MA Playwriting / Course details
Year of entry: 2023
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Course unit details:
|Unit level||FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree|
|Teaching period(s)||Semester 1|
|Available as a free choice unit?||No|
This module will explore the conventions of dramatic structure that are useful to consider when writing a play for the stage. The module will focus specifically on a five-act structure and will identify the fundamental building blocks for dramatic playwriting. You will reflect on the role of the protagonist and the journey of change, and the distinct functions of individual acts. This module will be taught via a combination of student discussion of canonical and contemporary texts alongside practical writing exercises, formative feedback and the sharing of work, building towards students executing the five acts through an original piece of assessed work.
The unit aims to:
- Develop your conceptual and critical understanding of the principles of story structure
- Facilitate your understanding of the five act structure, including the particular content and purpose of each act and the relationships between them
- Train you to use a vocabulary that will allow you to talk about playwriting with a new degree of professionalism and sophistication
- Provide a conceptual framework to analyse successful, professionally written plays as well as those of your peers
On completion of the module, you will have acquired a set of diagnostic tools empowering you to identify where your own play has gone wrong, and be able to identify a roadmap to remedy.
Teaching and learning methods
Knowledge and understanding
Demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the formal, technical and professional choices industry practitioners make when designing story.
Demonstrate a detailed and systematic understanding of story structure, and a critical awareness of contemporary innovations in the field of playwriting.
Demonstrate their understanding of the five-act structure and use it as a diagnostic tool to feedback on peers work and their own to develop a resilient drafting process.
Be able to critically analyse, interpret and judge how leading playwrights have developed a structure for their plays.
Demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of story design and execute control over the application of conventions.
Use a real or adopted professional perspective throughout to frame their discussions and reflections.
Be able to evaluate and critique their own work, with reference to the professional conventions of story design and identify solutions.
Develop transferrable dramaturgical skills, applicable to all kinds of story-telling and play-making.
Use e-tools to collaborate with peers.
Be able to write plays utilising controlled story-design.
Transferable skills and personal qualities
Communicate their ideas effectively both verbally and in writing.
Develop a sophisticated language when talking about playwriting and story design that is of professional and industry standard.
Collaborate constructively in groups with peers to develop ideas and understanding and find common solutions with a shared language.
Manage their time and workload effectively in order to meet deadlines.
|1 Five-act play and 1 Reflective piece||100%|
Verbal and written formative feedback provided via individual tutorials x 2 during the module.
Written summative feedback.
See indicative reading list for ‘The Dissertation Play’ module.
Plays explored on this module may include:
The Ferryman – Jez Butterworth
Top Girls – Caryl Churchill
A Doll’s House – Henrik Ibsen
Misty – Arinze Kene
Chimerica – Lucy Kirkwood
People Place’s Things – Duncan Macmillan
This Wide Night – Chloe Moss
Look Back in Anger – John Osborne
Enron – Lucy Prebble
Richard III – William Shakespeare
Macbeth – William Shakespeare
Posh – Laura Wade
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Independent study hours|
|Rachel Clements||Unit coordinator|
|Tim Price||Unit coordinator|