University of Cambridge: Writing successfully for the Stage
Learn to structure your dramatic writing to a professional standard, as well as develop professionally transferable communication skills. This course will broaden your understanding of how to write engaging and interesting stories in order to attract producers and directors to your work. You will understand how to write effective dialogue, and how to edit your work.
Writing successfully for the Stage
About this courseSkip 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 turn your ideas into well-structured story arcs with resonant plot points. How can we write dialogue that sings with sub-text, and embodies your own distinctive creative voice? We will look closely at form, and find ways of relating theme to style. How should we structure a play-text so that it is active and makes every dramatic beat count? How will you use stage direction, music and set design to develop the metaphoric world of your play? All these questions and more will be answered.
We will be thinking comparatively about advice from the most famous script-editors and dramaturgs, as well as investigating the work of Brecht, Richard Schechner, Augusto Boal, Japanese Noh theatre, and epic forms of theatre from around the world. We will explore how theory may inspire creative practice and vice versa. What commonalities does theatre-making share in cultural communities across the world and why is important that we reference creative practices outside our own? Join us and expand your perspective on what is possible with space, words, and live performance.
Learning to pace a story effectively, to engage and surprise an audience(and to make them laugh!), are useful skills for your professional development outside the Arts.
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 a plan for the structure of a new play. You will have tried out different ways of writing dialogue and found one that suits you – you will be invited to share this in a discussion forum with your peers.
At a glance
- Language: English
- Video Transcript: English
- Associated programs:
- MicroMasters® Program in Writing for Performance and the Entertainment Industries
- Associated skills: Communications, Creativity, Scripting
What you'll learnSkip 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;
- 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;
Frequently Asked QuestionsSkip 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 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, although it is part of a 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 the stage?
As writers we would always encourage you to broaden your horizons as it can only assist the creative process. In addition today’s documentary series could be tomorrow’s hit musical. 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.