BA Drama and English Literature

Year of entry: 2021

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Course unit details:
Playmaking

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

Overview

Please note that this unit is delivered on-campus only and is therefore not available to remote learners

This module focuses 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/co-requisites

 

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

 

 

Aims

  • 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.

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.
Innovation/creativity
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.)
Other
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

Playscript (extract/scenes) 60%
Essay 40%
Portfolio of writing tasks NA (formative)

 

Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Portfolio of creative writing - written

Summative

Reflective essay - written

Summative

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

Formative

 

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

Griffin, G (2009) Contemporary Black and Asian Women Playwrights in Britain. Cambridge

Hansberry, L (1996) To Be Young, Gifted and Black: Lorraine Hansberry in her own words. London: Vintage Books.

Sigal, S. (2016) Writing in Collaborative Theatre-Making, Hampshire and NY: Palgrave Macmillan

Spencer, S (2002) The Playwright’s Guidebook, London: Faber and Faber

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

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

 

The majority of books about playwriting have been written by white men, although this is slowly changing. To encounter a more representative range of playwrights talking about the writing process, please delve into the following sources:

https://www.writeaplay.co.uk/

https://royalcourttheatre.com/series/playwrights-podcast/

http://www.blackplaysarchive.org.uk/

 

 

Study hours

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

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Rachel Clements Unit coordinator
Katharine Dorney Unit coordinator

Additional notes


 

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