module specification

SM6061 - Writing for Theatre and Performance (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module title Writing for Theatre and Performance
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 150
105 hours Guided independent study
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 30%   Portfolio
Coursework 70%   15 minute script.
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Tuesday Afternoon

Module summary

This module is intended to develop skills in writing for theatre and performance and to consider the ways in which texts shift, enlarge, contract and transform once they are performed. It will combine analysis of existing written and performed texts with creative writing exercises to develop informed, critical, creative writers. Students will also view theatre and performance in London and consider the relationship between the text-as-written and the text-as-performance. The work will be firmly embedded in the contemporary theatre industry – drawing on links with new writing/live art venues in London. Students will develop a portfolio of work and a completed short script. This module will make links with Identity and Performance, Society and Performance and where possible Dramaturgy.

• To assist students in the development of tools necessary to undertake their own critically-informed script making for performance
• To explore the role of the writer within the collaborative nature of theatre-making
• To encourage students to connect their creative lives to global and local and personal events.
• To encourage students to reflect critically on the implications of theatrical appropriation, as it is practised by others and by themselves
• To encourage students to reflect critically on the relationship between texts and staging of text
• To continue to explore the relationship between performance, identity and society.


Students will be expected to view and analyse theatrical performances from the writer’s viewpoint, thus placing their own work in context. LO1,LO3

The module leader will facilitate workshops that will explore existing written and performed texts and teach skills and techniques of writing. LO2,LO4

In addition students will be expected to lead roundtable and work-in-progress sessions where ongoing script making work will be shared and discussed. There will be an emphasis on students exploring their own experience and the communities’ to which they belong. LO3,LO5

Each week students will be set creative writing tasks that will help them to develop their own skills in writing.  Over the semester, they will build up a portfolio of creative pieces and be required to analyse the work of other students.  The major writing project will be a text that they develop and stage in a reading for the class.  They will be encouraged to consider the venue/site of performance for their writing. LO4,LO5

Classes will address such issues as:
• Selecting source material and environments
• Building a writing archive
• Performance dramaturgy—reading, writing, and structuring narrative
• Plot, story and character
• Justifying choices and “responsibility”
• Editing performance scripts
• Presenting the performance script
• Solo creation and group collaboration LO1,LO2,LO3,LO4,LO5

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The teaching of this module will combine tutor and student-led practical and theoretical seminars.  There will be a good balance between the analysis of the work of professionals and the exploration of the students own work with each other. There will be a focus on the industry and an introduction to the ways in which writers get employment and collaborate with others, therefore visiting lecturers and speakers will be brought in where possible.

Learning outcomes

On completing the module the students will be able to:

Knowledge and Understanding
LO1 Develop active theatre viewing

Cognitive Intellectual Abilities
LO2  Critically analyse the writing and staging of written texts

Transferable Skills
LO3  Participate in roundtable discussions about their own and others’ work

Subject Specific Skills
LO4  Develop a short text for a staged reading
LO5  Compile a portfolio of developmental and final scripts

Assessment strategy

This module has a pass on aggregate requirement
Coursework consists of:

1) A portfolio, which includes critical and creative tasks.
2) A completed 15 minute script and a stage reading of that script.


There is no core text for this module.


Aristotle (1996) Poetics, Penguin Classics
Craze, T. Write a Theatre Script in 25 Days (& 10 hours)
Edgar, D. (2009) How Plays Work, Nick Hern Books 2009
Egri, L. (2003) The Art of Dramatic Writing: Its Basis in the Creative Interpretation of Human Motives, Simon Schuster
Fountain T  So You Want to Be a Playwright?: How to Write a Play and Get It Produced,     Nick Hern 2007
Gooch, S. (2001) Writing a Play, A & C Black
Greig, N. (2004) Playwriting: A Practical Guide, Routledge
Lojos, E. (2003) The Art of Dramatic Writing: Its Basis in the Creative Interpretation of Human Motives, Simon Schuster
Spencer, S. (2003) The Playwright's Guidebook, Faber and Faber
Waters, S. (2010) Secret Life of Plays. The Paperback, Nick Hern
Yeger, S. (1990) The Sound of One Hand clapping: A Guide to writing for the theatre         Amber Lane