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Coursework

Master of Writing for Performance

    • CRICOS Code: 075502B

    The experience

    Overview

    Student experience

    Having majored in English and Theatre studies and having already written two full-length plays, Kim Ho decided to apply for the Master of Writing for Performance to gain more control over his writing craft – and found himself in the surprising company of acrobats, musicians, and mining company employees.

    Why did you decide to apply for the Writing for Performance degree?

    After finishing my Bachelor of Arts, I felt I had developed my critical and analytical skills in theatre and film studies, so I was eager to develop the creative side of my writing. But after writing my second full-length play, I felt I didn’t have enough control over my craft. There are so many forms, styles and approaches to playwriting that I hadn’t explored, so I wanted to learn about them with professional supervision. I applied for the Writing for Performance degree because it offers guided but not prescriptive ways to develop your craft.

    What’s the cohort like?

    I’ve really enjoyed the course so far, and I think our cohort this year is excellent. We come from diverse backgrounds – and I don’t mean that culturally (although that too) – but we have actors, an acrobat, a musician, people who have worked for mining companies writing plays for their outreach programs, people who have worked in remote communities, people who are fresh out of uni, and published novelists. It’s really stretching the boundaries of who’s “allowed” to write a play, or who identifies as a playwright.

    I can imagine that such an intensive writing course could create an atmosphere which is very competitive, or even toxic. It’s not like that at all – now that we’re a few months in, the atmosphere that has settled into one where everyone’s really excited about everyone else’s work.

    What have been the highlights of the course?

    As a group, our favourite times are when we get to put our work in front of others, and just get to see what’s going on in their minds and in their processes. Over the past few months, we’ve seen people’s writing change dramatically.

    It’s also been great getting to work with the directors and dramaturgs from the other VCA courses [Master of Directing for Performance and Master of Dramaturgy]. The fact that the parallel degrees dip in and out with each other is really exciting.

    Who are your teachers?

    Raimondo Cortese takes weekly workshopping classes, but then we also have guest lecturers for our dramaturgy class, and playwrights coming in to give guest lectures. So far we’ve had Tom Holloway, Patricia Cornelius, Roslyn Oades, and Morgan Rose. It’s a really diverse group of artists, all with very different approaches.

    We’ve also had people come in to teach us different writing methodologies – screenwriting, musical theatre, and visual writing. Visual writing subordinates the text – performing really is a visual medium, so in visual writing you start from the image instead, kind of flipping the writing process on its head. All of these sessions have been super useful in broadening the definition of what writing means.

    Kim Ho, Master of Writing for Performance