Undergraduate prospectus

Course Information

Advanced Playwriting

Module summary

Module code: ENGL1145
Level: 6
Credits: 30
School: Liberal Arts and Sciences
Department: Humanities and Social Sciences
Module Coordinator(s): Adeola Solanke

Specification

Aims

The module aims to: develop advanced practical skills in creating original plays for the stage; examine key theories and principles related to dramatic writing; explore the key stages in the development of scripted material; provide insights into issues of diversity in the arts, looking at strategies to make the theatre and the creative industries more inclusive.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course a student will be able to:

1. Generate and develop several original play ideas.
2. Write and rewrite two original new plays to agreed deadlines and lengths.
3. Present their work according to industry-standard format.
4. Show evidence of analytical reading, viewing and listening habits and a good grasp of dramatic
writing theory and cultural issues.
5. Show evidence of a vocabulary of constructive criticism and the ability to comment critically on
both their own and others' work..

Indicative content

The course focuses on the process of playwriting, from generating the initial idea, through character and plot development, to writing and rewriting the first few drafts. In class, each step in this process will be examined by reading scripts, attending plays and writing premises, outlines, character profiles and scenes. Students will engage in the production of different types of dramatic material (e.g. two-hander plays, ensemble plays), as well as analysing examples of those creative forms from classic no contemporary sources. Students will explore particular aspects of playwriting (e.g. plot structures, dialogue, description and characterization), Alongside commentary, analysis and production, students will be required to keep a reflective journal in which they are encouraged to reflect critically on work undertaken during the course, and on the course itself. They will also discuss and evaluate each other's work, developing critical skills as script editors/analysts. There will be a number of site-specific visits which encourage students to write from a variety of stimuli
such as locations.

Teaching and learning activity

The work focuses on the process of playwriting, from generating the initial idea, through character exploration and plot development, writing dialogue, structuring the action, escalating conflict, creating/maintaining mood/atmosphere, to writing and rewriting the first drafts. In class, we rigorously examine each step in this process – by reading scripts, attending plays, and writing premises, outlines, character profiles, action/description, monologues, dialogue and scenes – always applying the learning to the development of students' own original creative material. The course also continues to develop script editing/story analysis skills to an advanced level. In term one, students develop a 20 min short play. In term two, approaches to planning and developing full-length (60 mins plus) material will be covered, to support learners begin to make the transition to professional work. In term 2 Students may write either: a complete 20 minute short script; or the first 20 minutes of a full-length project. Students will also write an analysis of their creative process.

Assessment

Play 1 - 40% weighting, 40% pass mark.
Learning outcomes 1 - 3.
Outline Details - A complete and original 20 minute stage play - 4,000 words.

Play 2 - 40% weighting, 40% pass mark.
Learning outcomes 1 - 3.
Outline Details - Either a complete and original 20 minute stage play or the first 20 minutes of a full-
length stage play - 4,000 words.

Reflective Essay - 20% weighting, 40% pass mark.
Learning outcomes 4 & 5.
Outline Details - An analysis showing awareness of the process of creating both scripts and of issues in the wider
theatre ecology - 2000 words.

Students are not required to pass all elements of summative assessment in order to pass the course.

Workshop discussion, peer review, lecturer feedback.