Drama and Creative Writing
School of Arts & Media
September 2019Next enrolment
In a nutshell
This degree will teach you how to make and perform theatre, to write stories, novels, scripts and poetry at an advanced level. You will study writing and theatre making in all its forms, from genre fiction and film, to performance poetry and experimental theatre.
As creative practitioners we need to be skilled in the art of imaginative expression, but we also need to understand how literature and performance works and to learn from what has been done before. You will study writers and theatre practitioners who have contributed new perspectives and innovations, and apply this learning to your own creative processes.
Literature and theatre speak to us about the world we live in; the social and cultural issues that affect our lives. In this course you will have the opportunity to find your own voice. Whether it be directing for theatre, working with creative graffiti or writing the first chapter of your novel, we encourage you to develop your creative independence, to break new ground but also to develop and express a critical understanding of your creative projects.
During your time at Salford, you will work in cutting edge studio and theatre spaces with the support of experienced theatre makers, writers and technicians and in addition to your regular classes, you will have access to masterclasses and advice from some of the most exciting theatre companies and practitioners from around the country. Renowned playwright, Jim Cartwright (The Rise and Fall of Little Voice) has established his theatre company here at Salford. See more about his role in the grand opening of the New Adelphi Theatre on ITV Granada Reports.
- Learn from award winning published writers and established theatre practitioners
- Learn how to develop and shape your own creative processes
- Develop your knowledge and understanding of scriptwriting, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, devising, directing and performance
This is for you if...
You are creative, enthusiastic and highly motivated
You have a real interest in creative writing and drama
You have some experience of theatre or drama and a passion for the written word
All about the course
This course teaches professional presentation, editing, research, genre-specific techniques and contemporary approaches to making performance. You will build knowledge and understanding of scriptwriting, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, devising, directing and performance methodologies. Working with innovative and enthusiastic lecturers who are also practising writers and theatre makers, you will learn how to present creative work to a professional standard, how to research a story and how to turn life experiences into exciting reading or performance.
You will also study a range of works from modern literature and performance which will feed and inspire your creative process, making it strong, rigorous and exciting. There is an emphasis upon reflective and critical praxis across both subjects and the course is designed to present an integrated experience, focusing on creative processes for the 21st century.
Your study will take place in Peel Park, a green campus close to Manchester city centre. Practical teaching takes place in rehearsal rooms in the New Adelphi, our purpose built Arts Centre, and from second year, performance assessments take place in fully equipped professional theatres or studios. Additional masterclasses and special events are programmed in both the New Adelphi Theatre and in our MediaCityUK building, next door to the BBC and we also have a strong community of writers, sharing work and publishing in our online journal and class blogs.
This degree integrates the study of Creative Writing (50%) and Drama (50%) into one degree and the optional structure of the course also means that you can choose whether to emphasise drama 'in theory' or drama 'in practice' or a combination of the two. The programme has a unique emphasis upon reflective and critical praxis across Creative Writing and Drama and is designed to present an integrated experience, focusing on creative processes for the 21st century.
You will learn to write and respond to poetry. You will learn how to write stage scripts for presentation to producers, learning the fundamentals of good dramatic writing.
Introduction to Drama
You will be introduced to different orms and genres of drama, analyzing plays from Shakespeare to 21st century theatre. You will be introduced to university level research skills which will help you throughout your degree.
Performance Workshop I
In this module, you will work practically with plays that have been selected to help you explore the changing nature of Realism (Stanislavsky, Strasberg, Meisner). As the module progresses, we focus in on one text in order to work in depth on how we might construct ‘character’ as performers. This is a highly practical, workshop-led module and like all practical classes, requires group rehearsals outside class time.
Working the Text
You will learn to learn to write and respond to memoir and short fiction. You will learn the basics of creating story, convincing characters, setting and effective dialogue.
Performance Workshop II
The second performance module explores responses to realism and is taught through a combination of guided reading, analysis, and an extended workshop ‘laboratory’ period which leads to a performance. Practical sessions will explore the working methods of major non naturalistic theatre practitioners and authors such as Brecht, Beckett and Artaud and you will study non naturalistic performance texts and associated critical materials to support your understanding.
Theory and Practice
You will be introduced to a range of theoretical approaches to literary and cultural practice. You will gain an understanding of how both literary and cultural texts can be read and analysed, and how different theories can be applied to them.
Theatre Industry: Critical Writing and Contemporary Debates
This module introduces you to various forms of professional writing, and current debates in theatre and the arts industry today. You will review shows, write articles or blogs on current trends in theatre, and discuss the issues that interest you most in a series of panel discussions.
Theatre Adaptation: Writers and Devisers
In this module, you will study a range of performances which have been adapted to stage from other forms e.g. myths, short stories, music, poetry or novels and you will create your own. We’ll help you develop your knowledge of adaptation methodologies including cultural and temporal transposition, appropriation and deconstruction. You will use this knowledge along with close analysis of the original texts to help you write, devise and perform your own adaptation.
Year two optional modules may include:
Page to Stage: Drama Texts in Translation
You will develop a practical and theoretical understanding of a range of 20th/21st century theatre texts in translation and the ability to interpret dramatic texts, whilst fostering an understanding of the particular ideological and cultural implications of staging plays in translation.
Shakespeare In Performance
You explore Shakespeare’s plays through performing them and through deconstructing performances of them. You also enjoy the opportunity here of working with students on other degree programmes.
This module explores different forms and sub-genres of creative non-fiction, a genre which Lee Gutkind describes as ‘the most important and popular genre in the literary world today.’ You will cover a wide range of creative non-fiction forms, including memoir, biography, literary journalism, autobiographical poetry, travel writing, music writing and nature writing. Practical techniques including voice, structure, dialogue and imagery will be taught via guided writing exercises; reading, feedback and discussion.
From Salvation to Damnation: Religion, Sex, and Identity in English Drama 1500-1630
In this module you will look at dramatic texts other than Shakespeare’s from the late Medieval to the Jacobean period, roughly 1500-1630. In particular, you will investigate how issues of sexuality, politics, religion, and identity are treated during this period. The module also asks you to consider a range of different theatrical traditions of staging and stagecraft from the period, in order to encourage an appreciation of how those traditions were kept alive on the stage.
Introduction to Children's Literature
You will look at the development of literature for children since 1744. We examine how child development determines what texts written for children become. You scrutinise the texts from many angles and you may even produce texts for children.
Writing Fiction: Contemporary Practice
This module will equip you with an overview of the state of contemporary fiction. You will meet a broad range of contemporary practice, from literary fiction to experimental fiction and genre fiction, including ‘chick lit’, historical fiction, crime/thrillers, science fiction, and supernatural/fantasy fiction. You will write the first chapters of a novel, and learn how to pitch and present your work to a literary agent.
Writing Poetry in the 21st Century
This module revisits some traditional forms. The first part of the module involves creative exploration of the Japanese ‘tanka’ (a relative of the haiku), the sonnet and the sestina and invites you to invent your own original poetic form. In the second part of the module you will encounter a range of innovative approaches to poetry: using sound, collage, found text and visual elements in your writing. The format will be largely workshop-based with writing exercises, sharing work with your tutor.
Comedy Writing and Performance
You will discuss examples of a range of radio and TV comedy before working in a small group to create an original comedy idea and to develop your own characters within it. You will be encouraged to develop range and flexibility in your vocal, facial and physical skills in order to produce a range of comic personas. You will then perform, record and edit the resultant TV/radio sitcom or sketch show. The module also examines aspects of storytelling‚ theme, narrative structure, character development, comic types, the relationship of character to plot, use of subplots - in relation to the writing of comedy drama and situation comedy. The module explores the writing and devising of comedy for recorded media.
You will learn skills of analysing and writing plays for the stage. The module covers history of playwriting, an introduction to the playwriting industry and the development of skills in areas such as concept, story, structure, characterisation and dialogue. You will have the chance to work with professional playwrights in this course and write a play for your assessment.
Introduction to Scriptwriting
You will examine fundamental aspects of fictional storytelling: narrative structure, character development, character types, relation of character to plot, and the use of subplots. You will explore differing conceptual and technical approaches used in scriptwriting for theatre, TV and film; you will workshop your screenplays in class and produce a finished script by the end of the module.
Literature, Adaptation and the Screen
In this module, you will study a range of literary texts and their screen counterpart(s) including Oliver Twist, Psycho and The Great Gatsby. The distinctiveness of each cultural form will be considered, as well as the comparative roles of author, screenwriter and director. There will be opportunities to explore the role of technical and digital arts such as scenography, music, and sound production.
Theatre and Communities
The module provides students with a practical knowledge and theoretical understanding of the uses, applications and value of drama and theatre as an aspect of social engagement and personal empowerment outside of the conventional theatre environment. The module explores the history of the 'form', and key practitioners and areas of contemporary practice. Practitioners/companies may include Cardboard Citizens, 7.84, TiPP, Geese Theatre UK, and Clean Break
Performance and the Postdramatic
You will examine contemporary experimental performance theory and practice and have the chance to create a short original solo piece drawing on the techniques and ideas learnt in the module.
This is a double creative writing module that runs throughout your final year. Here you can undertake a self-directed project in the genre(s) of your choosing, while giving and receiving feedback in a supportive workshop environment. By the end of the module you should have 6,000 words (or equivalent) of highly polished creative work.
Year three optional modules may include:
Biography: Tradition and Innovation
This module puts theory into practice as we examine the literary history of biography, consider the issues and tensions raised by the post-modern context, and explore them in our own biographical writing. Subsequent sessions will address these questions via a number of themes including the history of biography as a literary practice, historical biography, literary biography, celebrity biography through the ages, theoretical approaches to the practice of biography and innovations within the genre. The researching and writing of your own biographical work will be a key element of the classes.
New Departures: Reading and Writing Innovative Poetry
This module combines critical and creative study of some of the most exciting poetry written in the last fifty years. Each seminar-workshop will offer practical exercises in composition in order to aid understanding of the aesthetic and political decisions being made.
The Method: A Strasbergian Approach
This is a performance module where you will work intensely on your acting skills at an advanced level: how to develop and use sense and emotion memory as well as explore the 'private moment' and 'animal exercises' as used in the Method. You will be encouraged to use your self (your emotions, memories and bodies) in order to create believable and realistic characterization.
British Theatre Post-1950
This module contextualises post-war British theatre in terms of naturalism, the avant-garde and the epic mode. A range of play texts will be explored in relation to form, narrative, action and character while exploring the ways in which they engage with issues of class, sexuality, gender and national identity.
Drama Research Project
This is an opportunity to explore in depth an area that interests you, combining research with practice in an extended creative project. You might choose to devise a piece of performance work; to work on the staging of a short play text (or scenes from a longer text); or to create a performance installation. The practical work will be backed up by a detailed research portfolio, charting the course of your project.
All text is visual but both readers and critics often have difficulty sustaining their awareness of its dual nature. You are encouraged throughout to think in terms of close textual analysis and the creative decisions behind a wide variety of different types of texts. They may explore graffiti, site-specific writing – on a mountain, on the side of a building, a bill board; illustrated and illustrative writing; graphic novels; concrete and shaped text; and text-based animations. You can pursue critical or creative paths in your final submission.
This builds on the work from the Introduction to Scriptwriting module. You will be producing industry-standard scripts and being taught how to work in a professional manner. You will cover dramatic story telling, step outlines, treatments, text analysis of character, story, structure, text analysis of story, structure and theme.
Writing for Performance
Writing for Performance will develop your ability and voice as a writer for any area of performance. We will look at some of the most exciting new writing for television, radio and theatre and you will be encouraged to voice your critical insights. You will be encouraged to try writing in a variety of media and to match what you have to say with the correct medium to transmit it. You will have the chance to see your work performed at the University's Create Festival and to submit it to local competitions with the support of your tutor.
This module begins with series of classes exploring the role of the director in relation to a range of contemporary and historical scripts. Under close tutor guidance, you will then consider and apply appropriate theatrical methodologies in order to develop your own directorial approach. All students will be given the opportunity to lead small group work in terms of exploring and experimenting with a range of directorial approaches to both script and to performers.
Renaissance Theatre Acting
You will work with a range of texts, including Elizabethan, Jacobean, and Restoration works. In practical workshops you are encouraged to experiment with rhythm and language, and to apply characterisation and physicalisation techniques within the context of both naturalistic and non-naturalistic performance styles.
Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.
What will I be doing?
Teaching on the course is through:
- Lectures: a formal method of teaching, with one lecturer addressing a large group of students sometimes from different courses; or a talk from someone in industry with an opportunity to ask questions
- Tutorials: an informal method of small-group teaching that is student-oriented and often student-led
- Seminars: an informal teaching situation which tends to be a mixture of tutor-led and student-led discussion
- Practical workshops: where you experiment with new skills or techniques or work creatively with your lecturer on your practice.
- Creative writing workshops
- Individual supervision; which allows us to critique your work and give feedback
- Practice-based creative projects
- Student-directed study where projects are assigned and deadlines given.
We place emphasis on students acquiring individual transferable skills as well as developing knowledge and skills specific to creative and reflective processes. We employ a variety of different assessment methods depending on the modules you choose. These include:
- Creative portfolios
- Creative assignments
- Group practical projects
- Individual projects
- Reflective and critical journals
School of Arts and Media
The School of Arts and Media is the largest School at the University of Salford with more than 4,000 creative students. Across sites at MediaCityUK and the University's Peel Park campus, we offer a huge variety of courses, from Fashion Image Making and Styling, Television and Radio, Creative Writing and Music to Journalism, Animation, Design and Performance.
This broad range of disciplines offers enhanced opportunities for specialist and interdisciplinary study, including collaborative work across subject areas.
The drama elements of our English courses are taught in our £55 million New Adelphi building. It boasts:
- Excellent live performance spaces, including a 350-seat theatre
- Broadcast standard TV acting and presenting studios (including green-screen)
- A radio drama studio
- Post production video and audio facilities.
What about after uni?
After graduation, students can go into teaching, publishing, journalism, advertising, PR, or events as well as a wide range of graduate jobs. This course would also provide an ideal platform for postgraduate study.
The creative and media industries value skills gained on this course so you may progress on a number of career paths within the cultural industries such as arts/theatre administration, television or radio researcher or theatre maker. Salford graduates have previously set up their own theatre companies or joined established ones, and have had work placements at regional theatres.
Our students have also gone on to study drama or English at master's level, or to train as teachers. This course would also provide an ideal platform to gain further qualifications for a career in youth work or drama therapy.
This course is designed to support your personal development and skills to enhance your employability. Modules on the course enhance the development of subject-specific skills and knowledge, but also enhance transferable skills in research, written and verbal communication, IT skills, organisation and decision making, which open up a wide range of careers.
- MA/PgDip Creative Writing: Innovation and Experiment
- MA/PgDip Literature and Culture
- MA Contemporary Performance Practice
This course responds to the needs of industry in developing creative talent, subject expertise and transferable skills appropriate to a wide range of careers. We have close associations with arts organisations, industry and professional bodies such as:
- BBC TV and Radio
- Granada TV
- Legend Press
- Knives Forks and Spoons Press
- Erbacce Press
- The Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester
- The Theatre Royal, Hyde
- Octagon Theatre, Bolton
- British Isles North West section of Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators
- Old Vic Theatre New Voices Company
- The Biographers' Club
- North West Branch of Antelopes Group of Professional Playwrights
- National Association of Writers in Education
This provides you with a number of benefits such as theatre visits, networking opportunities, guest speakers, master classes, workshops and work experience opportunities. You are encouraged to enter competitions on a regular basis.
What you need to know
We are looking for creative, enthusiastic and highly motivated students who are genuinely interested in creative writing and drama. You should be comfortable working with others, have good communication skills and read widely.
You do not need to be a published writer or experienced performer, but you should have some experience of theatre or drama and your interest in and passion for the written word should be evident.
- This course is based at our Peel Park campus
- Overseas study available
- International students can apply
English language requirements
International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.5 (with no element below 5.5) is proof of this.
English and maths GCSE grade C/grade 4
You must fulfil our GCSE entry requirements as well as one of the requirements listed below
UCAS tariff points
A2 to include either creative writing, English language, English literature, English language/literature or performance/drama (performing arts/theatre studies). General studies accepted
BTEC National Diploma
BTEC Higher National Diploma
Applicants will be considered for entry into year two.
Applicants may be considered for entry into year two or three. Applicants are normally invited to bring a portfolio of work to an interview
102-120 points, preferably with a grade B in English
Irish Leaving Certificate
104-120 points, preferably with a grade B or above in English language/literature or English language
Access to HE
QAA Approved - Merit in majority of components at Level 3 (English and / or performance / drama, performing arts / theatre studies)
Salford Alternative Entry Scheme (SAES)
We welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully. Once we have received your application we will assess it and recommend it for SAES if you are an eligible candidate.
There are two different routes through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. Assessment will either be through a review of prior learning or through a formal test.
|Type of study||Year||Fees|
|Full-time home/EU||2019||£9,250per year|
|Full-time international||2019||£14,820per year|
You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.
All set? Let's apply
Course ID WW48