BA Music and Drama / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:

Unit code DRAM21141
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Drama
Available as a free choice unit? No


This module focusses on developing the writer’s voice through the creation of an excerpt of an original drama. Students will explore the main building blocks of a play, from character and dialogue to story and structure, will spend time thinking about the ways that theatrical stories work, and will put these components and ideas  into practice through their own creative writing. Encountering a range of approaches to different forms of theatre, reading some key texts about writing for theatre, and working through a variety of writing exercises and practical exploration, the course develops critical reflection both on the student’s own work, and on playwriting more generally . Students will present their ideas and creative work to the group through the semester and work both collaboratively and through their own writing experience to discover what makes a play work.



Pre-requisite units

Any L1 Drama Practice module – Performance Practices 1; Performance Practices 2


Co-requisite units

Any L2 Drama Core Study module - Practitioners in Context 1; Practitioners in Context 2




  • To introduce students to the practices of play-making and the particularities of writing for performance.
  • To provide an opportunity for students to explore their ideas creatively, pitching ideas and writing scripts.
  • To foster enquiry into the craft of the playwright and to the nature of the cross-currents and differences in current working practices of writing for performance.


Indicative syllabus (representative only – all of the topics listed below may not be covered every year):


WEEK 1 Joined Up Writing: how a play works

WEEK 2 Dialogue: how thoughts erupt into language

WEEK 3 Structures: from scenes to acts

WEEK 4 Character: text, subtext and motivation

WEEK 5 Pitching Plays: creating a whole drama

WEEK 6 Reading Week

WEEK 7 Practical Play-making: drama in action 1

WEEK 8 Practical Play-making: drama in action 2

WEEK 9 Practical Play-making: drama in action 3

WEEK 10 Practical Play-making: drama in action 4

WEEK 11 Forum and Political Theatre: the playwright in society

WEEK 12 The Play As Closed System: in application

Teaching and learning methods

This course is taught through weekly workshops focused on completion of writing tasks, discussion of critical readings, and giving and receiving feedback on writing.


The course unit will be complemented by a Blackboard site that conforms to minimum requirements including a course handbook, weekly course breakdown, provision of reading material, reading lists. Supplementary material from workshops will be added as appropriate. The blackboard site will be prepared and available to students at least one week prior to the beginning of the first teaching week each semester.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Identify, articulate, and critically explore key dramaturgical components and processes both in theory and in practice
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of their own creative process
  • Write about their own play (extract) with clarity and dramaturgical understanding

Intellectual skills

  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the craft of the playwright and the effects of particular writing decisions on the overall shape and impact of a piece of drama.
  • Engage in an informed discussion about the convergences and differentiations in related practices through a theoretically and practically informed framework.
  • Demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate and appraise their own work

Practical skills

  • Work with some of the key components of a play (eg character, dialogue, story, structure) to develop their own piece of original drama.
  • Draft and redraft their work in order to hone and develop its shape, form and effectiveness.
  • Talk/write with analytical clarity about the craft of the playwright, using examples from their own experience and writing as well as from wider research.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • demonstrate a good level of interpersonal communication and team-working skills
  • demonstrate creative and practical skills (eg problem-solving, thinking innovatively, drawing on creative approaches of others, evaluating creative approaches of others, giving and receiving feedback, time-keeping)
  • use effective leadership and group-work skills to solve problems and sustain a creative process
  • perform with confidence and precision for specific audiences/contexts, making use of diverse creative approaches and media (as appropriate to the module)

Employability skills

Group/team working
¿ A good level of skill in managing a creative process both independently and collaboratively, including: leadership skills, ideas-sharing, giving and receiving feedback, taking initiative, negotiation, flexibility, compromise, collaboration, making contributions, reliability, time-keeping.
¿ Ability to work independently to conceive, plan, undertake and evaluate original, well-developed responses to briefs (overseeing a creative process from inception through production, post-production and evaluation)
Project management
¿ A good level of ability to use reflexivity and emotional intelligence when working on creative projects (maintaining balance between fulfilling brief and pursuing own interests, supporting and challenging, critical self-evaluation, ability to empathise with multiple perspectives, ability to adapt to distinct contexts etc.)
¿ Maintaining professional standards as regards self-presentation, including ability to speak to an audience with confidence and precision, and to effectively adapt presentation and material to specific contexts.

Assessment methods


40% Reflective Essay

60% Playscript (extract/scenes)

Feedback methods


Portfolio of creative writing - written


Reflective essay - written


Ongoing feedback during workshops – peer to peer and tutor to student - oral



Recommended reading

Ayckbourn, A (2004) The Crafty Art of Playmaking, London: Faber & Faber

Edgar, D (2009) How Plays Work, London: Nick Hern Books

Fountain, T (2007) So You Want To Be A Playwright?, London: Nick Hern Books

Gooch, S (2001) Writing A Play: Third Edition, London: A&C Black

Unwin, S (2011) The Well Read Play, London: Oberon Books

Vogler, C (1996) The Writer’s Journey: London: Pan Books

Waters, S (2010) The Secret Life of Plays, London: Nick Hern Books

York, J (2013) Into the Words: How Stories Work and Why We Tell Them, London: Penguin

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Practical classes & workshops 33
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Additional notes


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