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Postgraduate

MA Performance: Writing

Close up shot of moulded shapes in a variety of pastel colours

College
Central Saint Martins
Start date
September 2023
Course length
Two years (60 weeks)
Extended full-time

We train the next generation of writing talent, giving them the confidence and skills required to thrive in the industry.

MA Performance: Writing offers training and support for creative adventure and personal development. This course is part of the Performance programme.

Why choose this course at Central Saint Martins

  • Diverse training: Your studies will cover various forms of dramatic writing including theatre, film, television, radio and digital media.
  • Industry links: MA Performance: Writing has connections with high-profile theatres, television, radio and digital media organisations – nationally and internationally.
  • Collaboration: The course offers potential for collaboration across courses in the Performance programme at Central Saint Martins and relevant courses throughout the University.
  • Showcase: There is a showcase at the end of the course, in which extracts of work are shown to industry professionals.

Course overview

Performance: Writing focuses on the craft and technical aspects of writing for performance. It offers teaching that supports you to develop your skills and voice as a writer. In an ever changing, intensely competitive UK and global sector, it encourages you to identify who you are writing for, and to explore relevant outlets for your work.

The course engages with established and innovative writing practices across theatre, audio, television, film and digital media. It acknowledges the key similarities and differences between writing for different media. The course engages in debates relating to scriptwriting, script development and script production.

The course structure is student-centred, tailoring learning to your own interests wherever possible. It will help you produce a portfolio of work, written for different media, and a variety of performance contexts.

Course units

Performance: Writing explores the theory and practice of writing for a variety of different dramatic outlets, live performance, film, television, audio and digital media. It will provide you with a challenging, supportive and inclusive postgraduate learning environment in which to develop your writing. The course is embedded within the Performance programme at Central Saint Martins and, as such, you will encounter and work alongside students and staff with diverse interests, motives and experiences. This is critical to learning in an art school; you are encouraged to embrace opportunity and alternative perspectives whilst remaining centrally focused on your own individual development.

Unit 1: Skills and Practices 1

Unit 1 explores dramaturgy. It examines the techniques, issues and debates surrounding the theory and practice of dramatic writing and writing for performance. It covers different forms including theatre, TV, audio and digital media.

Unit 2: Skills and Practices 2

Building on the dramaturgical and compositional strategies developed in Unit 1 this Unit explores the cinematic experience, film theory and writing for Film, and how to structure and format a screen play. It also introduces you to writing for animation.

Unit 3: Professional Preparation

Unit 3 prepares you for professional practice and what it means to forge and have a career as writer. This it does, by encouraging you to identify your writer’s voice by reflecting on your ideas, vision and personality expressed in your work. You will research and choose ‘outlets’ for their work. You will be shown how to construct a personal and professional development plan. You will be taught pitching skills, and approaches to self-production. You will explore complementary opportunities available to you as a professional writer, including script reading, editing, development and facilitation.

Unit 4: Final Portfolio

Unit 4 constitutes an intensive writing period in which you will complete a major project for one medium, as well as two proposals for different media. Combined with the work you have created in in Units 1 and 2 this will complete your portfolio of ‘writing for performance’.

Mode of study

MA Performance: Writing is offered in extended full-time mode, delivered through a blend of online and in person over 60 weeks / two academic years. You will be expected to commit 30 hours per week to study, which includes teaching time and independent study

This mode of study extends the duration of the course allowing you time for personal reflection and the evolution of ideas and creative thinking.

One of the benefits of this mode of study is that it does allow for some space to enable you to pursue studies, while also undertaking part-time employment, internships or care responsibilities.

Credit and award requirements

The course is credit-rated at 180 credits.

On successfully completing the course, you will gain a Master of Arts (MA degree).

Under the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications, an MA is Level 7. All units must be passed in order to achieve the MA but the classification of the award is derived from the mark for the final unit only.

If you are unable to continue on the course, a Postgraduate Certificate (PG Cert) will normally be offered following the successful completion of 60 credits, or a Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) following the successful completion of 120 credits.

Learning and teaching methods

During your course you will engage with learning and teaching that includes both online and face-to-face modes. Typically, this will include:

  • An Induction to the university
  • An Introduction to the contents of the course handbook, including unit briefs and modes of assessment.
  • Lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops. Peer learning
  • Structured formative feedback from staff and peers.
  • Self-directed learning
  • Active sharing
  • Self-evaluation and reflective practices.

Facilities

Current skills teachers include:

  • Ryan Craig - theatre
  • Katrina Smith-Jackson - web series and TV
  • Constance Fleuriot - game design
  • Caroline Raphael - audio
  • Roger Hyams - short film
  • Shaun Clark - animation
  • Sharon King - professional preparation
  • Paul Ashton - feature film and funding

Recent writing guests include:

  • Moira Buffini
  • Tanika Gupta
  • April de Angelis
  • Ryan Craig
  • Ray Grewal

Fees and funding

Home fee

£6,650 per year

This fee is correct for 2023/24 entry and is subject to change for 2024/25 entry.

Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students on courses lasting more than one year. For this course, you can pay tuition fees in instalments.

Home fees are currently charged to UK nationals and UK residents who meet the rules. However, the rules are complex. Find out more about our tuition fees and determining your fee status.

International fee

£16,680 per year

This fee is correct for 2023/24 entry and is subject to change for 2024/25 entry.

Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students on courses lasting more than one year. For this course, you can pay tuition fees in instalments.

Students from countries outside of the UK will generally be charged international fees. The rules are complex so read more about tuition fees and determining your fee status.

Scholarship search

Entry requirements

The standard entry requirements for this course are as follows:

  • An honours degree 
  • Or an equivalent EU/international qualification.

Who we are looking for: 

We are looking for applicants with a background or demonstrable interest in scriptwriting for live performance, theatre, film, television, audio and digital media; writers who are interested in exploring time-based-narrative, as well as non-narrative dramaturgy. Writers who want to develop their voice alongside their craft.  

AP(E)L – Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning

Exceptionally applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered. The course team will consider each application that demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by:

  • Related academic or work experience
  • The quality of the personal statement
  • A strong academic or other professional reference

Or a combination of these factors.

Each application will be considered on its own merit but cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

English language requirements

IELTS level 7.0 or above, with at least 6.0 in reading, writing, listening and speaking (please check our main English language requirements webpage).

Selection criteria

We select applicants according to potential and current ability in the following areas:

  • The quality of your supporting material and statement
  • Your critical abilities and awareness of the cultural and social context within which you practice
  • Your communication skills and preparedness to participate collaboratively in debate and practice
  • Evidence that you have the confidence and ability to benefit from and contribute to the learning environment at postgraduate level.

Your personal statement should reflect on your readiness to engage with self-directed learning; that you are able to learn from experiences (trial and error), and that you are motivated to learn from others.

Apply now

You should apply by clicking on the link to the direct form below. The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you do not need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form.

Deferred entry

Central Saint Martins does not accept applications for deferred entry. You should therefore apply in the year you wish to study.

Transfers

If you are currently studying at another institution and if you have successfully completed 60 credits in the equivalent units and modules on your current postgraduate course and wish to continue your studies at Central Saint Martins, you can apply to transfer. The Admissions Tutor will consider applications on a case by case basis, subject to places being available. You must apply directly to the course via the course webpage as early as possible.

Please check our Student Transfer Policy for more important information and be ready to provide us with your current course handbook and unit transcripts.

You will need to provide an official document (translated into English) from your current university, explaining the learning outcomes of the units you have completed.

Start your application now

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following information when completing the online application form:

General information

  • Personal details (including legal full name, preferred name, date of birth, nationality, addresses)
  • Current English language level
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details
  • Employment history

Personal statement

You will be required to submit a personal statement (1,000-1500 words) explaining your aspirations as a writer in the context of your understanding of the course and the profession.

Dramatic script

One complete unproduced dramatic text of no more than 45 pages in any medium (TV, film, web series, radio) that tells a complete story.

We cannot consider your application if you do not provide all the information above.

Communicating with you

After you have successfully submitted your application, you will receive an email confirming we have successfully received your application and providing you with your login details for the UAL Portal.  We will request any additional information from you, including inviting you to upload documents / portfolio / book an interview, through the portal.  You should check your UAL Portal regularly for any important updates and requests.

Application deadline

14Dec2022and3April2023

For postgraduate courses at UAL there are 2 rounds of applications. This is to ensure equal consideration and fairness for all of our applicants. You must apply for 19 December 2022 for Round 1 or by 3 April 2023 for Round 2.

The round 1 deadline has been changed to 19 December to give you more time to make your application.

When you'll hear from us

If this course requires a digital portfolio as part of the application process, we will contact you to invite you to submit this through UAL’s online submission tool, PebblePad. For Round 1 applications, you will need to submit your portfolio by 9 January 2023 at the latest and by 20 April 2023 for Round 2.

This course receives a high volume of applications. We need to make sure that we give all applications equal consideration, so the course team will review them in 2 rounds, after each application deadline date. This means you won’t hear from us about the outcome of your application until after the relevant application deadline date. Outcomes for Round 1 will be released by (at the latest) end of March and outcomes for Round 2 will be released by end of June 2023.

Remember to check the outcome of your application in the UAL Portal. If you apply in Round 1 and don’t hear back from us, we will consider your application within Round 2.

Find out more about what happens after you apply.

There are two ways international students can apply:

You can only apply to the same course once per year.

If you are applying directly you click on the link to the direct form below. The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you do not need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form.

Transfers

If you are currently studying at another institution and if you have successfully completed 60 credits in the equivalent units and modules on your current postgraduate course and wish to continue your studies at Central Saint Martins, you can apply to transfer. The Admissions Tutor will consider applications on a case by case basis, subject to places being available. You must apply directly to the course via the course webpage as early as possible.

Please check our Student Transfer Policy for more important information and be ready to provide us with your current course handbook and unit transcripts.

You will need to provide an official document (translated into English) from your current university, explaining the learning outcomes of the units you have completed.

Deferred entry

Central Saint Martins does not accept applications for deferred entry. You should therefore apply in the year you wish to study.

Visas

Read our visit our immigration and visa advice page to find out whether you need a visa to study.

Start your application now

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following information when completing the online application form:

General information

  • Personal details (including legal full name, preferred name, date of birth, nationality, addresses)
  • Current English language level
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details
  • Employment history

Personal statement

You will be required to submit a personal statement (1,000-1500 words) explaining your aspirations as a writer in the context of your understanding of the course and the profession.

Immigration history check

Whether you are applying online or through a UAL representative you will need to complete an immigration history check to establish whether you are eligible to study at UAL.  If you do not complete the check we will not be able to proceed with your application.

Dramatic script

One complete unproduced dramatic text of no more than 45 pages in any medium (TV, film, web series, radio) that tells a complete story.

We cannot consider your application if you do not provide all the information above.

Communicating with you

After you have successfully submitted your application, you will receive an email confirming we have successfully received your application and providing you with your login details for the UAL Portal.  We will request any additional information from you, including inviting you to upload documents / portfolio / book an interview, through the portal.  You should check your UAL Portal regularly for any important updates and requests.

Application deadline

14Dec2022and3April2023

For postgraduate courses at UAL there are 2 rounds of applications. This is to ensure equal consideration and fairness for all of our applicants. You must apply for 19 December 2022 for Round 1 or by 3 April 2023 for Round 2.

We recommend you submit your application as early as possible before these deadlines to allow the Admissions team to resolve any initial queries about your application as quickly as possible.

When you'll hear from us

This course receives a high volume of applications. We need to make sure that we give all applications equal consideration, so the course team will review them in two rounds. This means that offers won’t be sent to successful applicants until after the relevant application deadline date. Outcomes for Round 1 will be released by 31 March 2022 and outcomes for Round 2 will be released by 30 June 2022.

Remember to check the outcome of your application in the UAL Portal. If you apply in Round 1 and don’t hear back from us, we will consider your application within Round 2.

Find out more about what happens after you apply.

After you apply

What happens next

Initial application check

We check your application to see if you meet the standard entry requirements for the course.  If you do, you will be invited to submit a portfolio through the UAL Portal.

Digital Portfolio

Your portfolio should comprise either:

A link to:

  • A short film with credit as writer, writer/director or writer/producer
  • A narrative podcast with credit as writer
  • A web series with credit as writer, writer/performer, writer/director or writer/producer.

Or:

  • A feature film treatment with pitch deck/mood board
  • A television series outline with pitch deck/mood board
  • A proposal for an interactive game with pitch deck/mood board
  • An interactive story using Twine or similar.

For more portfolio advice please visit our portfolio advice page.

Interview

Following a review of your application including the dramatic script and portfolio, you may be invited for an online interview, lasting 15 to 20 minutes.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the outcome of your application through the UAL Portal.

Feedback

This course receives a high number of applications, and unfortunately we cannot provide feedback to everyone who is unsuccessful. We can only provide feedback after you have had an interview.

If you would like to request feedback, please contact us via your portal.

Each and every application is carefully considered by a member(s) of our academic team. With so many strong applicants to choose from, it is often a very difficult decision to make. If you are unsuccessful, you are welcome to apply to us again in the future.

Deferring your place

This course accepts requests from offer holders to defer their place for one academic year. Deferral requests are granted on a first-come, first served basis until all deferral places are filled, or a deadline has been reached, whichever is sooner.

Careers

Graduates from MA Performance: Writing will be equipped to work with creativity and focus in diverse environments, and to design and explore their own ways of working, confident in building and maintaining working relationships, yet also aware of their unique role in being the ‘champions’ of the story.

The aspiration for graduates is that they are prepared to embark on professional practice as dramatic writers and storytellers with:

  • a knowledge of dramatic media and forms, an understanding of the landscape and practice of dramatic writing, and an insight into what constitutes successful writing and writers
  • a range of technical facilities and capabilities, such as script formatting, project planning, dramatic structure and re-writing
  • a body of practice-based projects, experience, and finished scripted works
  • an appreciation of their developing voice as an artist, with the imagination and confidence that such self-reflection can afford
  • a body of connections and experience with leading industry practitioners, projects and ideas.