, which both provide opportunities to make contacts and socialise with the city’s sizeable German community.
Testament to our breadth of research expertise and lively graduate school community, our RAE ranking also reflects world-class resources (such as our well-stocked libraries and the expansive Karin McPherson collection of GDR writing) and commitment to publishing, most notably through our production of the esteemed Edinburgh German Yearbook.