Bristol Old Vic Theatre School

MA Drama Writing (Taught) Bristol Old Vic Theatre School Degree level: Postgraduate Awarded by: University of the West of England, Bristol


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Course summary

The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School MA in Drama Writing 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 programme is delivered through masterclasses, workshops and seminars delivered by top industry professionals and experienced practitioners.

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 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.
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.

Please note: the named teaching team is correct at the time of writing but may be subject to change.

An Opportunity to See Your Work Explored Practically by Actors, Directors and Other Theatre Makers
Students will have their work bought to life by working with other students studying acting, directing, production arts and stage management from across the school.
The programme is delivered through masterclasses, workshops and seminars delivered by top industry professionals and experienced practitioners.
This is a full-time course, but contact hours will normally be concentrated into two days a week (Thursday and Friday), with four ‘intensive weeks’ spread through the year. The Writers Hub is a dedicated space for teaching & learning, individual writing and for the group to programme activities.
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 Bristol Old Vic Theatre School has a renowned literary pedigree, and enjoys relationships with theatres across the city, south west and nationally. For instance, the School mounts productions in partnership with the Bristol Old Vic, Redgrave Theatre and Tobacco Factory, amongst others, on a regular basis, ensuring that students experience practical application of their craft in professional settings.

Course details


This module map provides a list of the modules that make up your course.

Each module is worth a specified number of credits: All modules are compulsory, enabling you to cover key subject knowledge while developing your own interests.

Module number: UATAWS-45-M - Module Name: The Dramatic Medium part 1, (Theatre)
Module number: UATAWT-30-M - Module Name: The Dramatic Medium part 2, (Writing for Recorded Media & Contemporary Developments in Creative Practice)
Module number: UATAWU-30-M - Module Name: The Drama Writing Industry
Module number: UATAWV-60-M - Module Name: Writing A Signature Script

Optional Modules: There are no optional modules for this stage of this award.

Interim Award: There are no interim awards under this award scheme.

Award: MA Drama Writing
Credit requirements: MA – 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.

Entry requirements

Normally, successful candidates will have a first degree.

If English is not your first language, you will be expected to meet the UK Boarder Agency and UWE Bristol’s minimum such as the International English Language Test (IELTS)

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.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

Channel Islands £10,800 Whole course
EU £10,800 Whole course
International £24,000 Whole course
England £10,800 Whole course
Northern Ireland £10,800 Whole course
Scotland £10,800 Whole course
Wales £10,800 Whole course

Additional fee information

No additional fees or cost information has been supplied for this course, please contact the provider directly.

Provider information

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Bristol Old Vic Theatre School
2 Downside Road

Course contact details

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