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MA in Playwriting and Adaptation: Stage, Screen and Beyond (2021 Entry)


  • Course Code
  • P-W441
  • Course Type
  • Postgraduate Taught
  • Qualification
  • MA
  • Duration
  • Full-time: 1 year
  • Part-time: 2 years
  • Location of Study
  • University of Warwick

The MA in Playwriting and Adaptation: Stage, Screen and Beyond offers emerging and established writers the opportunity to hone their writing craft for a range of performance settings and production contexts. You will engage in dramaturgical thinking and research within script development and produce scripts for a range of media.

The MA in Playwriting and Adaptation: Stage, Screen and Beyond is a taught postgraduate degree offering a unique combination of play/script writing and adaptation for stage, screen and beyond. The course invites students to improve their writing craft while exploring, researching and developing a variety of original plays/scripts and adaptations for a range of performance settings and production contexts from stage, screen, and radio performance to live performance including site-specific, museum and immersive performance, gaming and other commercial and non-traditional contexts.

Starting from the premise that writing for performance requires dramaturgical research, the course also interrogates dramaturgical thinking in relation to script development. The programme is aimed at emerging writers interested in writing in a performance-based context as well as more established writers wishing to hone their skills. By the end of the course, each student will have completed a full-length play/script and several short plays/scripts for a range of media.

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Core Modules

All modules on this course are core modules.


  • Writing for Live Performance, TH9A3-30
  • Dramaturgical Thinking for Script Development, TH999-30


  • Writing for Screen and Beyond, YH9A4-30
  • Adaptation, TH998-30


  • Final Project (full-length play/script for any media)

You will work alongside world-leading academics and professional playwrights and dramaturgs who will share their expertise and challenge you to recognize your creativity and think independently. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities and support needed to develop your own scripts for stage, screen, radio and a range of other forms and to compete in global creative industries.


You will normally attend two 3-hour seminars each week during the Autumn and Spring Terms. If you are a part-time student you'll attend one 3-hour seminar a week during the Autumn and Spring Terms of Year 1 and Year 2. Seminars and workshops will normally consist of fewer than 15 students.

A range of teaching methods will be used that draw attention to innovative practices. They include:

  • Seminar discussions and workshops that include insights from professional practitioners, in-depth explorations of case studies, critical readings and practical tasks
  • Practical workshops and feedback sessions that, through specifically designated exercises, enable students to develop skills, techniques and understanding of requirements specific to a range of script writing practices in a variety of media and settings. Group feedback sessions will provide further strategies to students to sharpen their understanding of the adaptation process
  • Cold and semi-staged readings that enable students to hear their work-in-progress and receive informal oral feedback
  • Intensive weekend residences (one each term) and a summer writing residence that will enable students to work with professional writers, to experiment with various modes of writing, and to experience the process of script-development both through individual and collaborative exercises and practices

You will participate in two departmental research seminars per term where staff and PG students share their research through a wide range of formats.

You may also attend a series of training lectures and workshops led by the university. You will also have access to readings and other the research events featured by the Warwick Writing Programme.

Assessment and Feedback

The programme comprises a range of innovative assessments appropriate to the learning goals and objectives. This includes both formative and summative assessment modes such as:

  • Portfolio of writing exercises and short scripts
  • Semi-staged reading of short scripts
  • Dramaturgical Protocols for a script-in-progress
  • Full length written script, scenario, or adaptation (Final Project)

You will receive feedback in both oral and written forms.

Subject specific skills

  • Be able to write one-act and full-length scripts for stage, screen and beyond
  • Be able to adapt from a range of source material for stage, screen and beyond
  • Understand the dramaturgical processes underpinning script development
  • Develop skills in collaborative working required to initiate, plan and facilitate script development in a range of settings
  • Appreciate how to apply knowledge, practices, concepts and skills from other disciplines to your own scripts
  • Demonstrate a strong understanding of key practitioners and the rationale underpinning different approaches, practices and techniques employed in theatre, performance, film, television and radio and digital writing projects

Transferable skills

  • Make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate your conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences and implement tasks at a professional or equivalent level
  • Demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, doing research and making creative work
  • Exercise initiative, independence and personal responsibility
  • Use creative, innovative thinking and be able to transfer it to practice
  • Make decisions in complex and unpredictable situations

Associate Guest Artists

The MA in Playwriting and Adaptation: Stage, Screen and Beyond will provide opportunities to work with and learn from a number of professional playwrights, dramaturgs and other performance-based practitioners working in the entertainment industry through workshops, guest lectures, weekend intensives, project work and a summer writing residency. Guest artists may include:

Ola Animashawun: National Theatre Connections Dramaturg and co-founder and Creative Director of Euphoric Ink. He founded and ran the Royal Court Young Writers Programme and set up a nationwide writers’ programme, dedicated to finding and nurturing new BAME playwrights – Critical Mass.

Hajdana Baletic: screenwriter, playwright and novelist. Her plays were performed in Belgrade and London. Her work includes a script for a feature film, Take a Deep Breath and a 10-part TV series, Dug Moru. She has worked with Sky Atlantic, Canal+, Warp films, Fox Kids, RTS among others and is currently developing two TV series in Germany.

Tim Crouch: award-winning stage and TV writer, director and performer. His plays include My Arm, An Oak Tree, ENGLAND, The Author, Adler & Gibb, and I, Malvolio. His work has been translated into many different languages, and performed throughout the world.

Inua Ellams: Nigerian born award-winning poet, playwright and founder of the Midnight Run whose work focuses on recurring themes of identity, displacement and destiny. His books are published by Flipped Eye, Akashic, Nine Arches and Oberon.

Greg Homann: dramaturg, playwright, and leading South African director whose practice focuses on innovative forms in comedy and political theatre dealing with identity politics, prejudice, and lived experiences of the LGBTQI+ community.

Nancy Meckler: artistic director of Shared Experience, who has developed and directed many adaptations, including Anna Karenina and Mill on the Floss, and two feature films. She has also directed at the National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company.

Richard Shannon: playwright, director, educator with special expertise in radio drama. He was co-director of Independent Radio Drama Productions broadcasting on LBC Radio in London and National Public Radio in the USA; he also directed for BBC Radio 4.

Paul Sirrett: award-wining playwright and dramaturg with over twenty-five years’ experience as a workshop leader and lecturer at top UK theatre companies, universities and drama schools. Notable works include The Big Life, Reasons to be Cheerful, and Bad Blood Blues.

Katalin Trencsenyi: dramaturg and researcher who specializes in new dramaturgy and multi-modal play development. As an independent dramaturg, she has worked with the National Theatre, Royal Court Theatre, Soho Theatre, and has developed new work with companies such as Deafinitely Theatre.

Naomi Wallace: award-winning playwright whose plays, such as One Flea Spare, deal with provocative political issues. She has co-adapted novels for the stage, notably Returning to Haifa and The Corpse Washer. She is currently adapting the 1980’s rock song, 'Jack and Diane', into a book for John Mellencamp's new musical.

Louise Ann Wilson: artist and researcher who creates site-specific walking performances, films and installations, for example The Gathering/Yr Helfa with National Theatre of Wales on a sheep farm in Snowdonia. Wilson’s works address in/fertility, voluntary childlessness, terminal illness, ageing and other ‘missing’ or challenging life-events.

Minimum requirements You will have, or be expecting to obtain, a First or 2:i undergraduate degree from a UK university or an equivalent qualification from an overseas university. Your degree will normally be in an arts, humanities, media or social science-related subject. Alternative subject routes for entry are possible if you can demonstrate that you have suitable experience and aptitude in order to meet the range of demands of the course.

The University of Warwick operates an Equal Opportunities Policy and values Diversity; it welcomes applications from people of all backgrounds.

English Language requirements Band B
Overall IELTS (Academic) score of 7.0 and component scores

If English is not your first language you must demonstrate that you have oral and written fluency in English.

International Students
We welcome applications from students with other internationally recognised qualifications. For more information please visit the international entry requirements page.

For up-to-date information concerning fees, funding and scholarships for Home, EU and Overseas students please visit Warwick's Fees and Funding webpage.


In the academic year 2018/19, we awarded approximately £41 million in scholarship funding to postgraduate students. Warwick is also part of a number of prestigious government Scholarship schemes, including Chevening, Fulbright, Commonwealth and Marshall.

Additional course cost

Mandatory costs will include materials and printing for project assessment work at approximately £50 in total for the course. There may also be costs associated with travel to/from residencies (if these are offsite), shows and other engagements with professional practice up to £60. Purchase of a laptop computer, at approximately £400, is recommended.

The MA in Playwriting and Adaptation: Stage, Screen and Beyond offers a range of script writing and adaptation skills that will equip you to work in a range of professional environments including theatre, film, television, and radio. It also offers a range of transferable skills suitable for working in the creative industry and creative sectors more widely, including in advertising, marketing, the games industry. You will also have the opportunity to write for different media, venues and audiences — ranging from the mainstream in a variety of media to community and alternative settings.

The course is particularly suited to the following career trajectories:

  • Playwright for stage and other live performances
  • Writer for screen, radio and beyond
  • Playwright commissioned by special organisations and events (i.e. NHS, environmental groups, direct action campaigns, interactive exhibitions, and/ or performance installations in museums, etc.)

There are a number of different ways to visit the University of Warwick throughout the year. We host bespoke PG visits, where you can talk directly with your chosen department and explore our campus through a personalised tour. Some departments also host their own events and open days, where you can learn more about your department or course of study. To find out more about all of these opportunities, visit our Postgraduate Visits page.