About this courseSkip About this course
This course is part of the University of Cambridge’s MicroMasters program in Writing for Performance and Entertainment Industries.
Ever wanted to jump up on stage and make people laugh…and then make them cry? In this course we will be looking at how to write and perform your own five-minute stand-up routine or your own performative poetry with good timing, energy, and personal charisma! We will be looking in depth at how to structure short-form performance material, as well as how to prepare physically and vocally so that you can perform live with calm and clarity.
We will be engaging with the work of performance poets across the world, and looking at what attributes and writing skills are embedded in a successful stand-up script. Why do we need to stand up and speak in person, and how do we conceptualise the authority and power of the live performance?
This is a comprehensive introduction to performing stand-up and performance poetry 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 energy and perspective.
Learning to how to communicate most effectively with any 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 comedy/poetry 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 five minutes of performable material that you are ready to try out in a venue of your choice!
What you'll learnSkip What you'll learn
- Specialised knowledge of histories, forms, and traditions of writing for stand-up comedy/performance poetry as well as the cultural contexts of innovative practitioners and practices within stand-up comedy/performance poetry; of contemporary critical, analytical, and narrative theories of stand-up comedy/performance poetry;
- 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 stand-up comedy/performance poetry
- 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;
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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 and is part of the MicroMasters in Writing for Performance and Entertainment Industries which runs over 7-8 months. There will be further iterations of the course, and therefore opportunities to work at a slightly slower or faster pace as preferred.
I want to write for YouTube, why do I need to know about stand up comedy?
As writers we would always encourage you to broaden your horizons as it can only assist the creative process. If you are not interested in other genres there is also the option of studying modules on an individual basis.
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.