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.
This highly successful programme offers specialist pathways in Playwriting and Dramaturgy. We concentrate on the process of writing for live performance, together with an ongoing evaluation of the work in process. Through practice and reflection, we enable you to establish a distinctive, individual approach as both a writer and dramaturge. Projects include site-specific work, writing for a specific audience, verbatim theatre and interdisciplinary collaboration.
We support the development of texts for performance, alongside intellectual understanding of the diverse forms and contexts in which live performance can be made and the writer/dramaturge’s role in this. We examine texts from a wide range of periods and cultures. We engage with work that is innovative, or which challenges established notions of practice.
Dramaturgs and playwrights study side by side, and examine creative and dramaturgical issues from various perspectives as writers, spectators and creative collaborators. There are opportunities to collaborate on an Interdisciplinary Project with MA Performance Makers and composers from the Department of Music. Final project texts, performed and directed by industry professionals, are presented at the Soho Theatre in London, attended by key industry representatives. Graduates are highly successful in obtaining commissions, dramaturgy posts and artistic directorships. Recent successes include:
All students receive Professional Orientation and support towards career development.
All students take the Writing Projects module: you will work on three diverse, short playwriting projects. Each addresses particular generic issues that relate to writing for live performance, and you will engage with the specific challenges and demands of differing circumstances of text development and production. These will vary from year to year, but they are likely to be selected from the following:
You will also take the Dramaturgy module, which has two main elements: analysis of dramatic text (these will include classics and modern classics, as well as new plays); and analysis of live performance seen by the group (including some visual, environmental or non-text-based work). During the module you will assemble a portfolio of critical analyses and creative writing projects for assessment.
You will also take one contextual module alongside students from other Masters programmes, to be selected from a list of options that will vary from session to session.
You will develop your work on Dramaturgy with the term-long practical workshop module Creative Intervention in Text. This will examine: translation; adaptation of work from other media for live performance; and the re-writing and/or adaptation of extant plays; planning and curating seasons of performance work. You will assemble a portfolio of creative projects for assessment.
You also start work on your Final Project the personal Dissertation-equivalent project that will be the core of your work for the next six months). Weekly seminars and workshops will examine themes relevant to the range of projects chosen, and a first draft or outline will be produced. Each project will be the focus of individual tutorials, and then a class workshop led by a guest dramaturg, director or playwright as appropriate. You will then plan the next phase of the research or development of your project.
You also take another option from the list of contextual modules shared with students from other Masters programmes.
You will present the second draft of your project for another phase of tutorials and group workshops.
Playwriting projects will then be prepared for some form of public rehearsed reading or scratch performance, in extract form – with the writers involved in all aspects of the work.
Dramaturgy projects will be given practical support of an appropriate, equivalent kind. You will further develop your work, with tutorials and workshops and public presentation of work as appropriate, before writing and submitting the finished project.
Throughout the year, various seminars and workshops will examine diverse issues that affect writers today, and these will be led by visiting professionals as appropriate.
We deploy a range of assessment approaches, each appropriate to the module taken. Students taking Writing Projects will submit three short playtexts for assessment. Dramaturgy is assessed by a portfolio of analytic reviews, and Creative Intervention in Text by a series of short creative writing projects and writing exercises. Each of the contextual option modules is assessed by a 4,000 word essay. Final Project leads to the production of a playtext (Playwriting), or a Dissertation or equivalent practical project (Dramaturgy).
Numerous playwrights completing this programme receive high-level professional development opportunities, commissions, awards and full-scale productions of their work at major new writing centres in the UK, USA and in continental Europe. Many also work for at least part of the time in the fields of script development (for theatre and television), and in theatre publication.
Recent playwriting alumni include:
In each of these cases the award-winning play was the writer’s Final Project from this programme.
Dramaturgy alumni work in professional literary management for mainstream and fringe building-based companies, as well as on freelance script development programmes in the UK and internationally. These include:
Delve into the world of the London playwright on a postgraduate degree that gives you the opportunity to write and perform a staged reading of a full-length play.
Playwriting gives you the space, time and support needed to write your first full-length play. The Degree delves into the world of the playwright – reading and watching live theatre in London, investigating the fringe and new writing ‘scene’.
This Master's programme also offers a range of practical exercises to challenge and inspire you before writing your own final piece.
Drama St Mary’s offers a range Drama training programmes at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Our courses aim to offer the very best academic and practical instruction, underpinned by a supportive university environment. The programmes are taught by an experienced team of academics and a collection of professional visiting practitioners.
London is the theatre capital of the world, allowing you to benefit from a diverse variety of theatre and art. The degree expands on our established links with London theatre venues and organisations, giving you the most relevant and up-to-date training.
Please check our website for more information about entry requirements, tuition fees and student funding.
Drama St Mary’s graduates have gone on to work in a range of related arts industries. Our courses prepare students to find consistent, professional work in their chosen field.
The module The Business of Playwriting aims to introduce students to a range of new writing networks as well as look closely at funding for projects, commissions, publishing and being a writer every day.
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 work in a range of forms - from theatre and radio to screenplays and prose - preparing you to specialise as you progress through the degree.
Options in Semester 2 allow you to focus on film and television writing or 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.
Our Creative Writing programme is suitable for writers who want to develop their practice and complete a full length piece of work, or for experienced playwrights who wish to gain a familiarity with writing for the screen, or experienced screenwriters who wish to gain a grounding in theatre writing. It is also suitable for writers who while continuing with their own practice, will work in development roles in the film, TV, theatre and related industries such as literary agencies.
Our programme has been designed, with input from a range of playwrights and screenwriters, to provide the optimum environment for students to complete a full length play or feature film script to a high standard.
As the programme is taught in the evening, we welcome applications from mature students with work and family commitments who are committed to writing a full length play or screenplay over two years.
Creatively stimulating, challenging and above all practical, this innovative two-year Creative Writing programme taught during the evening, provides a supportive and thought-provoking environment for playwrights and screenwriters to explore their ideas, develop their craft and finish a full-length work to a high standard.
You will develop as a writer and sharpen your understanding of what's working and what isn't. No single style or genre is prescribed; the ethos of the programme is excellence and diversity.
You will get to understand writing choices in the work of leading playwrights and screenwriters. You will work with actors and directors from London's new writing theatres, and receive guest talks from agents, producers and artistic directors.
By the end of the course, you will have taken a full-length play, screenplay or television pilot through a number of drafts, working as professional writers do. This play or screenplay will be your calling card. You will receive a performed reading of an extract of your work and a professional script report.
The Creative Writing (Playwriting and Screenwriting) MA is accredited by Skillset, the Creative Industries’ Sector Skills Council which means that students are eligible for the BAFTA Scholarship programme – successful applicants receive a bursary of up to £10,000, a BAFTA mentor, access to BAFTA events, plus a paid work placement at Warner Bros UK.
The course has strong ties with leading playwrights and screenwriters. Recent visiting speakers include:
Richard Bean, Alan Bennett, Ronan Bennett, J Blakeson, Adam Brace, Laurence Coriat, Rib Davies, David Edgar, Martha Fiennes, Andrea Gibb, Tony Grisoni, Stuart Hazeldine, Dennis Kelly, Mike Leigh, Rebecca Lenkiewicz, Patrick Marber, Paul Mayeda Berges, Nicholas McInerny, Anthony Neilson, Diane Samuels, Paul Sirett, Ali Taylor, Sue Teddern, Colin Teevan, Timberlake Wertenbaker, and Roy Williams.
You will have the opportunity to meet agents, producers, directors, and authors on screenwriting. Recent guests have included:
Linda Aronson, Katie Battcock, Matthew Bates, Paul Basset Davies, Camilla Bray, Ruth Caleb, Julian Friedmann, Tony Garnett, Lisa Goldman, Fin Kennedy, Kate Leys, Nick Marston, Margaret Matheson, Jeremy Mortimer, George Perrin, Simon Shaps, David Thompson, Neil Quinn, Mervyn Watson and Katie Williams.
Our Creative Writing masters course is taught and run by professional working writers and you will be mentored by a professional working playwright or screenwriter for the whole of year two.
You will be taught intensively for six hours per week in year one and in the second year you choose to write either a full length play, or screenplay, or a pilot for an original television series.
This playwriting and screenwriting course is based around a mix of practical workshops, seminars and lectures. All this is supported by one-to-one tutorials and by independent study: notably reading and preparing presentations on set texts and performing set writing exercises. As the course progresses, the emphasis shifts to independent study and is supported by workshops and one-to-one tutorials.
Central to this Creative Writing masters course is the requirement to finish a full-length play or screenplay. The course culminates in a showcase of your work to an audience of industry professionals and other interested parties.
Assessment includes participation in lectures, seminars and workshops; of work on presentations; set exercises and own play or screen script proposal.
Many of our Creative Writing graduates from play and screenwriting go on to have their work performed professionally and have won many awards and nominations. Since the beginning of 2015 over 40 students and alumni have had plays performed.
Some recent examples include
Our graduates have had plays performed in London at the Old Vic, Arcola, Old Red Lion, Southwark Playhouse, Globe and White Bear theatres; as well as in Australia, New York, the Netherlands and Afghanistan.
The Master of Writing for Performance focuses on developing the skills and emerging aesthetic of the individual and collaborative writer for diverse forms of contemporary live performance. It is unique in Australian theatre culture, focusing on the diversity of voices and cultures present in contemporary writing in Australia and overseas.
Through a combination of writing workshops, critical seminars and discussions you develop skills in writing for diverse contexts and live performance while gaining an understanding of the relationship between the playwright and the cultural contexts in which they write.
The program focuses on the development of a full length play, as well as four other smaller performance writing projects including: writing from improvisation with acting and directing students; writing for digital mediums; adaptation of existing texts; and writing for live art projects. The projects are supported by an analysis of dramaturgical principles and play structures based in character, dramatic action, conflict, dialogue, action and causal logic, as well as more experimental, non-linear writing based on post-dramatic concepts. At the end of the year, each writer presents a rehearsed presentation of a full-length play to industry and public.
The program welcomes applications from: writers, actors, directors, animateurs, theatre makers, designers and dramaturges, with moderate to extensive experience in performance writing.