Course details

Study options

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

UK fee

£6,750 for the full course or £755 per 20 credits* (2021/22)

International/EU fee

£14,700 for the full course (2021/22)

Course level




Start dates

January, September


Britannia Mill, Derby Campus

This course is being updated for September 2021 entry, please keep checking back for more information.

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.

Derby Theatre
The UK's unique professional, producing and learning theatre 

As a Learning Theatre, Derby Theatre provides a unique opportunity for students to learn to their craft by working alongside both academics and theatre professionals in the heart of a professional producing theatre, to develop your skills in technical theatre or performance. 

Students, academics and artists work, create and learn side by side at Derby Theatre. All decisions about the development of both the art and the learning opportunities are made together. At every stage, there is huge potential in the crucible of the arts, learning and research combining to both underpin and inform our future work.  

Derby Theatre provides an extraordinary platform for real life learning to take place, not only through the exciting main stage and studio programmes, but also through the work that the Theatre does with young people, young people in care, emerging artists and the community. Graduates of the programme can also be supported by our Artist Development Programme, In Good Company, which is part of a large regional funding programme. 

#ThisIsDerby award winning project
Derby Theatre has won the Excellence in Arts Education Award at the UK Theatre Awards in 2019 and the Guardian University Award 2020 for Social and Community Impact in recognition and celebration of the #ThisIsDerby project. Delivered by Derby Theatre and other cultural and sports organisations in the city, including Derby County Community Trust, Cultural Campus: Derby's Cultural Education Partnership and the City's Sports Forum, the project provides opportunities for young people to take part in high-quality arts, sports and cultural activities across the city and aims to develop their essential life skills. 

Team from Derby Theatre stand for their photo at the UK Theatre Awards

Derby Theatre wins Excellence in Arts Education Award at UK Theatre Awards

Derby Theatre has won recognition of its learning theatre vision and innovative This is Derby project.

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Postgraduate prospectus

Explore your digital postgraduate prospectus and find out what you need to know about studying with us. When you sign up, tell us what you're interested in and we'll send you a link to information put together just for you.

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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.

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Postgraduate Live Online Events

While we’re not able to welcome you in person to our campuses at the moment, we’re not going to let that stop us showing you all the great things about studying at Derby.

We’re currently planning our spring/summer Open Events to bring you the best possible online and on-campus experience.

Register your interestRegister your interest

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.

Who will teach you

Christine smiling

Christine Parker
Programme leader

Christine is a Senior Lecturer in Film and Video Production. 

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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

2021/22 Fees (August 2021 - July 2022)


£6,750 for the full course or £755 per 20 credits*

£755 per 20 credits


£14,700 for the full course


Please note fees normally increase in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees, which is reviewed on an annual basis. The total fee you pay may therefore increase after one year of study.

* UK full-time fees paid within one academic year are rounded down to the nearest £50 if applicable

About postgraduate awards

Please note at postgraduate level, you’ll need to gain the following number of credits in total to obtain the respective awards. If you have any questions please contact us.

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.

Alumni discount for Derby graduates

We offer a discount on postgraduate course fees for all Derby alumni.

Find out about the Alumni discountFind out about the Alumni discount

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


This course is designed for students who wish to prepare for a sustainable professional career in narrative writing for film, television, radio and live performance. ​

​Skills acquired in this programme are also highly transferrable to related industries such as writing for games, ad-writing and just about anything that requires a command of story.

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.

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.