Writing for Performance, BA

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3 years full-time, October start


Institution code: C35, Course code: W470


Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Contemporary Performance Practice

About the course

On the Writing for Performance course, you can: 

  • Develop skills for writing for performance practices 
  • Create new performance work and explore innovative forms of writing for solo performance, verbatim theatre and devised theatre 
  • Work with award-winning playwrights, arts practitioners and directors 
  • Position yourself as a writer within the performance process 
  • Explore a broad curriculum that is centred around socially engaged performance practices and the dramaturgical skills of writing 
  • Develop your writing skills in different community contexts in the UK and abroad 
  • Study alongside students on the BA DATE and BA Performance Arts programmes, offering a vibrant meshing of writing and live performance art at undergraduate level at Central.  

You will work with a variety of high profile writers, arts practitioners and directors, encountering a diverse range of innovative performance practices that use writing for performance in different ways.  


Commencing with an exploration of classical dramaturgical approaches to writing and moving on to explore practices such as stand-up comedy, writing for communities and solo performance, you critically interrogate the role of the writer within the creative process. You will examine how this is historically constructed and how it changes in different eras and within different performance contexts.  

Through an engagement with a series of practical writing projects, you will learn about different genres of writing for performance, exploring areas such as collaborative approaches to writing, political theatre, verbatim and testimonial theatre, and writing for live art and digital media.  


A key component of the course is an emphasis on collaboration leading to engagement with many performance practices. You will work with key practitioners and writers within the field of theatre, drama and performance and with diverse participant groups and communities. You will have the opportunity to participate and create projects in collaboration with other students and explore the role of the writer within different community-specific creative projects.


Central works closely with major organisations internationally and in the UK and has formed partnerships with professional new writing organisations and many innovative and cutting-edge practitioners and writers. Organisations include the Royal Court Theatre, National Theatre, Headlong, York Theatre Royal, Clean Break, Shakespeare’s Globe, Talawa Theatre Company and London Bubble Theatre Company, as well as community based theatre organisations such as Scene and Heard, Little Fish Theatre Company and Apples and Snakes. 

Leverhulme Funding for Applied Theatre students

Find out more about how The Leverhulme Trust is providing major funding for the many exciting Applied Theatre student projects .

Interested in applying for 2020?

You can still apply for this course and be considered through UCAS despite them classing your application as 'late'. You can also register your interest in 2020 entry here and our Admissions Team will then contact you about interview options and further details. 

Course Detail

Throughout the three years of study, you will encounter a wide range of learning and teaching styles and engage with learning through practical workshops and theatre making, as well as lectures and seminars.

YEAR 1: Exploring concepts and ideas 

  • Explore concepts and ideas relating to writing for performance and applied theatre through a lecture programme and practical workshops.  
  • You are introduced to playwriting and the role of the writer in devised performance contexts, undertaking the practical study of writing for performance and the critical study of contemporary theatre.  
  • Many units include a strong practical element where you will work as writers and creators, specifically in term three where, currently, students create and participate in a major devised performance practice spread over the entire summer term.  

YEAR 2: Workshops/masterclasses/study units 

  • You will engage with professional playwrights and theatre makers and produce a short extract of script to be presented at a rehearsed reading and a piece of solo performance.  
  • Further lecture programmes are based around writing for performance, playtexts and the role of drama as a force for change in contemporary society.  
  • You will experience the role of the writer in an applied theatre context through study units and a collaborative outreach project, working in a group creatively in London or beyond, including overseas.  
  • You may develop your writing practice by sharing optional units with the Performance Arts course.  

YEAR 3: Focus on professional development 

  • You will pursue your own specialist interests further.
  • Units include a dissertation, a writing project where you will be placed as a writer within a community context and a final student-led performance and writing-focused practical project.  
  • The degree concludes with a specialist lecture series delivered by artists, academics and researchers, who are pioneers in the field of drama, theatre, performance and applied theatre. 


Assessment methods used include presentations, practice, drama and writing workshops, research projects, traditional essays, a dissertation and the creation of new writing, some of which will be viewed by professionals working in the industry. 

Download BA Writing for Performance Programme Specification 2019-2020.pdf (1.27 MB)

Entry Requirements and Admissions

Minimum Entry Requirements

Our standard academic entry requirements range between 120 and 96 UCAS tariff points. You can see how many tariff points your qualifications would gain on the UCAS Tariff Calculator. International qualifications and others not covered within the UCAS tariff can also be accepted. Please email us if you need further clarification.

Please note that we may make lower offers (including unconditional) to exceptional candidates and those who have alternative or prior experience to offer. All candidates are invited to interview, which is a key factor in determining who is accepted on to the course.


For details of admission with academic credit see Undergraduate Applications.

Application Details

We look for these qualities in applicants:

  • an interest in theatre and performance in different social and cultural settings (e.g. community theatre and theatre in prisons)
  • good academic abilities in reading, analysis and writing
  • an enquiring mind
  • a collaborative, supportive approach to practical work
  • practical drama skills (e.g. in performance)
  • the ability to reflect constructively
  • a commitment to equality of opportunity in society
  • leadership skills
  • creativity, flexibility, focus and professional conduct.

We particularly encourage applications from groups currently under-represented in higher education, such as students with disabilities and members of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups. Find out more information on Central’s commitment to equality and diversity.


Find out more about the interview process for this course.

International Interviews

Each year Central hosts a number of interviews outside of the UK, with a team of tutors from Central travelling to meet applicants. The international interviews are designed to replicate the London-based interview experience in every aspect (other than a tour of our site!). See our Event Finder for listings of upcoming interview locations and dates.

International Students

Visit the International Students section to view details of English language requirements for Central's courses.

Industry & Placements

Throughout the degree students have the opportunity to work in collaboration with industry professionals, from visiting lecturers, professional playwrights and workshops by leading practitioners and academics in the field of theatre and performance, to creating projects and performances with professional companies and artists.  

The pathway nurtures relationships with local, national and international community and educational arts organisations, from Rewrite in south London (which uses drama to bring young people together and support young people for whom English is an additional language) to SNEHA in Mumbai (an NGO supporting mothers and children across India).  

Your experience with industry will vary from masterclasses with some of the country’s leading theatre practitioners and playwrights, to interaction with small scale, innovative companies.

Professional companies are invited to create new practice with you, either on-site at Central, on tour in various parts of the UK, or at off-site theatre venues and performance spaces.  
For example, in previous years, students have worked with a number of different theatre companies at the Minack Theatre Cornwall, including Cartoon de Salvo and Twisting Yarn.

Students have also participated in staff-led research projects and workshops led by artists from companies such as Graeae Theatre Company, Theatre Company Blah Blah Blah, Ice and Fire Theatre Company, Punchdrunk Theatre Company, National Theatre and the Royal Court Theatre.  

All students participating in placements will be required to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. This is a mandatory government safeguarding scheme for all those seeking to work in any capacity with minors or vulnerable adults.

Recent Visiting Professionals

Alecky Blythe, Playwright (London Road), Rachel De-lahay, Playwright (The Westbridge, Routes), Bola Agbaje, Playwright (Gone Too Far!, Off The Endz), Tanika Gupta MBE (The Waiting Room, Sugar Mummies), Ola Animashawun, Artistic Associate, Royal Court Theatre, Professor James Thompson, author (Performance Affects), Professor Helen Nicholson, author (Applied Drama: The Gift Of Theatre), Jenny Sealey MBE, Artistic Director, Graeae Theatre Company, Rob Watt, Youth Programme Manager, National Theatre, Peter Higgin, Enrichment Officer, Punchdrunk Theatre Company, Terry O’Leary, Associate Artist, Cardboard Citizens.

Staff on the Course

Dr Amanda Stuart Fisher, BA, PGCE, MA, PHD

Reader in Contemporary Theatre and Performance, Course Leader Writing for Performance

Farokh Soltani

Lecturer in Writing for Broadcast Media and Performance

Duška Radosavljević, BA, PhD, PGCHE, FHEA

Reader in Contemporary Theatre and Performance
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