Key features are: practice-based enquiry into techniques and processes for writing for stage and screen; a series of writing projects to engage with different styles and formats of production; associated study of writing techniques and issues of performance in relation to theatre, cinema, television; and other relevant contexts.
The MA and MFA are taught in group sessions and through individual tutorials. During these sessions you will consider the fundamentals of dramatic writing. Indicatively these will include structure, narrative, dramatic action, genre, character, dialogue and rhetorical effect. You will study different approaches to writing including individual authorship, group writing and writing to specific briefs. You will attend masterclasses, seminars and workshops that focus on particular modes of writing for different production contexts. You will be part of a writers’ group, providing peer support in developing your writing. This vocational work is complemented by individual research and appropriate theoretical discussion and enquiry. You will address historical, theoretical and critical contexts within which traditions of dramatic writing have evolved.
You will engage in a range of projects that test and develop your skills as a writer of drama. Indicatively, these will include forming a team of writers to evolve a television series, writing a short play script for a staged reading, writing a short film script, writing a radio play and developing and writing a complete dramatic script for production in a particular medium of your choice (stage, radio, television or film). In undertaking these projects you will acquire an understanding of working in different formats, as well as the role of the writer in current production processes.
Through an options unit you will have the opportunity, should you wish, to explore alternative modes of writing, such as writing in the community. You will also gain some knowledge of commissioning and production protocols in different media.
In the first year of the MFA, you will join the MA students for two-thirds of their course. The MFA extends into a second year that engages you with further specialist subject skills. You are offered extended and sustained script development support, and will be expected to develop professional ties and work closely with members of the related industry to establish yourself as a professional practitioner. In the second year of the course, you are encouraged to specialise in one or more directions building on the first year teaching. The MFA second year widens the opportunities to practice knowledge within a context and framework where pertinent questions can be asked, protocols tested and new structures suggested. You will be expected to undertake tutorials and occasional seminars, although these may be via Skype or virtual seminar facilities.
Within the 1200 hours of the second year of the MFA in WSBM, students will complete two full length dramatic texts in the medium of the writer’s choice, an accompanying critical reflection and a portfolio comprising, for example, relevant supporting material taken from the writer’s journal, any treatments the writer may have produced, a plan for professional development, indication of professional contacts developed whilst on the programme, and a report on any placement activity that may have been undertaken whilst doing the project (e.g. if the student attended meetings in a theatre literary department).
The MFA offers a further embedding of skills and concepts learnt during its second year. In some countries, the MFA is more recognised, particularly if you are interested in teaching or research in a higher education environment.