Bristol Old Vic Theatre School

Degree level: Postgraduate
UCAS Conservatoires
Awarded by: University of the West of England, Bristol

MA Drama Writing (Taught)

Course options

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Course summary

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The Drama Writing MA is led by renowned playwrights Stephanie Dale with David Edgar. This pioneering course aims to nurture students to find their distinctive voices as writers for stage, screen and radio. The course is delivered through masterclasses, workshops and seminars delivered by top industry professionals and experienced practitioners. This highly practical course is innovative in its approach by immersing future playwrights within the whole theatre and screen portfolio. By building professional assurance through artistic practice, students will develop a systematic understanding of dramatic writing as an art, craft and business. This pioneering course aims to nurture students to find their distinctive voices as writers for stage, screen and radio. The course is delivered through masterclasses, workshops and seminars delivered by top industry professionals and experienced practitioners. The course takes the students through four modules in order to unpack a Writers’ Toolkit, and thus to support the playwright in writing a signature script and additional portfolio pieces. Students will gain an understanding of how directors and actors unpack text. They will also have their scripts examined in practice as actors bring their scripts to life at various points through the course. Students will have access to industry standard facilities including a dedicated writers’ room, a radio drama studio and film department. This course is delivered from a practitioners’ perspective and the hands-on experience will ensure an excellent start to graduates’ careers and prepare them for employment by providing a practical and critical understanding of commissioning and other industry processes. The integration of the course into the BOVTS production schedule will allow for the development of several specific features that will enhance students’ experience and learning:

  • Students will benefit from working within the context of an already meshed resource of expert tutors, visiting industry professionals, and students-in-training on different courses. These are in the related fields of acting, directing, design, stage-management, costume, lighting and sound design, audio drama and film making.
  • The School benefits from a very close relationship with the drama industry and this extends to Drama Writing MA students. On graduation, students will have a sophisticated practical understanding of the industry and have had the opportunity to make contacts within it.
David Edgar’s plays have been presented by the National Theatre (including The Shape of the Table, Albert Speer and Playing with Fire), the Royal Shakespeare Company (including Destiny, Nicholas Nickleby, Pentecost, The Prisoner’s Dilemma, Written on the Heart and A Christmas Carol) and The Birmingham Repertory Theatre (including Mary Barnes and Arthur & George). He is the RSC’s most produced living playwright. In addition to her many playwriting credits, Stephanie Dale led the playwriting course of Birmingham Conservatoire for seven years. She has written some of the UK’s largest community plays involving hundreds of social actors. Her special interest is in promenade theatre, with a particular focus on the engagement between actors, audience and the use of space in-between. She has written large-scale plays for Dorchester Community Play Association including Spinning the Moon and A Time To Keep (with David Edgar). Among her stage credits are: The Lost Boy (mixing fiction with real life testimony from refugees), A World Beyond Man and adaptations of Persuasion, Moonfleet and The Chester Mystery Plays. ​ Please note: the named teaching team is correct at the time of writing but may be subject to change.

Course details

Principal study options

During the application and audition process, you must select which instrument(s) you wish to specialise in for the duration of your course. On this course, you can choose from the following options:

Single specialism

Only one instrument is studied. It may be possible to study a further instrument formatively, but this will not contribute towards the qualification.

Instrument/specialisms

For all courses, you must select at least one specialism from the 'primary' list. For those studying primary/secondary pathways, two instruments may be selected – one from the 'primary' list and one from the 'secondary' list. Joint pathway students may select any two instruments from either list.

Primary instrument/specialism

  • Drama Production

Modules

All modules are compulsory. Module Number: UATAWS-45-M Module Name: The Dramatic Medium Part One (45 Credits) Module Number: UATAWT-45-M Module Name: The Dramatic Medium Part Two (45 Credits) Module Number: UATAWU-30-M Module Name: The Drama Writing Industry (30 Credits) Module Number: UATAWV-60-M Module Name: Writing a Signature Script (60 Credits) Optional Modules: There are no optional modules. Interim Award: There are no interim awards under this award scheme. Credit requirements: MA Drama Writing – 180 credits

Assessment method

You will be assessed on coursework, including your signature script, practical assignments, a portfolio of other work and a short business plan. Students are assessed on their professional practice on a pass or fail basis. Judgements about students’ performance are made against the relevant industry standards. The UWE qualifications are awarded as non-classified/non-differentiated.


How to apply

*If you are an international applicant, or you are applying for a postgraduate course, or are choosing certain assessment locations, the 'on time' deadline may be later in the year - please contact the conservatoire directly.

Application codes

Course code:
BDWR
Institution code:
B65
Campus name:
Bristol Old Vic Theatre School
Campus code:
-

Points of entry

The following entry points are available for this course:

  • Year 1

Entry requirements

Normally, successful candidates will have a first degree. If English is not your first language, you will need to demonstrate English language proficiency through a relevant qualification, such as the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), which can also be used to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) requirements. For MA Drama Writing, an overall score of 7.0 is normally required, with a minimum of 7.0 in each component of reading, writing, listening and speaking. It is expected that all candidates will have some demonstrated experience of dramatic writing. Candidates would be expected to have either substantial writing experience in a non-drama medium or have been working in the drama industry and now wish to develop their writing skills. An example of drama writing will be required as part of the selection process. Applicants will be interviewed by two members of staff, including the Head of Course or Artistic Director. There may be two rounds of interviews.


English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you will need to demonstrate English language proficiency through a relevant qualification, such as the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), which can also be used to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) requirements. For MA Drama Writing, an overall score of 7.0 is normally required, with a minimum of 7.0 in each component of reading, writing, listening and speaking.


Assessment locations

In the event of a successful assessment, applicants may be invited for a further interview prior to being made an offer.

Remote assessment recordings may be accepted in the event that you cannot attend an assessment in person.

Single specialism assessment

LocationOn-time FeeLate Fee
Online interviewNo fee charged

Joint principal specialism assessment

LocationOn-time FeeLate Fee
Online interviewNo fee charged

Additional information

As part of the selection process, you will be required to provide an example of your drama writing in the form of a 25-page script. Initial shortlisting for interview is primarily based on this piece of writing, along with the information you provide in your application and CV. In the 25-page extract, we look for: • A strong theatrical scene of the dramatic • Differentiated and engaging characters • An involving storyline Applicants will be interviewed by two members of the teaching team.


Fees and funding

Tuition fees

Republic of Ireland £11400 Whole course
EU £25500 Whole course
England £11400 Whole course
Northern Ireland £11400 Whole course
Scotland £11400 Whole course
Wales £11400 Whole course
Channel Islands £11400 Whole course
International £25500 Whole course

Additional fee information

Increasingly much of the information and some of the content of the course is available via the School's Virtual Learning Environment and so you will benefit from having access to your own personal computer and the internet to make the most of your course. It is estimated that a suitable personal computer will cost £300.00. (Please check with the Course leader for recommended functionality.) You will need to research the most cost-effective way of accessing the internet. The School has a number of means-tested scholarship funds available to assist students with purchases of computer hardware and other essential costs which would otherwise cause financial hardship. Course materials are provided but students may have to allow funds to contribute to some costs towards their self-promotion materials. It is estimated that additional costs for these items will be around £150.00. For Overseas students only: Student Visa if applying from outside the UK £348.00 Immigration Health Surcharge (with discount for Student Visa holders) £470.00.
MA Drama Writing at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School - UCAS