This programme aims to create a firm grounding in the critical theories and dramaturgical structures that are necessary for analysing, critiquing or creating performances within Theatre Studies. There are also opportunities for practical engagement in this discipline and in the disciplines of Dance and Musical Theatre Studies.
The aim of this course is to prepare you for a diverse range of opportunities as researchers and academics, or in the performing arts sector and beyond. You are encouraged to engage with academic literature, case studies and each other by reflecting on your own work and experiences.
Regardless of your chosen pathway, you all work together on the Critical Theories and Dramaturgies: Analysis and Composition modules to benefit from interdisciplinary interactions, debates and discussions. You are able to specialise, and thus identify your graduating pathway, through your choice of topics within the core modules, your choice of optional modules, and principally your choice of research area in the Research Preparation and Dissertation modules.
UK, EU, World
Predominantly by distance learning via skype or other software during the early evening, though attendance in Winchester at these sessions is encouraged where possible. The Intensive Practice module is delivered as a series of intensive blocks in Winchester at weekends or during vacation periods. Some of the optional modules are only available in weekly daytime sessions in Winchester
King Alfred or West Downs, University of Winchester
We are committed to providing timely and appropriate feedback to you on your academic progress and achievement in order to enable you to reflect on your progress and plan your academic and skills development effectively. You are also encouraged to seek additional feedback from your course tutors.
For more information about our regulations for this course, please see our
Musical Theatre at Winchester focuses on the academic study of musical theatre, preparing you for a career in teaching, lecturing, research, reviewing, writing or direction. It is also suitable if you are a professional interested in honing your analytical and critical skills, out of a passion for the subject or in order to change career direction. The programme provides you with a firm grounding in the critical theories and dramaturgical structures of musical theatre that are necessary for analysing, critiquing, directing and composing musical theatre texts. You are encouraged to engage with academic literature, case studies and each other by reflecting on your own experiences.
The suite of Masters programmes in the Department of Performing Arts draws together students on courses in Theatre Studies, Musical Theatre and Dance. You work together on modules in Critical Theories and Dramaturgies (Analysis and Composition) and in the optional intensive practical module, benefiting from interdisciplinary interactions, debates and discussions. Over the duration of the course, you develop skills in independent and critical learning, building your confidence and expertise progressively through independent and collaborative research, problem solving, and analysis with the support of staff.
You specialise through your choice of optional module and through supervision of Research Preparation and Dissertation modules. Optional modules include Theatre Stories, Cultural Entrepreneurship, Performance Now, and British Theatre 1945–2015. The programme can be taken entirely by distance/blended learning, but Intensive Practice, Extending the Voice, and Physical Skills 3 are only available on campus and may be subject to audition.
The course prepares you for a range of careers, including research, teaching in schools or at further and higher education levels, the entertainment industry, the performance sector and production-related work, and outreach and facilitatory roles in community and social care settings.
These courses provide a solid foundation for careers in the performance industry, such as choreography, direction and dramaturgy; the entertainment industry such as criticism, literary management, marketing and education roles; teaching; research or archival-based careers; and social care settings including community outreach and facilitator roles.
*Subject to validation
'Validation' is the process by which the University approves a new programme to ensure that it provides a distinct, high-quality academic experience for students, that enables them to acquire the necessary academic knowledge, understanding, general and subject-specific skills required to pursue a graduate level career. In the unlikely event that a programme is not validated then we will do our best to find you an alternative programme within the University.
UK, EU, World
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.
This MA addresses the historical, political, theoretical and ethical issues of applied theatre and develops your ability to contextualise, critique and create.
Our aim is to prepare students to be collaborative, responsive, imaginative, politically engaged and culturally aware artist practitioners. The course is aimed at newly-emerging practitioners with a background in theatre, education, activism or social change, as well as at more established practitioners who want to reflect, refresh and develop their skills. We actively encourage the sharing of skills and expertise among our multi-national group of students. We prioritise applicants with some experience in the arts, education, activism or social care, and it is rare that we take applicants directly from their first degree.
Together we explore the ways in which theatre and performance is created by diverse groups of people in a variety of community, social and educational settings: in schools or on the streets, in children’s homes and elderly care, in conflict zones, conferences, crèches and youth clubs, pupil referral units and prisons, women’s refuges and refugee centres, hospitals and hostels – anywhere groups of people meet and interact.
Applied theatre is an umbrella term for a range of exciting worldwide performance forms concerned with personal and social change.
The term embraces: theatre of the oppressed, community theatre, theatre-in-education, drama in education, theatre for development, prison theatre, intercultural arts, intergenerational arts, theatre in museums, archives and heritage sites, story-telling, reminiscence theatre, conflict resolution. The work often moves across art forms. This is not a definitive list, as it is a field that is dynamic and changing.
The MA considers case studies from the UK and from across the globe. Central to this investigation are: questions of identity; representation; discrimination; health; equality; human rights; opportunity; access; social inclusion/exclusion; participation; ethics; evaluation and documentation; aesthetics and the role of the artist.
The course is structured so that practice and theory constantly respond to one another, through practical classes and seminars. All students undertake a placement in a recognised host organisation where you'll work with experienced practitioners, and learn from the inside how participatory arts organisations function.
We have active partnerships with many companies, and the majority of the tutors, including the convenor, are active artists, with a variety of arts practices in performance, community and social settings.
In the autumn term we look at the roots of Applied Theatre in Education, in Social and Political Change, and in Community. Classes include work with Geese Theatre on their use of mask in Prisons, Drama and Theatre in Education techniques with Gail Babb of Talawa Theatre, intergenerational arts practices with Convenor Sue Mayo, and the use of Drama to explore Domestic Violence, with Tender. Throughout this term students are also engaged in skills-sharing sessions in order to pool their knowledge and expertise.
In the Spring Term Tutor Raj Bhari, from Talk for Change, leads a module on creative approaches to Community Cohesion, Conflict Resolution, and the artist as activist. We have a short festival of art forms, with classes in song, puppetry and dance- and a residency shared with students of the MA in performance making, working across modules with artists of distinction from within the Goldsmith’s staff and beyond.
Throughout the practical sessions we work with students to develop their facilitation, devising,- project planning and management skills with attention to issues such as group dynamics; power and leadership; inclusion; accessibility; equality; conflict; intercultural practice; safe space and the ethics of touch.
In the summer term students design and lead a weekend of workshops for a public audience.
Histories, Theories and Contexts seminars
This contextual strand enables us consider the thinking behind our embodied knowledge. Through a series of seminars, we consider: the development of applied methods from political theatre; radical and celebratory arts; drama and theatre-in-education; community theatre; prison theatre; therapeutic creative practices and the legacy of Augusto Boal. We study the growing body of writing on applied theatre and its practitioners, and theatre theory. We consider local and international case studies; we read, discuss, watch videos and experience live performances.
Complementary Contextual lectures
Students also choose a lecture based Option module from one of the other exciting MA programmes. Previous modules have included, African Theatre, Performance Praxis, Radical Performance, and The Reflecxtive Practitioner. Our students can also take a specialist applied module led by Danny Braverman, on Disability Theatre, examining the scope and radical nature of disability theatre.
The Convenor, Sue Mayo, supports students to locate and develop a placement in a recognised host organisation. On the placement students further the skills they have practiced on the programme, whilst dealing with the challenges of a professional context. Placement hosts include London Bubble, Magic Me, Resonate. Greenwich & Lewisham Young People's Theatre, Talawa Theatre, Pan-arts, Crisis, Ovalhouse, Green Shoes Arts, The Young Vic, MIND, CEN8, Lewisham Youth Theatre and Spare Tyre.
As part of our commitment to student’s employability, we offer up to five workshops covering various areas directly relevant to workplaces where drama may be applied; for example: planning and managing projects, child protection and working with vulnerable adults, ethics, evaluation, setting up a theatre company or working as an independent artist.
The MA Applied Theatre has five points of assessment:
These assessments count towards 80% of the final mark.
The remaining 20% is derived from assessment of the two shared complementary/contextual modules, which include Disability Theatre, Performance Praxis, African Theatre, Musical Theatre and Cultural Theory.
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.