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Drama and Creative Writing BA(Hons)

Attendance UCAS code Year of entry
3 years full time WW84 2019
2020
4 years full time including foundation year W840 2019
2020
6 years part time Apply direct to the University 2019
2020

Why choose this course?

This course allows you to combine two subjects which have always been popular with our students. Do you want to gain knowledge and understanding of the history, practice and cultural significance of theatre, and writing for the stage? Are you interested in learning the craft of scriptwriting and enhancing your creative skills by exploring other forms including poetry, prose fiction, life writing and experimental writing? This is the course for you!

As well as doing lots of practical work, you'll also be introduced to a range of performance theories which you can apply to your practice as playwrights, performers, directors or researchers.

We have a strong link with Kingston's Rose Theatre - the largest producing theatre in south-west London. Drama students benefit from the resources and expertise of a professional theatre and gain important industry awareness. Regular classes are held in The Rose Studio, and occasional masterclasses on the main stage.

What you will study

The drama and creative writing course offers a dynamic, inclusive and authentic approach to the study of theatre and performance, allowing you to work in conditions emulating existing new writing theatres. Through active seminar/workshops, you'll acquire the dramaturgical, directorial, ensemble and performance techniques that will equip you to work in the performance industry.

Our existing relationships with theatres including the Royal Court, and The Bush (in addition to The Rose) and companies like Headlong, will be utilised to ensure that you are exposed to cutting edge methods and techniques. You'll also acquire up-to-date practical knowledge through masterclasses from practitioners like British playwright Laura Wade, award-winning English playwright Roy Williams, The Royal Court's Elyse Dodgson and Jack Bradley (former literary manager Royal National Theatre).

You'll also be encouraged to develop texts through workshops with performers, rehearsed readings and full productions. Students regularly take part in the International Youth Arts Festival in Kingston, and the Camden Fringe Festival. Students who have previously participated in these activities have gained valuable professional experience adding to their employability.

Foundation year - Humanities & Arts

You can also study this course with a Foundation year. Find out more >

Module listing

You'll explore the history, theory, criticism and practice of theatre-making and writing for performance. 

All theatre productions are 'authored' in one way or another, and the course allows you to consider this authorship in its widest sense:  you can study playwriting alongside directing, for instance, or alongside acting and devising. 

As well as acquiring practical knowledge through masterclasses from literary managers and playwrights, you'll also join our literary community, Writers' Centre Kingston, which hosts an annual programme of events from talks to workshops and festivals.

Each level is made up of four modules each worth 30 credit points. Typically, a student must complete 120 credits at each level.

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list. Those listed here may also be a mixture of core and optional modules.

Year 1

  • This module centres upon practical work designed to develop the skills appropriate to the undergraduate study of creative writing.  These skills will be focused in the following areas: the analysis and use of published writing; language and style; seminar/workshop practice; and habits of writing, self-reflection and revision.  The module will investigate how writers think about their craft and the techniques they use to write most effectively in their various mediums. Weekly lectures will be given by practicing writers who will introduce students to their own published work as well as that of a wide range of other authors. Students will read, analyse and discuss poems, short stories, plays and essays, and will develop a greater awareness of language and style in writing through a variety of exercises.  These workshop exercises will allow students to establish guidelines for constructive participation and encourage co-operation and self-reflection.

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  • This module is designed to familiarise you with a range of rhetorical strategies, aesthetic techniques, redrafting and editing skills, while also providing the opportunity to practise writing and editing in a number of literary and non-literary forms. In "Writing that Works" you are introduced to key techniques for writing effectively and you develop your ability to identify strengths and weaknesses in writing by studying a number of different forms of published texts, both literary and non literary. These abilities are first developed by reading and examining good and bad examples of writing in a variety of forms written for different audiences – from short stories and poems, to newspaper articles, commercial writing, blogs, ads, speeches, emails, informational pamphlets, and business letters.  In addition to the examples offered by tutors, you will be encouraged to source independently further instances of good and bad writing to share with the class in seminars. The next step is for you to practise and obtain tutor and peer feedback on your own writing in these forms and styles.  Transferable skills are embedded in the module through the editing and redrafting practice in which you will synthesise the reading, analysis and feedback you have received in order to produce a portfolio of writing that works. The module will make use of the expertise of a number of our Writers in Residence, Distinguished Writers and Creative Writing staff who will present and discuss examples of their own writing that has, and hasn't, worked. 

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  • This module compliments and extends knowledge and understanding of key concepts of performance developed in Making Theatre Happen by focusing on the relationship between the actor and the written playtext.

    There are two interweaving strands and each is designed to serve as a foundation for your ongoing studies.  You will explore fundamental components of drama such as plot, action, character and dialogue and examine ways in which each is presented in a series of written playtexts.  These plays are studied in detail and each is identified as a pretext for performance.  You are introduced to ways of interrogating the texts and develop a deeper knowledge and understanding of the relationship between what is written on the page and what is presented on the stage. The same playtexts are also used to explore a range of differing performance methodologies that can be utilised to identify the performance potentials of a text in a workshop environment.  You are led through cycles of Preparation, Exploration and Realisation - understanding what these terms mean and the actions they consist of will be an important aspect of the module - and not only learn appropriate ways in which to create intelligent and imaginative performance informed by a written text but also develop a range of acting skills necessary to perform them effectively. 

    Throughout the module you are also introduced to the basic principles of theatre lighting and sound and will be encouraged to explore the impact of these technical elements when used in a performance context.  

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  • The module introduces you to a range of contemporary cultural and critical perspectives on drama, and investigates the relationship between culture and performance. The major emphasis of the module is upon developing a refined understanding of how drama, theatre and performance operate in different contexts. The main features of the module are the investigation of ways in which drama expresses cultural and critical perspectives in practice, and the exploration of theories such as post-colonialism, feminism, and materialism as creative and analytical tools. The module is taught through seminar discussions and related practical workshops, supported by extra-curricular events such as theatre visits. The module is assessed formatively through the presentation of a performance essay and a supporting rationale.

    Culture and Performance provides an essential platform for your understanding of drama as a discipline, and helps to deepen your understanding of what theatre is, how and why it is made, and how it makes meaning. The module provides an essential introduction to later drama modules that explore cultural and critical perspectives in more detail.

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Year 2

  • This module is a core requirement for full field drama students. It focuses on new writing and its pre-eminent place in contemporary British theatre culture. Building on skills and knowledge gained in The Actor and the Text and Staging Histories, the module is designed to allow students both to study key plays in depth and also to develop an understanding of the historical conditions that led to the primacy of the 'new play' in British theatre of the post war period. Taking the establishment of the English Stage Company at the Royal Court in the mid-fifties as a starting point, students will study key plays and playwrights in the process acquiring an accurate overview of the styles of writing that have been most acclaimed, influential and/or controversial in recent decades. Particular attention will be paid to British playwriting in the 1990s and the origins, impact and aesthetics of the In-Yer-Face school. Students will also consider the impact of cultural and institutional policies, such as the establishment of the Arts Council and the young writer's programmes at various subsidised theatres - the Royal Court, Soho Theatre - in shaping contemporary drama, its forms and principal preoccupations.

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  • The module introduces you to the craft of writing dramatic scripts for stage, screen and radio. Through a series of practical exercises, writing tasks and feedback you will become familiar with key principles of dramatic writing that apply across the three forms.  A refined sense of how 'conflict' and 'action' build suspense, tension, humour or pathos; of how to create characters that draw the audience's empathy; of the importance of 'subtext' and of how to harness the scenographic dimension through stage directions and settings, all contribute to the craft of a successful dramatic writer. In addition, sessions on radio and screen writing will not only introduce students to the specific conventions of these forms but also, in drawing attention to the spoken word and aural dimension (in radio) and visual story-telling (in screen), you will be sensitised to the power of the scenography as a component of dramatic craft.

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Year 3

  • Creative Writing Dissertation Project is a year-long 30-credit module which showcases and synthesises students' practical skills, knowledge gained, and creative talent nurtured and developed throughout their creative writing degree. It documents them in a unique portfolio that can be presented to a range of audiences, potential sponsors and employers. The specific nature and dissemination of the project is influenced by the type of joint-honours degree you are taking and this is reflected in the proposal initiated and developed by you yourselves in discussion with your supervisor. The project also builds on accumulated experience in research and creative writing in an inter- and transdisciplinary context, as it encourages you to make use of lateral thinking in order to draw on knowledge from across your course in conceptualising and producing their creative dissertation. It fuses creativity, initiative and imagination cultivated in a practice-based writing course with skills gained in joint disciplines in a way which resonates with the demands of contemporary creative economies and job markets.

    In its format, the portfolio of work included in the Creative Writing Dissertation Project reflects stages of project development and execution encountered in a range of creative and research industries (proposal/bid, creative practice, dissemination and evaluation). Specific phases are designed to strengthen initiative and enterprise, in a process which benefits from employability-related skills gained in Level 4 and Level 5 modules such as, but not limited to, Writing that Works and Independent Creative Writing.

    Throughout the project, you will gain knowledge of the most effective ways of presenting creative work to a wider audience including employers, sponsors, and commissioning bodies. Against the increasing dominance of self-publication, you will learn how to operate successfully in the literary market without traditional networks of support. The work on the portfolio emphasises transferable skills and employability, as well as entrepreneurship and self-reliance, whether you are preparing to enter the job market, work freelance or progress to postgraduate study.

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  • This module is an optional module for all Drama and Creative Writing students at Level 6 and runs throughout the academic year.  Responding to the changing status of live performance in the twenty-first century, the module explores alternatives to the mainstream 'dramatic' tradition of playwriting. It takes into consideration how cultural shifts such as the advent of new technologies and a global community are or might be reflected in contemporary writing for the stage and in media-based performance (for example audio drama and experimental film). You will encounter a selection of play-texts and performances from the historical and contemporary avant-garde which act as prompts to your creative explorations of playwriting and performance writing methods and techniques.  You are encouraged to be experimental and innovative in your own writing, and to question the role of both the theatre and the playwright.  This is a practical and creative module that may involve performance-based exercises (for example improvisation and task-based performance) as well as writing ones.

    The module develops understandings and themes encountered in DA5005 The Play Today and is particularly suited to those who achieved a pass or above in DA5001 Write Action.  The module is ideal preparation for those who are considering masters level study in playwriting, as well as those looking to pursue performance-making after graduation.

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You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University on a not-for-credit basis as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Most of our undergraduate courses support studying or working abroad through the University's Study Abroad or Erasmus programme.

Find out more about where you can study abroad:

If you are considering studying abroad, read what our students say about their experiences.

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This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

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Contact our admissions team

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020 3308 9930*

*Calls cost 7p per minute from a UK landline plus your phone company's access charge. Calls to this number from mobiles are normally deductible from your inclusive minutes.

Location

This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

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Contact our admissions team

Submit an enquiry

020 3308 9930*

*Calls cost 7p per minute from a UK landline plus your phone company's access charge. Calls to this number from mobiles are normally deductible from your inclusive minutes.

Location

This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

View Penrhyn Road on our Google Maps
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