In this programme you will learn how to investigate and reflect on the dynamic ways in which theatrical and choreographic practices respond to a society in transition. This programme welcomes both Dutch and international students who are interested in dramaturgy, programming and curating, critical writing and art criticism, as well as arts professionals who wish to enrich their practice through academic research.
Contemporary performance practices are increasingly hybrid projects that approach and transcend the borders of theatre, dance, visual arts, music, media and daily life. Theatre and dance are inextricably linked with other media that shape our reality; they extend beyond the theatre’s walls and inject themselves into our daily lives. Theories and concepts derived from the performing arts are progressively deployed in cultural theory and (social) science. Such a field in transition demands an approach that studies theatre and dance as intermedial and interdisciplinary phenomena, and addresses the interrelationships of these phenomena, the audience and the socio-cultural context.
This dynamic is the focus of our Contemporary Theatre, Dance and Dramaturgy programme.
Our research focus areas include:
Fully taught in English, this Master’s programme takes an academic approach to contemporary performance. We closely collaborate with the field of theatre and dance in the Netherlands and Flanders, internationally regarded as the forerunners of the exciting new trends that emerge on the European stage. You will get acquainted with state-of-the-art theory yet we are also actively oriented towards the practice of theatre and dance. This is exemplified by the focus on dramaturgy, an internship in the second semester, and the many opportunities to meet with practitioners, build-in components within the programme and closely related to the staff’s expansive network.
Since the workfield is multifaceted and comprises both larger and smaller companies as well as public and private initiatives, many alumni combine various jobs - for instance, dramaturge and writer or programmer and artistic advisor.
The aim of the MA Contemporary Theatre and Performance course is to produce graduates who possess a systematic understanding and a critical and creative awareness of practice and theory at the forefront of the discipline.
During the course, you will critically evaluate the current practice and theories and apply a comprehensive range of techniques to develop your own work. You will develop an understanding of philosophies of performance and consider the ethical implications of performance practice. You will investigate a line of experimental performance practices that inform and define the discipline. You will be given opportunities to apply knowledge in original ways, for instance through a significant individual research project which can include a practical component.
The modules you will study include: Advanced Performance Making, Performance: Body, Space and Identity, Advanced Research Methods and Professional Practice.
You will receive support for your learning from: your personal tutor, the subject librarian, the Performing Arts technicians, the Drama department administrator, departmental careers support.
Learning activities in Drama will support your personal development, enable you to apply your learning to a range of different contexts, develop your understanding of how you might manage your future career, support your acquisition of subject-specific and generic skills, and help you to develop an understanding of how to deal with risk and uncertainty.
The course provides an opportunity to develop a specialism in contemporary performance, in both practice and theory. The choices open to you within modules will allow you to develop your own creative and academic voice across the course, but will also give you a firm grounding in the breadth of contemporary performance practice. A particular feature of the course is the integrated exploration of theory and practice.
We continue to develop state of the art facilities which will greatly enhance your learning experience.
Our state-of-the-art performing arts and learning centre; The Performance Hub is the home for all of our performance courses. The hub features two bespoke drama studios that are ideal for rehearsals and small performances. The studios feature audio/visual equipment and facilities for hanging lighting for performances.
"As a teacher it has given me more knowledge and practice which I have used in my own teaching practice as well as challenging my own perceptions of drama and performance". Lenny Love, Head of Drama and Theatre Studies at Cardinal Griffin Catholic College.
You could use the MA to develop your career as a teacher or lecturer, or as a youth/community worker. You could use your skills and knowledge as a performer, director, writer, or create your own small-scale touring theatre company. As a practitioner, you will have a deeper understanding of your craft and a qualification recognized by FE and HE establishments.
Those aiming to apply their skills in the heritage industry, probation service and/or personnel development will have acquired strategies and techniques appropriate to such applications. Schoolteachers will be qualified for posts in Further and Higher Education, in addition to gaining a qualification to enhance their prospects in their current institutional base. Freelance artists will have additional skills and techniques to offer in the arena of arts projects in schools, theatre educational outreach work and community arts.
You could continue your academic studies by progressing on to a PhD. You could go on to train to teach, through either a PGCE course or a Graduate Training Scheme, or study a vocational course in, for example, dramatherapy.
At the end of this course you'll be able to:
1. demonstrate a systematic understanding of the field of drama, and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights at the forefront of the academic discipline
2. apply a comprehensive range of techniques relevant to their own research, scholarship and practice
3. apply knowledge in original ways, together with an understanding of how established techniques of research and practice are used to create and interpret knowledge in the discipline
4. evaluate critically current practice, research and advanced scholarship in drama
5. deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences
6. demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional or equivalent level
This Masters programme engages with a range of theatre and performance practices, explored in a critically informed context. The programme encompasses practices such as contemporary devising and production dramaturgy, writing for performance, site-specific and locational performance, autobiographical performance, physical theatre(s) and socially/politically engaged practice. You will be encouraged to develop a reflective, rigorous and critically informed approach to theatre practice, with the intention of enriching and enhancing your creative work and furthering your career as a theatre/performance practitioner. You will be taught by leading academics as well as external professional practitioners.
The programme is designed to give you a practical and critical engagement with many forms of theatre and performance practice.
You will take core courses and create a portfolio of optional courses according to your personal interests and perceived needs. You can also select some courses from across the College of Arts, enabling an interdisciplinary approach.
The programme concludes with an independent research project. This provides you with a degree of flexibility in relation to the focus of your advanced study. It permits further applied practice or the opportunity to undertake an in-depth written study on an area of your choice.
This programme is ideal for practitioners who want to develop their practice; graduates who are planning a career in theatre making; and those who want to look more in depth into aspects of theatre practice they have enjoyed and benefitted from through undergraduate studies. The programme also provides an excellent foundation for PhD studies and an academic career.
This Masters programme engages with a wide variety of histories and practices attached to the study of theatre. It is designed to enable you to become proficient in the techniques of historical, sociological and theoretical analysis of the theatrical process, past and present. A key strength of this programme is its flexibility, which enables you to create a portfolio of courses based on your individual needs and interests. You will be taught by leading academics as well as external professional practitioners.
The programme is mostly comprised of optional courses, enabling you to create your own Masters programme. It also allows you to work in an interdisciplinary capacity, selecting courses from across the College of Arts, according to personal interests. The programme convenor will work with you to ensure a sensible portfolio of courses is constructed, according to your personal aims and objectives.
Core teaching is delivered in two semesters, followed by an independent desk- or practice-based project. The Independent Research Project provides an opportunity for you to identify an area of interest and to create a research project that allows in-depth critical exploration of this.
You will undertake five optional courses which you will select from a pool of courses. Optional courses are updated each year, but may include:
By the end of this programme you will have developed knowledge of a range of issues pertinent to the study of theatre, including historical, contemporary, theoretical and practical. This programme will allow you to develop a wide range of subject knowledge combined with confidence in utilising different research methodologies.
This programme examines the nature and function of the theatrical event and theatre culture from a range of critical, historical and practical perspectives. It prepares you for a wide range of careers closely connected to theatre provision and production.
The programme's critical components also provide a good foundation for those wishing to progress to doctoral study.
The MA Contemporary Performance Practice is a practical, interdisciplinary course that will introduce you to a range of approaches and concepts, which are vital to the making of live performance in and in response to the world today. It will equip you with the skills and knowledge to function in contemporary performance environments, as a performer, maker, collaborative practitioner and researcher.
Drawing upon the excellent facilities for making live performance at New Adelphi and MediaCityUK, this course also provides the entrepreneurial and employability skills you need to function as a practitioner in the wider creative industries.
This course will also allow you to extend and develop skill sets through interdisciplinary exchange and collaboration, mirroring working environments within the creative industries. You will develop the ability to think dynamically, act originally, collaborate and function effectively in creative workplaces, integrating theoretical concepts, creative practice and real world skills.
You will also, through the core modules and final project, develop your own contemporary performance practice, culminating in the presentation of a significant piece of work, which you can then go on to use in professional contexts.
MA Contemporary Performance Practice offers you the opportunity to develop and refine your current practices, learn about new skills and approaches and engage with the issues most relevant to making performance in the world now.
Through the course you will:
From the outset, you will work in an interdisciplinary fashion. Your induction will include a creative collaborative project, that will acclimatise you to the ways of working on the programme and other students.
Programme modules are delivered through practical workshops, keynote lectures, seminars, and artist-led residencies. Seminars and student-centred symposia initiate independent work, and foster and facilitate collaborative partnerships and small group work. Adaptability of graduates is considered a core vocational outcome that reflects the hybridity of global culture and is an essential strategy for learning on the programme.
The programme fosters an intensive laboratory research culture intended to explore practice, deconstruct ideas, identify needs and skillsets and apply acquired knowledge to the construction of new modes of practice. At the core of this culture is the encouragement to consistently triangulate theory and reflection with personal practice. Philosophically the programme embraces diversity, innovation and accessibility through these student-centred approaches.
Assessment is via a balanced combination of formative and summative opportunities for each module, which promotes and responds to a fluid and processual development of your practice. Formal opportunities to write are combined with oral presentations, a range of performance outcomes and online portfolios.
You will be assessed through:
Digital Performance Lab at MediaCity UK.
Theatre, studio and specialist rehearsal spaces and acting studios at New Adelphi.
Graduates will be able to work in a range of environments from the cultural sector to future media, interactive design and production, small scale touring, venue based and independent production, theatre-making, performing and writing, community arts practices and applied theatre-making with defined sectors.
People who work in the field of contemporary performance are able to work across a wide range of applied areas of creative design and application. This ranges from traditional arts settings to the fields of interactive design, new media production and, as the use of digitally driven interfaces increases, into more commercially driven areas of work. Contemporary performance experts can have a broad set of skills from devising and composition, to technical design, production management, programming, script-development, video editing and post-production skills.
Potential employers include arts venues and organisations, educational providers and film companies. Skills employed in the making of contemporary performance, such as independent and collaborative problem solving, gathering and synthesis of elements, understanding and integration of the needs of a range of stakeholders, can be used to address many areas of creative practice. Graduates will also be equipped through the programme to pursue careers as individual, self-employed practitioners working across forms and disciplines.
The programme has links with the following organisations and begins each year with a creative intensive, led by a key contemporary performance practitioner:
Graduates of this programme will be well prepared, through its mix of theoretical and practical research, to pursue practice based MPhils/PhDs, which will build on and develop further practices established within the MA.
The MA Creative Enterprise allows you to combine your passion for the arts with studies in law, management and entrepreneurship. On the theatre pathway, you’ll explore theatre practice and its critical contexts, learn about the importance of programming and curating in the contemporary theatre landscape, and deepen your understanding of industry trends and practices.
This MA programme is a collaboration, taught by three world-renowned schools at the University of Reading – the School of Arts and Communication Design, Henley Business School and the School of Law. You will be based in the department of Film, Theatre and Television, situated at the heart of the University’s Whiteknights campus.
The theatre pathway is ideal if you are hoping to develop a career in arts journalism, theatre management and administration, entrepreneurial projects in theatre and the creative industries, or arts teaching and research. Our students are encouraged to make the most of our excellent connections to the creative industries right from the start of the course.
You will join a vibrant, supportive department, based in the world-class Minghella Studios. Our teaching is informed by expertise in a range of contemporary-theatre themes, and our community of academic staff has a longstanding commitment to scholarly excellence and research through practice.
While studying on the theatre pathway, you will also benefit from working alongside students on other Creative Enterprise pathways (such as Film and Art), opening up even more opportunities for you to build connections, and to enrich your understanding of the creative industries.
Modules on the MA Creative Enterprise (Theatre Pathway) may include:
Please note that all modules are subject to change.
The MA Creative Enterprise is designed to improve the skills and employability of people passionate about the arts. Graduates of the programme will be in a strong position to pursue start-up opportunities on their own, take managerial roles in the creative sector, or embark on further scholarly research into the arts and creative industries.