The aim of the MA in Musical Theatre course is to provide you with the advanced skills to prepare you for work in a diverse industry. The course reflects the varied nature of working in musical theatre; it will provide you with the opportunity to focus on professional practice, whilst enabling you to learn how to promote both yourself (as practitioner, academic and/or performer) and the work you create. More importantly, it creates an environment where you have to work collaboratively.
The MA in Musical Theatre provides you with the unique opportunity of a residency, designed to help you create, prepare and stage work in a theatre. Working closely with industry specialists, you will nurture the skills required to help you make a contribution to contemporary musical theatre. You will also foster flexible skills which can be applied to a wide range of career opportunities in the musical theatre industry and beyond, including; teamwork skills, problem solving, self-promotion, working to deadlines and critical thinking.
You will experience a wide variety of learning activities in Musical Theatre to ensure your professional development as an emerging practitioner in your chosen specialist areas. Contact hours are tailored to both full-time and part time delivery; part time delivery allows you to study alongside full-time employment.
Teaching and learning will normally take place in a variety of continually evolving contexts, including an appropriate balance of the following kinds of activity:
a) Workshops, rehearsals, productions, practical classes, laboratory or studio-based practice, screenings, lectures, discussions (both online and in class), seminars, and tutorials. You will be encouraged to apply your knowledge and understanding of critical theory to case studies within regional, national and international contexts;
b) Group and individual learning;
c) Residency in Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton with a view to creating an annual festival of musical theatre (especial relevance in enhancing your employability and ability to be enterprising)
d) There will be the opportunity to participate in and contribute to Musical Theatre West Midlands Writers’ Hub, regular monthly composer/writer hubs to showcase new writing.
Each semester students are invited to attend optional musical theatre productions in the local area and nationally. We suggest budgeting £100 for these trips if you wish to participate.
Most years, students take an optional international field trip to a major city of musical theatre production. Future visits may include New York, Washington D.C or Bochum, Germany. We suggest budgeting around £1000 for the trip if you wish to participate.
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, opened in 2011 and is the home for all of our performance courses. The hub features five performance studios with semi-sprung floors that are ideal for rehearsals and small performances. . The studios feature state of the art audio/visual equipment. As well as several music rehearsal rooms, The Performance Hub has recording facilities, with two computer suites equipped with iMacs running Protools, Logic, Cubase and Sibelius software and two recording studios with analogue and digital recording equipment. The university is proud to be an All Steinway School and home to 17 Steinway pianos, five of which are in rehearsal studio spaces. Our 108 seat Black Box Theatre is one of the most technically advanced small theatres in the country and is ideal for a range of performing arts activities.
We are a thriving department of research active academics in musical theatre, teaching is research led. Journals we have published in include Studies in Musical Theatre and Journal of Bisexuality; with forthcoming book chapters in Routledge’s Twenty First Century Musicals: From Stage to Screen (2017), Oxford Press’s The Oxford Handbook of the British Musical (2016) and Bloomsbury Methuen’s The Disney Musical on Stage and Screen: Critical Approaches from 'Snow White' to 'Frozen' (2017). We have presented our research nationally and internationally at leading conferences in the field.
Current research specialisms include: gender and racial politics in musical theatre of the 1960s, the film musical and the female spectator, subsidised revivals of the American canon, queer theory, reception theory, contemporary musicals and masculinity, the British musical.
Dr Sarah Whitfield: Course Leader MA Musical Theatre, Senior Lecturer in Musical Theatre
BA (hons), MA, PGCHE, PhD, fHEA
Dramaturg, lyricist/librettist, director, theatre historian, education, course development.
Sarah Browne: Principal Lecturer in Musical Theatre, Head of Department of Music
BA (hons), MPhil, PGCE
Conducting, arranging, orchestral and vocal arrangements, musicology, vocal tuition, education, course development.
James Lovelock: Lecturer in Musical Theatre
BMus (hons), MPhil, PGCE
Composer, lyricist/librettist, director, dramaturg, vocal coach, improvised musical, musicology,
Upon completion of the course you may consider a number of potential employment routes, depending on the path chosen. These may include, but are not limited to, for example; writer/composer/choreographer or musical director, teacher or workshop facilitator, marketing administrator, or work in production and promotion. Alternatively, you may also consider further study at doctorate level.
Graduates of the MA in Musical Theatre will exhibit;
• a systematic understanding of knowledge, and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of musical theatre practice
• a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to their own research or advanced scholarship
• originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in musical theatre
• conceptual understanding that enables the student:
- to evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship in musical theatre
- to evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them and, where appropriate, to propose new hypotheses.