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THEA441 Advanced Writing for the Stage and Screen

This course combines theory and practice to assist students while they write an original 75-90 minute play or screenplay.

THEA 441 Advanced Writing for the Stage and Screen gives students the opportunity to write a true full-length play or screenplay (75-90 minutes). While many students have written full-lengths for supervised independent projects, this new paper code will allow students to write at 400-level in a classroom setting, which has the great benefit of peer-support, workshopping, and a structured learning environment. Writing a one-act (in THEA 241) and a long one-act (in THEA 341) are excellent exercises, but true full-lengths (75+ minutes) are far more useful for real-world application: many theatre companies are primarily interested in play submissions that warrant a full night out of theatre.

Paper title Advanced Writing for the Stage and Screen
Paper code THEA441
Subject Theatre Studies
EFTS 0.1667
Points 20 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,206.91
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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72 300-level THEA points
THEA 341
With approval from the Programme Co-ordinator, the normal prerequisite may be waived for students with an equivalent level of knowledge.
Enrolments for this paper require departmental permission. View more information about departmental permission.

Amanda Faye Martin –
Dr Suzanne Little –

Teaching staff

Amanda Faye Martin – Playwriting Teaching Fellow

Paper Structure

THEA 341/441 meets for one lecture per week (one hour for THEA 341, two hours for THEA 441) and one tutorial per week (two hours for both papers). Lectures consist of discussions (about lecture topics and reading/watching materials), and writing exercises. THEA 441 students do additional reading/watching (of play/movie scripts), which are discussed in the additional lecture hour each week. Tutorials consist of workshopping student plays, where students have scenes read out loud and can ask questions, have questions asked of them/their work, and receive verbal feedback from the lecturer before submitting final versions of the scenes the next week. Three scenes are workshopped and then submitted before students submit their final plays. All students also workshop and submit a synopsis of their play/screenplay in the second half of the semester. Plays are due on the last day of the semester.


No textbooks. Plays provided or available in the library and bookshop.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised

Lifelong learning, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Research
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.

Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete the paper will be able to:

  • Read a script critically and provide constructive feedback
  • Have an advanced understanding of traditional dramatic structure
  • Have an understanding of alternative dramatic structures (how they are used, and why they are applied)
  • Have a broader idea of modern theatre in various countries, including New Zealand, in order to best create work that communicates with contemporary expectations and trends (through reading and discussion)
  • Write a full-length play or screenplay (75-90 minutes of material)

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Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 11:00-11:50 28-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Wednesday 10:00-11:50 28-34, 36-41