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Writing for the Stage I: Introduction to Playwriting

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This module will help you to work through these questions and introduce you to the basic principles of successful playwriting, from formulating an idea to developing strong characters.

How does dialogue shape character? Why are silences and pauses so important in drama? How do lighting and stage directions influence an audience? What can playwrights of the past teach us about dramatic writing and how has that changed?

Taught in a series of practical workshops, you will be able to learn about aspects of history and genre as well as developing your own voice. No previous experience is required.

Learning and teaching

The module will be delivered through 10 two-hour sessions, made up of lectures, class discussions, small group work and debates. Class sessions will be supplemented by resources available to students via Learning Central.

Topics may include:

  • British drama: history and development
  • contemporary drama: trends, styles and successes
  • creative writing skills: fundamental terminology and concepts relevant to writing plays.
  • genre
  • revision, feedback, and reflection.
  • breaking into playwriting as a profession.

Coursework and assessment

To award credits we need to have evidence of the knowledge and skills you have gained or improved. Some of this has to be in a form that can be shown to external examiners so that we can be absolutely sure that standards are met across all courses and subjects.

The most important element of assessment is that it should enhance your learning. Our methods are designed to increase your confidence and we try very hard to devise ways of assessing you that are enjoyable and suitable for adults with busy lives.

You will develop a playwriting portfolio of around 1,500 words.

Reading suggestions

You will be given a full reading list at the beginning of the module but may find the following texts useful as in introduction to this area of writing:

  • Edgar, David. How plays work. Nick Hern Books, 2012.
  • Innes, Christopher. Modern British drama: the twentieth century. Cambridge University Press, 2002.
  • Letwin, David. The architecture of drama: Plot, character, theme, genre and style. Scarecrow Press, 2008.
  • Luckhurst, Mary, ed. A companion to modern British and Irish drama, 1880-2005. John Wiley & Sons, 2008. [Available online via the library catalogue]

Library and computing facilities

As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University’s library and computing facilities. Find out more about using these facilities.


Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and dyslexia screening.


21-23 Senghennydd Road
CF24 4AG