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Creative Writing (Playwriting and Screenwriting) - MA

Course Description

Most drama writers move between media so that's what we do; join us to learn about writing for theatre, film and television.

Who is it for?

This 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.

The 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.


Creatively stimulating, challenging and above all practical, this innovative two-year programme 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.

Teaching and learning

This course is taught and run by professional working writers. Teaching 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.

You will be mentored by a professional working playwright or screenwriter for the whole of Year Two.

Central to this Creative Writing MA 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.

The biggest names in the worlds of film, television and theatre visit the course and visiting lecturers include:
-Dr Terry Bailey (TV Writer, director and producer. He has worked internationally and with the BBC. His play, Grave Men, Near Death, was staged last year.)
-Penny Gold (writer, dramaturg, director and producer. She has worked in theatre, television, film and radio).
-Jim Hill (writer and director of popular television drama and is perhaps best known as the co-creator of the successful series Boon).
-David Lane (professional playwright and dramaturg, and has been a Literary Associate to established London and regional new writing companies such as Soho Theatre & Writers' Centre and Theatre and Beyond in Brighton).

Assessment includes participation in lectures, seminars and workshops; of work on presentations; set exercises and own script proposal.


You will take three modules (Writing Workshop, Dramatic Writing and Storytelling) and be taught for six hours a week*. There will be tutorials alongside this in all 3 terms. You will create a 10 minute film as well as a 10 minute play.

In the second year you choose to write either a full length play, or screenplay, or a pilot for an original television series (along with the series "bible" and synopses for several episodes). In addition to this you will participate in workshops.

Year 1
-Writing Workshop
-Dramatic Writing

Year 2
-Own Play or Script
-The Production Business

Career prospects

Many of our graduates go on to have their work performed professionally and have won many awards and nominations. Some examples from 2016 include:
-Aisha Zia, who received a grant from Brookleaze and her play ‘Besieged’ is on at the Arcola Theatre.
-Dianna Hunt, Her play ‘One Woman's Slide: A Blues’ has been programmed in the Talawa Arts Festival.
-Cheryl White, whose films include Before Babel (2013) which won Best Short at the Kent and Rye Film Festival International film festival 2015; Winner of Best Film and Most Innovative Film at WOW Festival 2014.
-Louisa Hayford, who did a ten week paid internship at the Coronation Street story department as part of the ITV Coronation Street Original Voices scheme.

Some of our first year students have also had their work picked up professionally.

Visit the Creative Writing (Playwriting and Screenwriting) - MA page on the City, University of London website for more details!

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Student Profiles

Entry Requirements

You will usually have an Honours degree in any subject. Successful completion of a certificate course in creative writing, professional qualifications or relevant experience, such as acting or directing or writing professionally may also be acceptable. The prime criteria are proven ability and commitment to completing a play or screenplay. Mature students are encouraged to apply. If in doubt about your qualifications please contact us before applying.

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