BA Drama and English Literature

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Writing For Performance

Course unit fact file
Unit code DRAM30211
Credit rating 40
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Drama
Available as a free choice unit? No


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

During this module, you will draft – and redraft – an original, full length, play script. This process will be supported by your tutor, fellow students and workshops with playwrights and theatre professionals, including sessions with the Royal Exchange and visits to see plays there during the semester. In addition to studying the key elements of a play in depth, students will workshop their own developing plays, and also explore writing for radio. These workshops will provide a coherent toolbox of structures and approaches to writing for theatre, including sessions on dramatic action, character, story, dialogue. They will include a range of writing, reading and discussion activities designed to support students in the writing of their own plays for the course. As well as developing students’ individual writing voices, the course facilitates the development of students’ analytical and dramaturgical understanding and their ability to provide peer feedback and critical support. 


Available on which programme(s)?

Level 3 Drama, Drama and Screen, Drama and English, Music and Drama

Available as Free Choice (UG) or to other programmes (PG)? No
Pre-requisite units

Any Level 1 Drama Study or Practical core option


Any Level 2 Drama Study core option - Practitioners in Context 1; Practitioners in Context 2; Screen, Culture and Society


At least one 20 credit Level 2 Drama practical course


Note: The module is suitable both for those who have taken the 2nd Year PLAYMAKING option, and for those who haven’t.
Co-requisite units

Drama Dissertation/Research Essay



Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate a deep, engaged and critically aware understanding of a variety of dramaturgical forms, features and possibilities in both practice (their creative writing) and theory (through critical reflection)
  • Understand and critically reflect on a range of professional writing practices across several contemporary dramatic media
  • Articulate an enhanced understanding of what makes a script for theatre, and what makes a script for radio, and worked creatively across both forms
  • Demonstrate a sophisticated critical understanding of their own creative process

Intellectual skills

  • Evaluate and critically reflect on the craft of the playwright and the effects of particular writing decisions on the overall shape and impact of a piece of drama, articulating this through their own writing (both creative and critical)
  • Demonstrate an ability to not only critically appraise but also develop, shape and rework their own creative writing in order to hone its dramatic form, structure and character work.
  • Explain, articulate and evaluate convergences and differences in writing practices through a theoretically, professionally and practically informed framework.

Practical skills

  • Write, redraft, develop their own pieces of creative writing
  • Interpret, apply, and work effectively with a range of feedback and responses (from tutors, peers, and themselves) to their creative work, and discuss this process with clarity and critical rigour.
  • Work creatively to deadlines and with specific tasks, paying close attention to details of brief, audience and form.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Advanced interpersonal communication and team-working skills
  • Critical thinking skills and creative practice skills (problem-solving, thinking innovatively, drawing on creative approaches of others, evaluating arguments, giving and receiving feedback, time-keeping)
  • Using effective leadership, group-work, and creative/dramaturgical skills to solve complex problems
  • Performing with confidence and precision for specific audiences/contexts, making use of diverse creative approaches and media

Employability skills

Group/team working
Ability to work independently and as part of a group to solve problems arising from engaging with challenging and unpredictable scenarios
Project management
Ability to work independently to conceive, plan, undertake and evaluate original, well-developed creative projects that involve complex and unpredictable scenarios
¿ Advanced skills in group-work, independent creative writing, reflexivity, planning and project management ¿ Understanding of and adherence to industry-level professional and ethical standards in practical work ¿ Ability to develop informed critique of professional practice (own and others), drawing on understanding of high quality standards ¿ Development of a professional identity and skills/knowledge base to inform further professional practice, training and learning

Assessment methods

Play (full length)  60%
Reflective Essay 40%
Scene for Radio   NA (formative)


Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Play – written


Radio scene – written


Reflective essay – written


Formative feedback points throughout the process, via individual tutorials, and in-class workshops (from both tutor and peers)



Recommended reading

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

Caulfield, A (2009) Writing for Radio: A Practical Guide, Ramsbury: Crowood Press

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:



Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Practical classes & workshops 132
Independent study hours
Independent study 268

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Rachel Clements Unit coordinator

Additional notes






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