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What makes Playwriting at the University of Worcester special?

Playwriting at University of Worcester is a uniquely focused course, delivered by a team which includes professional playwrights, to prepare you for a career as a writer for theatre and live performance. Today’s theatre needs new voices: it needs to hear from the young and the under-represented. It needs your voice.

Through developing your understanding of different play structures, approaches to capturing dialogue and plotting narrative, and experimenting with style, you will establish the tools to express your own ideas and concerns in your work. The course will introduce you to how to “think theatrically;” in other words, how to write on the page but with an understanding of how this could come to life on the stage. Theatre is essentially a collaborative art, and playwrights in current theatre practice rarely work in isolation, so experience on the course of working alongside directors, performers, musicians, lighting and set designers and other theatre professionals will deepen your professional practice. Your final play will be workshopped and presented by professional actors in a showcase event.

Within BA Playwriting, you will learn how to get your work published and how to submit your plays to competitions, festivals, theatres and theatre companies. Alongside this, you will explore other career possibilities such as venue script readers, producers, dramaturgs or reviewers. BA Playwriting sits as a Joint Honours degree alongside BA Drama & Performance, or BA Screenwriting, or BA Creative and Professional Writing. Combining Playwriting with one of these subjects will give a real breadth to your writing experience, and open up opportunities to move forwards in different career directions in theatre, film, TV, radio, digital and print platforms.

There is also an opportunity to extend your experience through a year abroad, for example at a University in Europe, USA, Australia or India, facilitating a more international experience of theatre to inform your own playwriting practice.

* Launching in September 2020. Subject to approval

Overview

Overview

Key features

  • Practice-based approach, led by professional playwrights
  • Interdisciplinary projects across drama, dance & music theatre
  • Regular theatre trips
  • Read and workshop your script with professional actors
  • Possibility of a year abroad
Entry requirements

What qualifications will you need?

104
UCAS tariff points

Entry requirements

104 points UCAS points, including a Level 3 qualification in a relevant subject e.g. English of Drama. If you are a mature student returning to education, experience is taken into account as well as qualifications.

International applicants

For applicants with international qualifications, please visit our country pages for information tailored specifically to your home certificates. If you cannot find your country on our list, please contact international@worc.ac.uk

We accept IELTS, Pearson and many Cambridge certificates as a proof of English language fluency on our degree courses, as well as many other English language qualifications.

Undergraduate courses usually require a minimum IELTS of 6.0 (with no less than 5.5 in any component) or Pearson 59 (with no less than 51 in each component) or various Cambridge certificates. Other equivalent English qualifications will also be considered. For more information, please visit our Language Requirements and Support page.

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Course content

What will you study?

Our courses are informed by research and current developments in the discipline and feedback from students, external examiners and employers. Modules do therefore change periodically in the interests of keeping the course relevant and reflecting best practice. The most up-to-date information will be available to you once you have accepted a place and registered for the course. If there are insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this might not be offered, but we will advise you as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative. 

Year 1

Mandatory

  • Thinking Theatrically
  • Staging Stories

Year 2

Mandatory

  • Finding your Voice
  • Adaptations and Collaborations across the Arts

Year 3

Mandatory

  • Final Playwriting Project
  • Working as a Playwright
  • Writing for Contemporary Performance

Part-time pathway

A part-time student taking the degree over 6 year should take 30 credits from each year above.

Teaching and assessment

How will you be taught?

We enable you to develop the independent learning capabilities that will equip you for lifelong learning and future employment, as well as academic achievement.

A mixture of independent study, teaching and academic support through the personal academic tutoring system enables you to reflect on progress and build up a profile of skills, achievements and experiences that will enable you to flourish and be successful.

Teaching

You are taught through a combination of interactive workshops, lectures, seminars, group script readings and rehearsals, and practical theatre-based work. Interactive workshops take a variety of formats and are intended to enable the application of learning through discussion and small group activities. Seminars enable the discussion and development of understanding of topics covered in lectures. Practical work, in our fully equipped drama studios, introduce you to the possibilities of lighting, sound, video, space and set when developing ideas for writing for theatre. Script readings will offer the opportunity to hear your text live, and to give and receive peer and tutor feedback during the development of your plays.

Theatre trips will offer opportunities to analyse plays in performance, and incoming shows and workshops hosted in our Drama Studios will enable you to meet a range of theatre professionals: playwrights, directors, producers and performers. Level 6 modules will explore how to set yourself up as an independent playwright, and enable you to respond to live briefs, commissions and competitions.

In addition, meetings with personal academic tutors are scheduled on at least four occasions in the first year as part of the mandatory modules, and three occasions in each of the other years of a course.

The University places emphasis on enabling students to develop the independent learning capabilities that will equip you for lifelong learning and future employment, as well as academic achievement. The course makes extensive use of Blackboard as an e-learning tool, as well as software packages for playwriting, and Drama Online provides access to a vast range of published playscripts for inspiration and independent research. A mixture of independent study, teaching and academic support from Student Services and Library Services, and also the personal academic tutoring system enables you to reflect on progress and build up a profile of skills, achievements and experiences that will help you to flourish and be successful. Professional playwrights generally operate on a freelance basis, so in the final year of the course in particular, you will be introduced to entrepreneurial skills to prepare you to find and apply for playwriting competitions, commissions and other opportunities. We will introduce you to theatres, companies and festivals who regularly contract playwrights, and we will support you in setting yourself up as an independent playwright. Additionally we will explore a number of other employment options that may be of interest to you on graduating from this course.

Contact time

In a typical week (for a fulltime student) you will have around 15-16 contact hours of teaching. The precise contact hours will depend on the optional modules selected and in the final year you will normally have slightly less contact time in order to do more independent study.

The Joint Hons in Playwriting will occupy 50% of your course work; the other 50% will be within your other subject (Drama and Performance, Screenwriting, or Creative and Professional Writing).Typically contact time for the Playwriting side of your course will be structured around:

  • 5 -6 hours of integrated lecture and practical playwriting work in groups of 15 -20
  • 2- 3 hours of seminars/readings in groups of 5 or 6.

Students on a part-time pathway e.g. over 6 years would expect to receive half the above contact hours.

Independent self study

As a Joint Honours (fulltime) student, 50% of your independent study time will be dedicated to self-study in playwriting; the other 50% will be directed towards your other joint subject. Your independent study time should comprise around 12.5 hours per week for Playwriting (and equal amount of time for your other Joint subject), in addition to the contact time of lectures and seminars. Typically, this will involve completing online activities, reading playtexts or watching recordings of live performances, attending theatre performances, reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the library and online, preparing coursework assignments.

Students on part-time pathway e.g. over 6 years should expect to put in half the above hours of independent study.

Independent learning is supported by a range of excellent learning facilities, including The Hive and library resources, the virtual learning environment, and extensive electronic learning resources.

Duration

  • 3 years full-time
  • Up to 6 years part-time
  • 4 years full-time including a third year abroad

Timetables

Timetables are normally available one month before registration. Please note that whilst we try to be as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week; and some classes can be scheduled in the evenings.

Teaching staff

You will be taught by a teaching team that includes professional playwrights whose work has been produced in theatres across the country, including major London theatres; other members of the team have experience as professional directors or performers, and of running their own theatre companies.

The department is supported by theatre expertise from our technical staff who specialise in lighting, sound and set design. The majority of the teaching team are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy and/or have doctorates, and all teaching is informed by research and professional practice.

Assessment

The course provides opportunities to test understanding and learning informally through the completion of practice or ‘formative’ assignments.

Each module has one or more formal or ‘summative’ assessments which are graded and count towards the overall module grade. Assessment methods include a range of coursework assessments such as writing playscripts, rehearsed readings, collaborative practical projects, essays, reports, portfolios, presentations and a final year independent playwriting project.

The precise assessment requirements for an individual student in an academic year will vary according to the mandatory and optional modules taken, but a typical formal summative assessment pattern for each year of the course is:

Year 1

  • 1 play scene & synopsis
  • 1 performance review or critique
  • 1 essay
  • 1 short playscript, and staging/technical notes

Year 2

  • Portfolio of monologues and dialogues, plus reflective commentary
  • 1 essay
  • 1 collaborative performance practical
  • 1 group presentation

Year 3

  • Major independent playwriting project (30 - 40 minutes in performance)
  • 1 rehearsed reading of original performance writing
  • Competition or commission proposal

You will receive feedback on practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback is intended to support learning and you are encouraged to discuss it with personal academic tutors and module tutors as appropriate.

We aim to provide you with feedback on formal course work assessments within 20 working days of hand-in.

Careers

Where could it take you?

BA Joint Hons in Playwriting will prepare you for a range of possible careers, including working as a professional playwright. Alongside the creative playwriting content, the course equips you with the knowledge and entrepreneurial skills to set up as an independent or freelance writer, and (depending on your other joint subject) you could be in a position to submit work to, or apply for commissions from, not only theatre venues and theatre companies, but also television, film, games or digital platforms.

Through working collaboratively across a range of live performance courses, the department facilitates opportunities for students across subjects to work in small groups of writers, performers, directors and technical theatre specialists, facilitating the development of new theatre companies of performers, directors, and playwrights.

Alongside creating your own scripted work, BA Playwriting places you in a position to move on to a range of other related roles in theatre such as dramaturg, producer, script reader for a theatre, or theatre critic or reviewer.

Alternatively, you could continue in your academic career to further study playwriting or writing for Performance through MA, MRes or PhD opportunities.

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Costs

How much will it cost?

Full-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard tuition fee for full-time UK and EU students registering in the academic year 2019/20 will be £9,250 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

International students

The standard tuition fee for full-time international (non-EU) students registering in the academic year 2019/20 will be £12,400 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Part-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard tuition fees for part-time UK and EU students registering on this course in the academic year 2019/20 will be £1,156 per 15-credit module, £1,542 per 20 credit module and £2,313 per 30-credit module.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Additional costs

Every course has day-to-day costs for basic books, stationery, printing and photocopying.  The amounts vary between courses.

No specialist equipment is needed for this course.

Theatre trips and incoming shows are provided and paid for by the University, if the trip is integral to your learning. You may be asked to pay ticket or travel costs for an occasional optional theatre trip, if you wish to participate in it.

Accommodation

Finding the right accommodation is paramount to your university experience, and our welcoming student communities are great places to live and study.

We have over 1,000 rooms across our halls of residence. With rooms to suit every budget and need, from our 'Traditional Hall' at £102 per week to 'En-suite Extra' at £165 per week (2019/20 prices).

For full details visit our accommodation page.

How to apply

How do you apply?

Joint honours

Creative Writing and Playwriting BA (Hons) - W801
Drama & Performance and Playwriting BA (Hons) - WW84
Playwriting and Screenwriting BA (Hons) - WW88

UCAS is the central organisation through which applications are processed for entry onto full-time undergraduate courses in Higher Education in the UK.

Read our How to apply pages for more information on applying and to find out what happens to your application.

Get in touch

If you have any questions, please get in touch. We're here to help you every step of the way.