Our unique Creative Practices and Direction programme will develop your creative-practice and leadership skills through engagement with practice-oriented theory and new collaborations.
As a student of this programme, you will develop strong relationships with active professionals in your discipline and learn within a leading theatrical conservatoire that benefits from the intellectual stimulus of a major research-led university.
This unique programme is aimed at creative producers and directors and those who train and work with actors and performers to develop and direct their skills.
The programme offers three specialist pathways, including choreography and movement direction, directing, musical theatre creation, and you will also have the opportunity to develop a specialist practice within your chosen pathway.
The programme is primarily designed for graduates in drama, theatre and dance from universities and conservatoires, but will also appeal to those who have established themselves professionally and wish to refresh their skills and perspectives and take on leadership, coaching, creative or directing roles.
This programme is studied full-time over one academic year and part-time over two academic years. It consists of eight taught modules and an Advanced Creative Practice module.
Students enter the MA Creative Practices and Direction to a specified pathway, personally supervised by their pathway leader, an expert in the subject area.
Example module listing
The following modules are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.
Movement Direction and Choreography pathway
Students on this pathway follow and practically investigate a number of techniques and ideas dealing with onstage physicality.
The focus is also on the development of movement language, through the investigation of the ideas and practices of seminal dance-based ideas (Laban, Bausch, Cunningham, Fosse, Graham, Horton, etc.) and methods for working with music and sound.
This programme is a practice-led pathway incorporating methodologies and techniques that focus on approaches to theatre directing, dramaturgy, collaboration with other practitioners.
Musical Theatre Creation pathway
This pathway is designed for those who wish to study writing, and creative roles specifically in Musical Theatre. These might be as a director, choreographer, composer, librettist, musical director or creative producer.
Educational aims of the programme
The School of Arts facilities include the 200-seat theatre in the Ivy Arts Centre, dark and light studios, digital creation stations and editing facilities, scenic, props and costume workshops, and interconnected sound recording and music facilities.
Teaching and workshop activity takes place largely in GSA’s dedicated rehearsal rooms, performance studios and design workshops. Lectures, presentations and seminars will occur in rooms across campus.
The University Library contains the majority of set texts, key journals, scripts, play texts and video materials necessary for the programme. Students have access to extensive facilities through the virtual learning environment, SurreyLearn, and IT Services.
Additional support is available in the Learning Resource Centre in the University Library.
Equipment is provided on a project-by-project basis according to the nature of the work in hand and the parameters of the project, which are negotiated with the tutor.
Facilities and equipment for production work will be booked by students according to specific project briefings and advertised resource parameters.
Academic support is provided by way of ongoing contact with the programme director and module leaders, group briefings and feedback, individual tutorials, and mentoring.
The programme makes use of a peer feedback system designed to provide a useful and supportive account of areas of strength and effectiveness, along with areas for improvement.
You are encouraged to identify personal learning and creative objectives that can be pursued in alignment with group project work.
The School of Arts includes study in dance, digital arts, film, music, sound and theatre, with research activity in all areas, often with significant interdisciplinary connections.
With an integrated approach that comprises documentation, analysis and performance, Surrey’s agenda for research aims to engage critically with the past and present, while rigorously articulating new frameworks for understanding and practising the arts and culture in the twenty-first century.
Research infrastructure includes the Digital World Research Centre and the Laban Archive in the National Resource Centre for Dance (NRCD).
The School of Arts hosts and supports established research centres, research groupings and networks as well as individual research projects. Our research extends to partnerships with the artistic community, for instance, in support of public debates or in the dissemination of documentation for arts practice through the digital and print media.
We often give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities.
In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV.
Digital Direction is a new 240-credit, 15-month Master’s programme starting in September 2017.
Digital Direction addresses media and storytelling in the digital era, assessing emerging issues associated with contemporary digital communication and the creative economy, training new creative leaders who are responsive to continually changing contexts, infrastructures and technologies and engendering a new wave of creative leadership. Graduates will develop a deep understanding of critical and experimental communication/media production, creation and design practices, and through applied innovation will address current and future contexts.
The programme prepares students to evolve and lead new approaches to media and storytelling through predictive innovation, enabled by rapidly changing cultural and industrial practices, plus uses of, and developments in, digital technologies. Centring on the interrelated domains of broadcasting, film and experience/brand, the programme addresses knowledge and skills gaps in four key areas of practice: production, direction, content development/making/writing and communication/digital media design.
The programme proposes new imperatives for storytelling in an age of alternative facts and fictions; challenges associated with multiple media forms and systems; and methods for engaging publics as audiences, users, consumers, (co-)creators, stakeholders and participants.
Established approaches to production, direction, content creation and communication/digital media design are transforming at an exponential rate, employing innovative forms of storytelling and narrative experience to engage audiences in new ways. The programme is informed by associated transformations in digital technologies, including the prevalence of post-broadcast models of On Demand media; the proliferation of networked forms of production and distribution; source- and platform-agnostic, multi-cast, multi-access and multi-layered, multi-linear media; cultures of openness and control; and the primacy of interactivity.
The programme acknowledges human adaptations to living with digital technologies. Contemporary media platforms are mobile, embedded in multiple types of environments, infrastructures and products, and user-controlled with an engagement in more democratic forms of content generation and curation. In parallel, core discrete professions within the media and communication design industries are being challenged and broadened by increasingly transdisciplinary requirements. .
The programme equips students with the knowledge, understanding and skills to engage productively with the creative, design and commercial demands of this emerging and rapidly evolving multi-platform and multi-layered world. To match, a transdisciplinary approach is demanded with a strong narrative sense and a honed instinct for communication. Our contemporary uses of new digital technologies have prompted a reconsideration of communication borders and different types of responsive modes; and content developers and distributors are, in turn, converging within an increasingly fluid space.
Traditional skill sets involving narration, scriptwriting, production design, direction, set design, casting, photography, filming, lighting, and sound recording, for example, are now increasingly accompanied and informed by hitherto unrelated practices such as coding and programming, interactive design, AI, cross-platform and cross-media integration (e.g. transmedia), data visualisation and analytics, visual design, gamification, virtual/augmented reality and social media. Digital Direction addresses the demands of this new world – for example, by enabling designer-directors to produce and create content for social videos with an accompanying strategy for ensuring delivery to their target audiences, including deployment of mechanisms for openness and input.
The programme draws on six key principles from the School of Communication – conceptualisation, experimentation, expression, information, contextualisation and interdisciplinarity – which are in turn supported and developed through strategic research clusters based on the broader themes of identity, experience and publishing.