Scriptwriting

Find out more

Send me updates

Simply enter your details to receive information from Bath Spa University.
Your Information

The information you provide may be used by Bath Spa University to contact you about the University, courses and events which may be of interest to you. Please note your information will not be shared with other organisations apart from those acting as agents on behalf of Bath Spa University. Bath Spa University complies with the Data Protection Act 1998.

Bath Spa University’s Privacy Policy.

If you have any queries relating to Bath Spa University’s data protection practices please contact our Data Protection Officer: data-protection@bathspa.ac.uk

How to Apply

An intensive, practical course designed to produce professional writers and compelling scripts.

  • Weekend workshops at Corsham Court campus.
  • Taught by acclaimed industry professionals – working practitioners who continue to love what they do.
  • Practical project leading to a showcase presentation.

“I finished three full scripts during my MA, and have seen my work performed in an international theatre festival, in regional theatres, in a pub cellar, and online.”
– Kirsten Stoddart, MA Scriptwriting 2013

Why study Scriptwriting?

Take your writing to the highest level, and develop clear strategies for professional success. With a combination of expert guidance and peer-group workshopping, we encourage you to develop your unique voice while meeting the demands of a highly competitive industry.

We cover all media, including theatre, radio, film and television, and offer extensive training in professional skills. By the end of the course, you’ll have a comprehensive portfolio of original work, a finished script to professional standards, industry connections and a fully realised showcase presentation.

Course structure

You’ll hone your writing for performance skills, while also acquiring the necessary professional knowledge needed to negotiate the industry.

Alongside completing a minimum of three polished scripts for theatre, radio and TV/film, you’ll meet scriptwriting agents and industry specialists and learn how best to pitch your work in a highly competitive field.

We recognise the importance of equipping you, as a scriptwriter, with the knowledge of how to produce your work. You’ll have the opportunity to record your own radio plays, stage your theatre pieces and shoot and edit your TV/Film projects within our supportive environment.

Modules

  • Craft
    The key components, including structure, characterisation, visual storytelling and dialogue.

  • Writing for Theatre and Radio
    A comprehensive guide to writing for these important media. You’ll prepare a script for each.

  • Professional Skills
    Develop your professional writing career. Learn to prepare proposal documents, to pitch ideas, and to make connections in the industry.

  • Screenwriting
    An in-depth course in writing for film and television. You’ll prepare a single script for either medium.

  • Showcase Presentation
    Write and produce a finished 15 minute piece in any narrative media (radio, short film, theatre), for public presentation.

  • Final Script
    Prepare a calling card script in the medium of your choice, taken to the highest professional standard.

Course assessment

You’ll be assessed by coursework and practical presentation. In the first two trimesters work will be assessed as work in progress. Your final assessment is based on three assignments: a final script (60%); a practical realisation of your work (30%); and a pitch (10%).

Lecture series

You’ll be able to attend relevant seminars and lectures at Corsham Court and Newton Park. The 2015/16 lecture series included presentations by Lord Puttnam and leading story developers from Pixar and the BBC.

Teaching methods

The course is modular and can be undertaken as either full or part-time study. Part-time students take the Dramatic Structure and Writing for the Screen modules in their first year and Theatre and Radio, Professional Skills and Final Script in their second year.

Modules are taught over three weekends of intensive tutor-led workshops.
In the Professional Skills module, a tutor will guide you through the workshops while also introducing a range of visiting guest speakers, script editors, producers and agents.

Tutors and Visiting Professionals

All of our tutors are writers working in the industry. Among those working on the course will be:

  • Ursula Rani Sarma (Course Director):
    Ursula is an award winning writer for Theatre, Radio, TV and Film. Her plays include The Dark Things, Blue, The Spider Men, The Magic Tree, ...touched..., Orpheus Road, RIOT, The Ripple Effect and Yerma. Her Radio Drama includes Car Four, A Tiny Light in the Darkness and The Fisherman. Her TV writing includes Ecosse Film's RAW for RTE from 2009-2012. Her film work includes Anywhere But Here, The Woods and The Trial.  
  • Robin Mukherjee:
    Robin is an award winning writer for theatre, television and film. His film work includes Swara Mandel and Lore (Australian Writers Guild Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, and Australia’s official entry for the 2012 American Academy Awards.) His writing for TV includes The Bill, Casualty, Eastenders, The Royal, Medics, Boon, Backup, Harry, Where The Heart Is and Combat Kids, a three part original serial for CBBC, produced by Lime Pictures was nominated for a BAFTA in the category of Best Children’s Drama in 2011.  
  • Christopher William Hill:
    Christopher is an award winning writer for theatre, radio and he is also a published novelist. His work for theatre includes Mister Holgado, Exotic Tastes, Heartbreak Beautiful, Inglorious Technicolour and Multiplex. His Radio Drama includes Angarrack, Fact to Fiction, Marmalade for Comrade Philby, Says on the Tim, and Tomorrow, Today. 
  • Hattie Naylor:
    Hattie is an award winning writer for theatre, radio and opera. Her plays include Ivan and the Dogs, Bluebeard, Going Dark, Comfort, Mother Savage, The Country of the Blind and The Odyssey. Her opera work includes The 
    Overcoat, Piccard in Space
    and Odysseus Unwound.  
  • Tanya Nash:
    Tanya is a script editor and producer for TV and Radio Drama. She was a producer in the radio drama department of the BBC for ten years, working in Wales, Northern Ireland and Birmingham. She produced a wide variety of drama including Holby City and Eastenders.

Application method

Application forms are available online and should be completed and returned to us either electronically or through the post. If you have any queries please contact the admissions department:

Telephone: (01225) 875624.

International students should visit our international pages for more information about our entry requirements, fees and scholarships, and student support.

Course enquiries

Please contact course director Ursula Rani Sarma:

Telephone: (01225) 876358.

Entry requirements

Most students accepted onto the course will have either an undergraduate degree or a thorough professional training in acting, theatre, television, or film. Some students, however, will be accepted on the basis of equivalent life experience. Applicants are asked to submit a twenty page script sample with their application form written for any medium. 

Get Ahead

Start reading and viewing. Keep a notebook. Bring your ideas and enthusiasm.

Career opportunities

Many of our graduates succeed with their career goals. Some have careers as professional Scriptwriters while others work in script editing, theatre and film criticism or education.

Our students have gone on to have their work produced and some have even managed to do this while still completing their MA. Others have found work within the script departments of TV/film and theatre companies while others work as script readers, theatre/film reviewers and as creative writing tutors.

Success stories

  • Cannes Film Festival – Brittany McComas’s short film was accepted for the Cannes Film Festival 2016.
  • Plymouth Theatre Royal – Oliver Gamblin had his short play 'Gone Fishing', selected to be produced as part of Plymouth Fringe Festival.
  • New Venture Theatre – Stephen Connolly was one of eight winners of the New Ventures 10 minute play competition.
  • Channel 4 – Tom Parfitt was selected as one of 12 successful writers now included in a young writer's ‘pool’ at Hollyoaks.
  • Edinburgh Fringe – Richard Sheridan’s play ‘Odd Shaped Balls’ received 5 star reviews and was placed in 18th place in the ranking of over 1200 shows at the fringe in 2014.
  • Glastonbury Five Day Film Challenge – Rachel Whitelock a graduate in MA Scriptwriting won Best Film, Best Script and People's Choice in the Glastonbury Five Day Film Challenge. Rachel wrote and directed the short film ‘Toast’.

What students say...

In our first class on the MA Scriptwriting, we were asked what one thing we wanted to get out of the course. My answer was, "I want to learn how to finish a script!" Well, I finished three full scripts during my MA, and have seen my work performed in an international theatre festival, in regional theatres, in a pub cellar, and online. I have learned the art of discipline in writing, and found the group feedback sessions particularly rewarding. I consider myself lucky to have worked and learned with a talented group of writers and supportive tutors.

Kirsten Stoddart, MA Scriptwriting 2013

I chose to do my MA in Scriptwriting at Bath Spa University because it offered a module in Professional Skills. That’s what makes it stand out from the other courses offered around the country. Being made to pitch to a range of industry professionals and developing a personal network of contacts for the assignment was a nerve-wracking experience but terrific preparation for a career in scriptwriting. Since finishing the course, that network of contacts has been vital in launching my career. Let’s face it, it’s a tough world for a new scriptwriter and no matter how good your writing, you’ve got to be able to force your way into the market to get your work recognised. The MA helped me to develop three good scripts which I’ve been able to use as calling cards with theatre and television companies. I was very anxious about the MA Showcase Event, as producing my work was way out of my comfort zone. I’d much rather be closeted away in my garret with my characters. But what you get out of the MA depends on how hard you’re prepared to work. I used the experience as a way of experimenting with self production and a safe place to make my mistakes. It paid off because as a direct result of the event, I was invited to produce my work at The Bierkeller Theatre in Bristol and was commissioned to write Trail End which was performed in Cardiff and funded by National Theatre Wales. My MA final piece, Guilt, was shortlisted for the Theatre24:7 Festival and nominated by The Writers Guild of Great Britain as a ‘Play of Promise’. They organised a rehearsed reading at the Leicester Square Theatre which was very exciting and helped broaden my network of industry professionals. The MA Scriptwriting at Bath Spa is a tough course. It’s exhausting. But if you want to make it as a scriptwriter you’ve got to have the motivation and determination to see it through. It’s worth it when you see your work coming alive on the stage. I’ve been guest lecturing in scriptwriting at my local university which I’ve really enjoyed and I’m writing theatre reviews for the Wales Arts Review which helps me to keep up-to-date with what’s happening in the industry. This summer I’m developing a play for an open-air performance tour. It’s a new experience for me, but doing the MA taught me to take risks and explore new ventures. It’s exciting. www.Juliebainbridge.com

Julie Bainbridge, MA Scriptwriting 2013

Before coming to Bath Spa I was a professional actor and singer. I recorded in Nashville TN, and I even worked for Disney. I have a BFA in Theatre from West Virginia University. After an independent study in the U.S. with playwright Frank Gagliano, I thought Bath Spa to be the perfect place to further my education in scriptwriting.

Bath Spa is one of the most beautiful places on earth. The faculty and administration made me feel at home here, and I knew I would receive a well rounded education in Scriptwriting. The tutors are amazing, and they don't spoon feed you. In the industry of writing, you can't expect jobs to fall in your lap. The course has taught me to make contacts and to go out and find everything I am looking for. Thus far it has already helped my career in ways that I never thought possible.

Bath Spa offers an immense selection of things to do when you are not studying; from donating a day on the weekend to charity; participating in the Bath festivals; to sports; the Students' Union nights; or filming a television series with industry professionals. I loved every minute I spent at Bath Spa.

Brittany McComas, MA Scriptwriting 2009.

 I chose the course because of my passion for writing scripts, the calibre of teaching at Bath Spa and to enhance my career prospects. I would say that one of the best things about it was meeting professional industry workers because this has enabled me to start networking. I have also enjoyed the opportunity to produce completed pieces of work that I can use as a calling card once I leave Bath Spa. I also studied my undergraduate degree at Bath Spa, achieving a 2:1 in Creative Writing and Drama Studies. I became impressed with my development as a writer over the three years.

The teaching environment and the way that students are encouraged as writers by the lecturers to get their work out into the real world is fantastic. Since finishing the course I have self published a book and now work as a freelance copywriter and English tutor. The MA has given me the ability and confidence to believe in my own work. The contacts I have made are invaluable as is the understanding and knowledge I now have of working in the film, theatre and television industry. I would encourage anyone who has a passion for creative writing to come to Bath Spa, regardless of age.

Gemma Middleton, MA Scriptwriting 2008.