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 Masters in Playwriting & Dramaturgy gives you a practical and theoretical engagement with the many forms of writing and production for theatre. The programme is designed for those wishing to develop playwriting skills and knowledge of script development and support, opening the way to many theatre roles, including dramaturgy.
Our programme is the only one in Scotland that combines playwriting with dramaturgy. You will undertake core practical playwriting courses and core dramaturgy courses before choosing to specialise in one pathway.
A significant part of the programme is delivered by professional writers and dramaturges. This programme also includes the opportunity for playwrights to develop a major script, through workshops and staged readings with actors and directors.
Core teaching is delivered in two semesters, followed by an independent desk- or practice-based project.
Our core courses introduce you to the foundations of both playwriting as a craft, and dramaturgy as a historical and contemporary practice.
In addition, core courses develop other skills useful to the role of the dramaturg and the practitioner, including critical reading, writing and reflection, independent research skills (such as archival and audience research), and presentation skills.
These courses will also prepare you to pursue doctoral study in the future.
The design of the Playwriting & Dramaturgy programme is intended to develop both the practical and critical skills of students. There is both subject-specific development (including knowledge of playwriting as a craft and dramaturgy as a role, working knowledge of the playwriting process, in-depth knowledge of plays and processes of textual and production analyses) alongside more generic skills development (including presentation skills – written and oral, a capacity for critical reflection, project management, team work, and independent research skills).
The role of the dramaturg is becoming increasingly recognised within the theatre industries, as is the capacity of playwrights to apply their skills and knowledge to other tasks (including, for example, providing script development support for emerging writers). This programme aims to equip playwrights and potential dramaturges with knowledge of other writing roles in theatre.
The critical components of this programme also provide a good foundation for students wishing to progress to doctoral study.
Graduates of this programme have gone on to become commissioned playwrights, production dramaturges, theatre critics, literary advisors, doctoral students, theatre makers and academics.
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
If you want to become a produced or published writer, or to develop your writing skills, this programme will give you the chance to be tutored by leading and established writers in a supportive and creative environment.
The emphasis is on different forms of scriptwriting - playwriting, screenwriting, dramatic writing, writing for film and television, and writing for radio – but you can also develop imaginative writing in other forms, especially prose fiction. Specialist pathways in screenwriting or writing for theatre are open to you.
Whether you’re an aspiring writer, a teacher or simply want to learn more about the writer’s craft, you’ll be working in an environment dedicated to developing new and emerging talent. Our students come from all over the world, and we have a powerful record for developing successful writers and creative leaders. Through our partnership with the West Yorkshire Playhouse, the course is linked to the Playhouse’s own new writing schemes.
Our tutors are professional dramatists and leading researchers with a wide range of expertise. The Programme Director for the MA is the award-winning playwright, screenwriter and producer Garry Lyons, who established the degree in 2006.
Find out more about Garry Lyons
You’ll be based in our landmark building [email protected], with two professional-standard and publicly licensed theatres that regularly host works by students and visiting theatre companies. You’ll be encouraged to use these facilities to try your work out in workshops, rehearsed readings or full productions, and gain experience of practical drama-making.
The programme also benefits from our close links with external organisations. As well as our partnership with West Yorkshire Playhouse, we work with the BBC’s new talent unit, Writers’ Room. Other partners include Opera North, ITV, Screen Yorkshire, the National Media Museum, Creative England, Red Ladder Theatre Company, True North Productions, Chapel FM Radio, Valley Press and many more.
A core module will introduce you to creative writing research, including the potential of practice-led research. This will help to equip you for the rest of the programme, giving you the tools to reflect analytically on your writing and compare it with existing writing of a similar genre or style.
In Semester 1 you’ll spend time in intensive workshops refining your own short pieces of narrative writing, exploring the principles of storytelling and more experimental approaches. You'll work in a range of forms - from theatre and radio to screenplays and prose - preparing you to specialise as you progress through the degree.
Options in Semester 2 allow you to focus on film and television writing or work on an original project of your own – individually, in collaboration with students from across the School, or based on a two-week placement with an external organisation.
All of this work will culminate with your major project, which you’ll submit by the end of the programme – this could be an extended piece of creative writing, a conventional dissertation, or performance-led research.
Working with West Yorkshire Playhouse
The MA is partnered with West Yorkshire Playhouse, one of the UK’s leading theatres outside London. This links us to the the Playhouse’s new writing schemes. Directors and associate artists from the Playhouse regularly run workshops and masterclasses for us, and we collaborate with the theatre on joint projects such as new writing events and festivals. The Playhouse occasionally offers work experience opportunities for our students to apply for.
Our tutors are professional dramatists and academic specialists in a range of genres, with experience of dealing with theatres, agents, production companies, editors and publishers. We also invite guest speakers from the worlds of theatre, broadcasting, film and publishing to share their insights into the creative industries.
You’ll be taught using a range of methods including lectures, seminars and tutorials as well as practical sessions and workshops. Independent study is also a vital component of this degree, allowing you to conduct your own research and develop your own ideas.
You’ll be assessed mostly on the basis of your creative writing, including theatre, screen and radio scripts and short prose stories you’ll develop in your modules. To encourage you to reflect on your practice, you’ll also write commentaries on your own work. Core modules may also use assessment methods such as essays and presentations to allow you to demonstrate your knowledge.
Many students will want to pursue a career as a professional writer. Although this is a fiercely competitive field, this degree is designed to try to help you realise your ambitions. Alternatively, you could use your additional experience and qualification to progress in your current career or pursue a related path within the creative arts.
You’ll also be well equipped for a future in education, arts administration, script editing, literary management, broadcasting, journalism, advertising, the media, publishing, literary agencies, marketing, PT and many other areas.
The programme has established a powerful record for developing successful writers and creative leaders, from playwrights and television writers to novelists, directors and lecturers.