Award: MA Drama Writing*, please note this course is subject to validation.

Locations: Bristol Old Vic Theatre School - Operating on two specialist teaching sites (Downside Road, main site and Christchurch Studios).

Awarding body: University of the West of England (UWE)

Students who complete the course successfully will receive a degree from the University of the West of England (UWE). The agreement between the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and the University of the West of England is reviewed every five years for developmental purposes and was last renewed in 2016.

Duration: 3 Terms – 38 weeks (full-time)

Academic year: Full-time course: 24th September 2018 – 12th July 2019

“All applications are made direct through UCAS Conservatoires.”

Course Fees Term Dates Policies & Procedures

Entry requirements

Normally, successful candidates will have a first degree. It is expected that candidates will have some demonstrated experience of writing which could be in a medium other than drama and now want to expand work into this medium. The course is also suitable for candidates who have been working in the drama industry and now wish to develop their writing skills.

Applicants will be interviewed by two members of staff, including the Head of Course or Artistic Director

Course overview

Students will be taught by experienced practitioners within a conservatoire setting, working with top industry professionals and alongside students on other course (acting, design, directing etc) and have your work explored in a practical setting.

Studying and developing your craft of writing within a drama school means that you will have the opportunity to see your work practically explored by actors, directors and other theatre makers.

This is a full-time course, but contact hours will normally be concentrated into two days a week (Thursday and Friday), with four ‘intensive weeks’ spread through the year. The Writers’ Hub is a dedicated space for teaching & learning, individual writing and for the group to programme activities.

It is expected that by the end of the course you will have developed a signature-script to be able to offer to producers, have a developed understanding of the demands of the different media (stage, screen, audio etc) and a sophisticated understanding of the industry.

A copy of the rules and regulations governing the course is available consult the BOVTS policies and procedures page.

Module Map

This module map provides a list of the modules that make up your course.

Each module is worth a specified number of credits: All modules are compulsory, enabling you to cover key subject knowledge while developing your own interests.

  • Module number: TBC - Module Name: The Dramatic Medium part 1, (Theatre)
  • Module number: TBC - Module Name: The Dramatic Medium part 2, (Writing for Recorded Media & Contemporary Developments in Creative Practice)
  • Module number: TBC - Module Name: The Writing Industry
  • Module number: TBC - Module Name: Writing A Signature Script

Optional Modules: There are no optional modules for this stage of this award.

Interim Award: There are no interim awards under this award scheme.

Award: MA Drama Writing

Credit requirements: MA – 180 credits

Teaching and Learning

The programme is practical and career focused.

Coaching/teaching practice takes place either within the School in tutorial or class settings; on student productions in professional theatres; or in other professional contexts outside the School.

The broad aims of the course are:

  • • To nurture your distinctive voice as a writer, building your assurance through your artistic practice.
  • • To develop your systematic understanding of dramatic writing as art, craft and business.
  • • To enhance your core competencies in dramatic writing; understanding and confidently using key elements of (but not limited to) structure, narrative architecture, genre, character, dialogue, action and dramatic devices.
  • • To enable you to explore the different demands of the various dramatic media (specifically stage, screen and radio/audio drama) and to practice using those skills with originality.
  • • To develop your professional practice, enhancing your practical and critical understanding of commissioning processes.
  • • To investigate the role of the writer within a range of models of work. E.g single-author signature script; catalyst and shaper in a devising process; team writing in serial drama (radio & TV); collaborating in teams creating musical theatre or animation.

Only eight students are accepted on to the course each academic year.

Students are expected to be engaged on the course for a minimum of 35 hours a week over 44 weeks; this is four terms of 11 weeks each. Contact hours will vary depending upon the module.

Academic and Student Support

As part of the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama (CDD), the School is committed to selecting, training and supporting students, regardless of ethnicity, gender, disability, age, sexual orientation or religion.

Applicants to CDD schools are chosen solely on the basis of their talent and potential to develop the skills required for their chosen profession. The School does, however, judge applicants on their suitability for a course and their potential to successfully complete the training, as the work is rigorous and requires high levels of energy and commitment.

Student Support on the programmes at the School covers a variety of areas such as support for disabled students, academic support, student finance and health and welfare.

Julia Heeley, Student Support Manager, is able to answer queries about support available for disabled applicants/students. Her email address is and she can also be reached by telephone on 0117 980 9247.

Our Academic and Student Support services team provides help in the following areas:

Support for students with disabilities including specific learning difficulties In our admissions process, we are committed to supporting students with disabilities.

Disabled students are encouraged to disclose their support requirements so that we can endeavour to meet them during the audition process and subsequent training.

The School welcomes all students regardless of disability. It is our aim to provide appropriate support so that all students are able to achieve their full potential.

Students with a disability will be provided with advice and support from the Student Support Manager. If you have a disability or specific learning difficulty we recommend you contact her either prior to starting your course or during your first few weeks at the School to discuss any support requirements you may have.

This may include support resulting from disabilities such as sensory impairment, learning difficulties such as dyslexia or dyspraxia or mental health difficulties.

We recognise that everyone is an individual and we will work with students to identify potential barriers to training and do what we can to remove those barriers. We will also make any necessary reasonable adjustments, to ensure that disabled students can train at the School.

Quickscan screening

At the School we put a great deal of emphasis on supporting students during their time with us.

We are aware that nationally there is a very high proportion of students with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs) e.g. dyslexia or dyspraxia, in institutions which specialise in art, design or the performing arts.

During your first week, the School encourages all students to take a short questionnaire known as QuickScan which has proved to be a useful piece of screening software for students and staff across the CDD Schools. It takes the form of an on-line, easy to navigate, questionnaire which will help to identify your learning style and specific areas of learning strengths and weaknesses. It is used in conjunction with other indicators, including student disclosure (as part of the interview and registration process), tutor feedback on practical and written work, and students expressing their concerns and any support requirements which may become apparent during their studies.

Disabled Student Allowance (DSA)

UK students with disabilities (including Specific Learning Difficulties and long-term Mental Health conditions) can apply for the Disabled Students Allowance (DSA)

DSA usually provides support for students with the specialist equipment and tools necessary to support you with your studies, including software, hardware and study skills support. Unlike a student loan, DSA does not have to be repaid. However, it is rarely awarded in the form of financial support.

Applications are made through, Student Finance England (SFE), Student Finance Wales (SFW), or Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS).

In order to apply for DSA, Student Finance will require evidence of any impairment or disability. This may take the form of a doctor’s or specialist’s letter or, more often, a report from an Educational Psychologist (Diagnostic Assessment Report).

If you require a Diagnostic Assessment from an Educational Psychologist, the Student Support Manager can arrange this for you and can guide you through the process.

Personal Academic Support

Various staff members at the School can help in different ways if you need academic support. If you need help with the content of classes or assessment work, you can ask the relevant head of course, tutor or your pastoral care tutor for an appointment or you can ask the Student Support Manager to arrange a tutorial with the relevant member of staff on your behalf. If you make an appointment, you can prepare for the meeting and discuss your concerns away from class. Heads of courses, modules leaders and individual tutors can all help you with understanding aspects of your training and can offer overall guidance or advice about your programme of study.

Study skills (including reading, note-taking and presentation skills)

Study skills support is usually arranged for students who have been awarded support through Disabled Student Allowance (DSA). However, the Student Support Manager will be happy to arrange one to one study skills support for you if deemed appropriate and necessary.

Mental Health And Wellbeing

Schools within the CDD recognise the challenges faced by students entering higher education and that training in a conservatoire institution can place great demands on a student both physically and emotionally. The CDD has published a leaflet aimed to help students identify signs of mental distress and where to go for support: click this text to go to the CDD website in a new tab


The School has a student therapy and counselling service,¬¬ which is organised and staffed by accredited, registered psychotherapists and counsellors and is there to help with any more deep-seated personal problems on which pastoral tutors are not qualified to advise. If students wish to have an initial assessment with a therapist or counsellor, they should contact the School’s Student Support Manager. A strict professional code of confidentiality is always maintained.

Student welfare and pastoral care

We actively encourage students to develop a pro-active and positive approach to their own ‘wellness’. We are preparing professionals to enter physically and mentally challenging professions and we work to enable students to sustain a physically and mentally healthy lifestyle.

Every student is assigned a pastoral tutor who monitors they progress throughout the year in addition to having access to the Student Support Manager. All students have tutorials with their head of course, head of year or allocated pastoral care tutor in which non-teaching issues can be discussed. A confidential tutorial can be requested of any member of the full-time teaching staff on your course.

In addition, BOVTS students have access to UWE’s Student Wellbeing Service, details of which can be found at:

click this text to go to the UWE Wellbeing website in a new tab UWE Wellbeing Service, 3F Reception, UWE, Frenchay Campus, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol, BS16 1QY Tel: +44 (0)117 32 86268 E-mail:

For further information on support which the School offers, please see the Guide to Student Support which can be found at: click this text to go to the guide in a new tab

You can also find additional information for disabled applicants and students at all Conservatoire for Dance and Drama affiliated Schools here: click this text to go to the CDD website in a new tab

Teaching staff

You will be taught by an experienced Head of Course plus a teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. The team includes Artistic Director (Jenny Stephens) and visiting specialist professional directors..

You can learn more about our staff by visiting our staff profiles Here


You will be assessed on coursework, including your signature script, practical assignments, a portfolio of other work and a short business plan.

Students are assessed on their professional practice on a pass or fail basis.

Judgements about students’ performance are made against the relevant professional standards.

The UWE qualifications are awarded as non-classified/nondifferentiated.

Fees and Funding

MA Drama Directing

Duration: 3 Terms - 38 weeks (full-time)

Fees 2018 Entry:

Tuition fees for EU/UK students on a 38 week (one year) course will be £10,650

Tuition fees for International (Non EU/UK) students on a 38 week (one year) course ) will be £22,800

(Full-time route only)

It is not possible to confirm fees for future academic years, as these are dependent on Teaching Excellence Framework outcomes, but the maximum increase in each year will not exceed the rate of inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

The following course-related costs are included in the fees:

Accommodation and living costs not included in the fees

Industry work placement – accommodation and travel expenses will be covered.

Sources of financial support

Details on funding options can be obtained from our Student Fees home page available here Please see the BOVTS fees page.

Bursaries, scholarships and prizes

The University also provides a number of scholarships and prizes for postgraduate students, which you may be eligible to apply for. There is also a Hardship Fund and bursaries offered by charitable trusts)

For students to be eligible for funding from Student Finance England, they must be studying on an eligible course at a provider registered with the Office for Students (OfS). The OfS is the new independent regulator for higher education in England and all higher education providers need to register with the OfS for their students to be eligible for student support in the 2019-20 academic year. The OfS will start publishing providers on its Register from July 2018. Bristol Old Vic Theatre School is a member of the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama. The Conservatoire has made an application to register and expect a decision by September 2018. No provider will be able to confirm whether student support is available until it has a decision from the OfS. Visit

How to Apply

To apply for entry to the MA Drama Writing programme in October 2018, you will need to use the UCAS Conservatoires.

To apply for this course please click here: click here to apply via the UCAS website in a new tab

Applications open on the 18th July 2018 and close on 28th February 2019.

Please note that UCAS Conservatoires is a different application system to UCAS Undergraduate.

Applying Through UCAS Conservatoires

Although UCAS Conservatoires (previously CUKAS) offers many advantages, it was originally designed to handle applications for music programmes at UK conservatoires and is in the process of being adapted to meet the needs of drama applicants.

We are working with UCAS Conservatoires and other drama schools to ensure this happens as quickly as possible but, in the meantime, you may find the following notes helpful.

Application Codes

  • The UCAS Conservatoires Institution Code for Bristol Old Vic Theatre School is B65
  • and the Course Code for MA Drama Writing programme is BDWR.

  • • When applying, you will be required to 'select an instrument', please select drama production for the MA Drama Writing programme.
  • • In your application, you will be asked for details of your 'practical/music referee'. This should be a reference written by your drama teacher / lecturer, Head of Department, or any other appropriate person who can comment on your production abilities.

The UCAS Conservatoires website will allow you to track the progress of your applications using a unique username and password. You will see details of audition dates and times as well as any decisions as they are posted.

You will find guidance on using this service at or you can contact the UCAS Conservatoires Customer Service Unit on +44 (0)871 468 0 470 (Monday to Friday, 08:30 and 18:00hrs).

Additional Guidance on How to Apply

Registration and Audition Fees

There is a one-off registration fee of £25 to register (for entry 2018) to use the service. The fee is payable through UCAS Conservatoires.

Personal Statements

We recommend that you pay particular attention to the information you provide in your personal statement on your application form in order to give us as full a picture as possible of your relevant experience and reasons for applying.

Application Dates

You can apply through UCAS Conservatoires from the 1 September 2017. The equal consideration deadline for applications is 15 January 2018. However our applications for this course will close on 28th February 2019.

If you have any further queries please contact the Admissions Department to discuss:

Deferred Entry

We are unable to consider applications for deferred entry.

Application regulations

  • We will only accept one application per applicant, per year.
  • We will not accept applications if you have previously applied in four or more consecutive years.
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Conservatoire for Dance and drama University of the West of England