• Length:
    4 Weeks
  • Effort:
    8–10 hours per week
  • Price:

    FREE
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  • Institution
  • Subject:
  • Level:
    Intermediate
  • Language:
    English
  • Video Transcript:
    English
  • Course Type:
    Instructor-led on a course schedule

Associated Programs:

About this course

Skip About this course

This course is part of the University of Cambridge’s Micro Master’s program in Writing for Performance and Entertainment Industries.

We will be looking in depth at how to find your own distinctive dramatic voice as you develop as a playwright. How do we choose themes that will resonate with our audience? What qualities makes a powerful character? How should we structure a scene so that it moves the dramatic action forward? How do we find our creative flow when writing under time pressure? How can you connect with new writing theatres and get your work read? All these questions and more will be answered.

We will be thinking comparatively about play-texts and production and well as considering how audiences receive and contribute to the creative process within theatre-making. This is a comprehensive introduction to theatre writing that will give beginners a strong understanding of essential concepts, as well as reinvigorate anyone who has been working in this area for a while, and who wants to find fresh perspective.

Learning to write dialogue for theatre, and how to communicate most effectively with our audience, gives us a good toolbox for expert communication in any professional sphere.

Skill transferability, flexible thinking, and expert language abilities are now essential in a diversifying global job market - come and learn essential new skills, and have fun doing it!

You will be set writing exercises over the course of the module, and you will asked to keep a brief creativity journal to note how your ideas progress and how your intuition leads you into productivity. By the end of this module, you will have completed several new scenes of a play - this can be the development of something you are working on already, or this might be completely new material derived from working on this module - and you will have created a lead character for a piece of stage writing.

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • Specialised knowledge of histories, forms, and traditions of writing for performance as well as the cultural contexts of innovative practitioners and practices within performance; of contemporary critical, analytical, and narrative theories of performance;
  • advanced awareness of the relevant market and distribution demands of entertainment industries;
  • enhanced understanding of the applications of performance in educational, community, and social contexts;
  • detailed understanding of key performance components within the discipline, to include: ideational sources, body, space, image, sound, text, movement, environment.
  • dramaturgical and script-editing skills within playwriting
  • developed advanced self-management skills to include working in planned and improvisatory ways, as well as the ability to anticipate and accommodate change, ambiguity, creative risk-taking, uncertainty and unfamiliarity;
  • an understanding of group dynamics and project management skills in order to collaborate within collective, creative, and professional contexts as well as generating performance texts and presentations;
  • how to create effective structure within a scene; how to edit your scene and think like a dramaturg; how to create effective characters. __

Meet your instructors

Abigail Docherty
Course Director
Institute of Continuing Education

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Frequently asked questions

Does this course give me a Masters degree from the University of Cambridge?

No. If on completing this course you choose to apply to the Master of Studies (MSt) in Writing for Performance – based in Cambridge UK – and are accepted as a suitable candidate, then this MicroMasters® will be considered as 30 credits of the 180 credit award.

Do I need a Creative Writing degree to take this course?

No. This course is open to all, although we believe that you will get more from it if you are already involved, or hoping to be involved in writing and associated literary professions. The entry requirements for the full Master of Studies in Writing for Performance at the Institute of Continuing Education, University of Cambridge are available on our website.

Will I be a successful YouTuber if I take this course?

This course teaches the skills involved in becoming a successful writer for different performance mediums. Honing these skills is ultimately up to you, but the guidance offered will enlighten you and provide you with a solid grounding to enter the entertainment industries as a writer.

Will I receive feedback on my writing?

We are not able to give feedback to any students auditing this course on their individual pieces of writing. For those on the verified track, the final assignment will be assessed and feedback sent. In addition, throughout the course, advice and training will be given on how to give and receive feedback to others. Ideas will be explored through discussion forums.

How long do I have to complete the course?

This instructor-led course runs for 4 weeks. It forms part of the MicroMasters in Writing for Performance and Entertainment Industries which runs over a 7-8 month period. There will be further iterations of the course, and therefore opportunities to work at a slightly slower or faster pace as preferred.

What has resilience got to do with writing?

As a writer you should be prepared to have work rejected as well as accepted. The editing process alone may involve removing treasured words and phrases. In addition, world events can have an impact on the entertainment industries. This course will give you an understanding of how to cope and respond creatively to setbacks.

Who can take this course?

Unfortunately, learners from one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. EdX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.