DRAM20190 Playwriting

Academic Year 2021/2022

This module will introduce students to some of the fundamental skills involved in playwriting, both through analysis of key texts, and by working imaginatively on their own scenes. Throughout, attention will be given to exploring the range of dramatic form, its possibilities and challenges, while students will be encouraged from the very first classes to creatively engage with their own material. The emphasis in the course will be on establishing an informed and supportive environment in which creativity and experimentation can flourish, with participants expected to respond constructively to one another’s work. The course will ask students to consider underlying structural aspects of the dramatist’s craft, such as the demands of genre, time-frame and theme, before moving on to explore the related issues of character, plot, location and dialogue. Consideration will also be given to the practical nature of the play text: that it is in certain respects a template for performers, directors, stage managers and others to enact, and does not exist outside of its social, financial and cultural context. Students will be encouraged to develop a strong and distinctive voice, while remaining aware of the needs of the work “beyond the page”. The need for clear aims and goals during the playwriting process will be underlined, as will the indispensability of editing and re-crafting in pursuit of the strongest possible version of the work.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

- Acquire a range of approaches to writing for performance, and a grasp of their contexts and underlying principles.
- Demonstrate an understanding of dramaturgical structure and function, both within and across scenes.
- Develop a personal writing style. and also have an ability to write in different registers and for different contexts.
- Be able to collaborate in a creative environment, and to offer discerning support for the work of others.
- Have the capability to initiate both creative and interpretative projects.
- Have the capacity to set writing goals that are attainable and challenging.
- Develop the ability to be bold and original in creative problem-solving.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Seminar (or Webinar)


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Students are expected to actively engage with the writing process in an unthreatening and supportive environment. They should be prepared to write improvised short pieces, take part in "theatre games" and give responses to one another's writing. Open-minded collaboration and the fostering of original thought are encouraged, as id the development of theatrical pieces that are not only clever, but also moving. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
CRWT30060 - Creative Writing: Playwriting

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Continuous Assessment: Because this is a practical writing class, students are required to write short pieces, both in-class and for class, culminating in a 10 minute short play by the end of semester Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components

Not yet recorded

Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Peer review activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Because students are often asked to write "on the spot" immediate feedback is given, both by the lecturer, and by their peers in the SGT. For slightly longer pieces written to bring in to class, a more detailed report will by given by the lecturer to help them tighten and strengthen the impact of their writing. Support and suggestions are also given for the 10-minute play they must complete.

Albee, Edward, The Zoo Story and other plays (London, Penguin, 1995).

Churchill, Carol, Traps, in Plays: 1 (London, Methuen, 1985).

Gregg, Stacey, Override (London, Nick Hern Books, 2013).
Scorch (London, Nick Hern Books, 2015).

Mamet, David, Glengarry Glen Ross http://www.dailyscript.com/scripts/glengarry.html

McPherson, Conor, This Lime Tree Bower

Pinter, Harold, The Birthday Party (London, Methuen, 1965).

Strindberg, August, Miss Julie (London, Heinemann, 1960).
The Father

Sutton, Patrick, Iscariot (extracts to be provided).

Secondary material:

Mc Kee, Robert: Story (N.Y., Harper Collins, 1997).

Vogler, Christopher: The Writer’s Journey (N.Y., Wiese, 2007).

You tube excerpts:

Alan Ayckbourn – “A Plain Man’s Guide to Playwriting”.

National Theatre: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLACEFB7174646C07B

Scenes from:
Zoo Story
Birthday Party
All My sons
Glengarry Glen Ross