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Russell Group first as Manchester offers new MA Screenwriting programme

20 Feb 2015

Our Centre for New Writing has announced the launch of a ground-breaking new programme designed to equip emerging screenwriting talent with the practical skills required to succeed in the UK film and television industry

The MA Screenwriting programme will admit no more than 12 students per year. Students will be taught through a rigorous combination of workshops, seminars, and one-to-one meetings with tutors and visiting professionals. Successful applicants will also have the chance to gain hands-on industry experience through structured internship programmes with leading production companies including Red Productions (Last Tango in Halifax, Queer as Folk), Hammer Films (The Woman in Black, Let Me In) and BBC Films (Billy Elliot, Philomena).

The new taught Masters programme is the brainchild of Professor of Creative Writing and celebrated author Jeanette Winterson and Professor Tanya Seghatchian - a leading UK film producer and former Head of Development for the UK Film Council whose credits include the phenomenally successful Harry Potter series. It is the first programme of its kind offered by a Russell Group university and has attracted an enviable list of experienced writers and producers to the advisory board, including Russell T Davies, Tony Garnett and Abi Morgan.

Speaking about the launch of the new Manchester-based programme, Russell T Davies, Advisory Board Member said: “Manchester taught me how to write. These streets rattle with stories and songs and dark, brilliant jokes. I came here, at the age of 24, determined to meet writers, and to learn from them. And that’s never stopped!”

Advisory Board Member, Abi Morgan said: “They say you can’t teach writing. But every writer needs space to write. The courses I have done have given me the time and affirmation I need to call myself a writer. The rest, as Hemingway said, is ’to sit down at a typewriter and bleed’. I can’t think of a better place to do it than in Manchester - which has produced some of the great writers of our time: Elizabeth Gaskell, Anthony Burgess, Shelagh Delaney, Robert Bolt, Jeanette Winterson, Russell T Davies, Jack Rosenthal, Paul Abbot to name but a few.”

Jeanette Winterson will talk about the new programme during the Centre's next “In Conversation” event, at which she will be joined by Oscar- and BAFTA-nominated screenwriter Patrick Marber. The event will take place at Cornerhouse at 4pm on Sunday, 1 March.

Marber’s award winning work for stage and screen includes numerous celebrated plays and adaptations including Closer, Notes on a Scandal and recent big-screen phenomenon Fifty Shades of Grey.