Writing for the Theatre

The details
Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 02 July 2021
05 June 2020


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

This is a practical module which aims to introduce students to some of the tools and techniques involved in writing successfully for the theatre. The module will examine the flexibility and variety of theatre as a story-telling medium and will look at some of the many different approaches available to the playwright.

The emphasis will be divided equally between the dramaturgical analysis of plays and the development of students' own skills through practical exercises and assignments. While identifying, exploring and practising certain key dramatic structures will form the backbone of the course, no one 'method' of writing plays will be advocated. Instead students will be encouraged to explore their own interests, and develop their own creative processes.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

1. To introduce students to some of the tools and techniques involved in writing successfully for the theatre.
2. To develop students' critical understanding of the flexibility and variety of theatre as a story-telling medium
3. To provide students with the conceptual tools of dramaturgical analysis
4. To provide a broad understanding of the different approaches to dramatic structures and playwriting.

Module learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, students should be able:

1. To understand and analyse the theory and practice of dramatic composition

2. To have a detailed knowledge and understanding of a range of tools and techniques available to the playwright

3. To apply a range of approaches to their own writing for the theatre

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

For 2020-21, we will offer a mixture of tailored online, digital, and campus-based teaching where it may be possible and as appropriate, along with personalised one-to-one consultation with academic staff.


  • Churchill, Caryl. (c2002) A number, London: Nick Hern Books.
  • Akhtar, Ayad. (2013) Disgraced, New York: Bloomsbury Publishing.
  • Smith, Al. (2016) Harrogate, London: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC.
  • Friel, Brian. (2001, c1980) Faith Healer, London: Faber.
  • O'Rowe, Mark. (2011) Terminus, London: Nick Hern.
  • Churchill, Caryl. (1990) Three More Sleepless Nights, London: Nick Hern Books.
  • Waters, Steve. (c2010) The secret life of plays, London: Nick Hern Books.
  • Donoghue, Vickie. (©2012) Mudlarks, London: Methuen Drama.
  • Placey, Evan. (2013) Girls Like That, London: Nick Hern Books.
  • Birch, Alice. (2011) Many moons, London: Oberon Books.
  • Waters, Steve. (2010) Secret Life of Plays, London: Nick Hern Books.
  • Kuti, Elizabeth. (2007) The six-days world, London: Nick Hern Books.
  • Kane, Sarah. (1988) Crave, London: Bloomsbury Methuen Drama. vol. Methuen drama
  • Reiss, Anya. (2011) The Acid Test, London: Oberon Books. vol. Oberon modern plays
  • Moss, Chloë. (2008) This wide night, London: Nick Hern Books.
  • Kane, Sarah. (1998) Crave, London: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC.
  • Spencer, Stuart. (2002) The playwright's guidebook, New York: Faber and Faber.
  • Edgar, David. (2009) How plays work, London: Nick Hern.
  • Friel, Brian. (2001) Faith Healer, London: Faber & Faber.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Participation marks    5% 
Coursework   Autumn Essay (2,000 words)    20% 
Coursework   Short play of 20 minutes plus 1,500 word commentary    45% 
Practical   Short play of 15 minutes (plus 1,000 word commentary)    30% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Mary Mazzilli, email:
Dr Mary Mazzilli
LiFTS General Office - email Telephone 01206 872626



External examiner

Dr Karen Savage
University of Lincoln
Head of School
Available via Moodle
Of 120 hours, 114 (95%) hours available to students:
6 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

Disclaimer: The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its Module Directory is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to programmes, modules, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to modules may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery or assessment of modules and other services, to discontinue modules and other services and to merge or combine modules. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications and module directory.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.