Led by some of the country's leading teachers and practitioners in the field, this course is designed for aspiring playwrights and dramaturgs as well as those who want to gain an intensive, hands-on training in playwriting.
Studying at the UK's largest drama department, you will enhance your skills in writing for performance by developing your own plays in a variety of different forms and styles, from stage to radio, the traditional single-authored play to writing for devised theatre and live art. Students will be taught by experienced, professionally-produced and published playwrights. Recent visitors to the college have included Simon Stephens, April de Angelis, Roy Williams, Dennis Kelly, Martin Crimp, David Eldridge, Linda McLean, David Greig, Howard Barker, Michael Frayn and Duncan Macmillan.
All students complete an independently-researched dissertation, which offers a further opportunity to develop your own area of specialist interest.
The class is normally taught in the College’s London base in Bedford Square.
- The 2008 Research Assessment Exercise ranked the majority of the Department's research activities as world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*).
- Royal Holloway has the largest Drama Department in the UK with 25 academic members of staff working at the cutting edges of the discipline.
- We foster an excellent research environment and support a vibrant community of postgraduate and doctoral students.
- The topics taught reflect the research excellence of the course faculty and our distinctive commitment to nurturing critically-informed practice.
- You will benefit from a range of unique performance spaces which include a traditional Japanese Noh theatre, a fully equipped black box studio and the substantial Victorian Boilerhouse.
Department research and industry highlights
- The department has strong links with a range of theatre companies, organisations and practitioners and regularly invites visiting speakers and practitioners to work with students.
- There are a number of active research groups in the department that organise a range of activities each year addressing specific subject areas and research questions.
- Members of the academic staff are leading researchers in the field of theatre and performance practice.
Course content and structure
You will study three core course units and complete a dissertation.
Core course units: - Playwriting (25%) This unit is taught over the two teaching terms and assessed through a portfolio of theatrical and performance texts, accompanied by written analysis of this work.
- Making Performance Texts (25%) You will explore alternative means of generating performance text – for devising, live art, physical theatre, for example. Support will be offered through intensive practical workshops by visiting practitioners.
- Theatre Contexts, Histories, Practices (25%) This unit examines the relationship between theatre theory and practice and is assessed through practice and written work.
- Dissertation (25%) Students on the MA Playwriting programme write a full-length play with an accompanying substantial essay (6-7000 words). This work is supported by a non-weighted methodologies course.
On completion of the course graduates will have: - enhanced and applied their skills as reflective playwrights - worked in a range of different theatrical/dramaturgical contexts - developed their understanding of contemporary playwriting and its contexts - explored the scope of theatre studies and its critical and research methodologies - developed their ability to undertake independent research and analysis.
Assessment is carried out by a variety of methods including essays and performance analyses, practical projects as well as a final dissertation. Practical projects are sometimes carried out in a group and may include an element of assessment for an individual’s contribution to group working and direction. You will undertake a summer term practical project.
Employability & career opportunities
Our graduates are highly employable and, in recent years, have entered many different drama and theatre-related areas, including careers in professional theatre, training and education. This course also equips you with a solid foundation for continued PhD studies and many of our students go on to advanced research.