Course details

Study options

Full-time: 1 year, Part-time: 2 years

UK/EU fee

£735 per 20 credits* (2019/20)

International fee

£14,250 for the full programme (2019/20)

Course level




Start date



Britannia Mill, Derby Campus

Course description

This course is designed for students who wish to prepare for  a sustainable professional career in writing for live and recorded performance.

Practice, skill building and student centered learning are at the heart of the programme.

Taking the premise of David Edgar that performance writing is both an art and a craft; the programme will support students to find their own style and voice, while learning the professional techniques and essential craft skills to express these. This is solidly underpinned with the theoretical study of the contemporary and historical canon.

Combining both taught and individual research elements, the course allows you to explore and develop your personal interests and subjects, whilst offering a firm structure from which to experiment with dramatic form.

The programme has a strong emphasis on the relationship between theory and practice, and following a first semester of intensives and lecturer input, a flexible mode of study will develop to enable you to pursue your own learning experience. This may include, depending on your own interests, traditional forms of theatre and influences and contemporary trends in staging and research, (verbatim, site specific, multi-media, community), approaches to writing for film, television and radio, the finding of a unique ‘voice’ for these and building connections with audiences. The course will develop high levels of research skills and offer frequent opportunities for script development, collaboration and staging.

What you will study

Performance Writing: The Art Form

The module provides a grounding in performance writing and introduces you to a range of genres, styles, and approaches. You will map the contemporary writing landscape, focusing on structure and disruptions of typical forms of storytelling, post-dramatic texts, and multimedia writing practices.

Performance Writing: The Craft

The module introduces you to a range of practical skills and exercises that will develop your writing skills and support experimentation. Throughout the module, you will be encouraged to value drafting, redrafting, and experimenting with genres and styles, all of which will support you to find your voice as a writer. Workshop practice will be at the forefront of our teaching, and you will work with lecturers, visiting professional writers, and your peers to hone your craft and discover ways of working that will aid your creativity and writing skills.

Producers and Markets

This module supports your individual interests in the field of writing for performance with special attention given to the wider contexts of audiences, industries, and markets. The key element of this module is situating creative work in the professional world, emphasising the place of writing in relation to entrepreneurship. You are encouraged to become an independent artist, enabling you to consider self-employment, with sessions on funding applications, pitching work, and developing an effective professional artistic portfolio within a competitive marketplace.

Advanced Workshop Practice

This module will help you develop your writing practice in preparation for your production of a full script for your Creative Project. You will study in a workshop environment, sharing your ideas with your fellow students, and working closely with a tutor to develop your ideas. There will also be opportunities to consider the performance of the written word and the interconnections between script and performance. Throughout, there will be the opportunity to work with fellow writers to explore texts and script ideas as well as experimenting with genre and style.

Creative Project

For this module you will produce a full script in your chosen performance genre, with the support of a tutor. There will also be the opportunity to take part in scriptwriting surgeries, and workshops.

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

How you will learn

Throughout the programme, the emphasis is on student-centred learning as well as tutor input, so that all students will become independent learners and practitioners. This is a specialist course aimed at producing writers for performance, both live and recorded, and some unique teaching and learning features are:


A range of assessment types are utilised, including critical based essays, project proposals, reflective essays and extended research projects. Together these form components of the research process and enable you to develop your research project to reflect your individual cultural and academic research interests.

Throughout the programme we use a mixture of formative and summative assessment. Formative assessments are preliminary works that are not graded, (e.g. a draft of a script), which will help you in the successful completion of the modules and the programme. Summative assessments are the formal assessments which form part of your final grade. You must complete these to gain the ‘right to be assessed’ in the summative assessments.

Dr Christine Templeton-Parker is the Programme Leader for this course and has recently written and directed a short film about gay love. The film scooped five awards at the International Best Shorts Competition! Read more here.

Entry requirements

An undergraduate degree (2:2 or above) in a relevant subject. After you have submitted an application we will ask you to provide us with a digital portfolio and written statement describing your practice and ambitions. You may arrange a meeting with the programme leader to discuss your portfolio in person.

Fees and funding

2019/20 Fees (August 2019 - July 2020)


£735 per 20 credits*

£735 per 20 credits*


£14,250 for the full programme


*Note – at postgraduate level, you’ll need to gain the following number of credits in total to obtain the awards below.

Postgraduate Certificate60 Credits
Postgraduate Diploma120 Credits
MA or MSc180 Credits

This means you will gain 180 credits in total to complete the full MA or MSc. If you are studying part time you will normally complete your studies over two or three years, depending on the course structure.

Please note that all fees may be subject to annual increase.

Students chatting to each other

International student scholarship

We're offering a £2,000 scholarship for all eligible international students studying a full-time postgraduate taught programme (PGT). Terms and conditions apply.

Find out if you're eligible for an international scholarship Find out if you're eligible for an international scholarship

How to apply


Although the focus on the programme is writing for performance, the course will equip you with a range of transferable skills. These included a range of writing skills and careers, e.g. playwriting, brochure writing and planning, marketing and publicity writing, teaching and motivational speaking.

With the emphasis on becoming a freelance writer and artist that is embedded onto the programme, the student will graduate with a skills set and the tools necessary to become employed in the creative and writing landscape. It will provide a grounding in research methodologies for students wishing to progress to MPhil/PhD level, for development in arts careers and broadcasting, and teaching.

Employable Graduates – we’re ranked 15th highest amongst all UK universities and 12th for English institutions with 96% of graduates in work or further study within six months of completing their degree: HESA 2016.

Programme leader

Christine Parker

Contact us

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

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† Additional information about your studies

Download programme specification

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.