This highly distinctive MA course, run as a partnership between Birkbeck and RADA, brings together cutting-edge practice and scholarship in theatre and performance. Join us and you will work with both Birkbeck's experts in theatre and performance studies and RADA's faculty and visiting theatre practitioners to experience both making and studying theatre. This course does not offer actor training, but will deepen your critical and practical understanding of theatre and performance practices in context and leads to a prestigious postgraduate qualification from the University of London.
What our students say
'Since finishing the MA course, I have worked on projects as a writer, director, and teacher - this is largely thanks to the way this course nurtures you as both artist and academic and helps you develop a diverse skill set.'
'Perhaps the best 2 years of my life.'
'The MA course allowed me to change my career path and gave me the skills and confidence to launch myself into an arts career.'
'The course helped to refine my approach as a theatre practitioner, while widening my scope for theatrical discourse and inspiration to create work. It encourages the intertwining of the creative and the academic, resulting in thought provoking and unique theatre. Most importantly, the course taught me to risk, to dare to create something new, to have an opinion and express it through my art.'
'Mature students can give at least as much and get as much out of this course as young people and taking the risk to do it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.'
Why study this course at Birkbeck?
Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 11th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2015-16 World University Subject Rankings.
Taking the dramatic text as a critical starting point, our course encompasses drama from the early modern period to the contemporary.
In the rehearsal room, you will create new theatre and performance work responding to set texts and themes. You will also engage with performance techniques to develop your skills as a playwright, director and dramaturg.
In academic lectures and seminars, you will encounter theoretical, historical, critical and philosophical writings. You will theorise live performance and write about the ways in which new performance work is informed by both contemporary concerns and older theatrical traditions and legacies.
In the final dissertation project, you will exercise your own creative voice as a director, dramaturg, playwright or scholar.
Student projects are tutored by a combination of faculty and visiting artists. In 2015-16, visiting artist tutors included A.C. Smith, David Slater, Karen Christopher, Peader Kirk and Rachel Mars.
We also offer informal, unassessed creative enhancement opportunities: RADA’s TheatreVision initiative, which brings together students from the MA Text and Performance and the MA Theatre Lab to explore writing for theatre; Birkbeck’s Centre for Contemporary Theatre runs a postgraduate reading group and offers opportunities to show work in progress as part of the School of Arts summer festival Arts Week.
RADA and Birkbeck are just 3 minutes' walk apart so you will study in a campus-style environment. Our close proximity also allows us to draw on the rich range of resources available across both institutions, including: studio space; technical support for group and individual presentations; RADA’s excellent library of playtexts and theatre and performance literature; and Birkbeck’s world-class research resources in the arts and humanities.
The course incorporates visits to London theatre and both institutions are well placed for you to access the extraordinary array of theatre available in London.
The renowned British Library is also located nearby.