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Course content

Why Surrey?

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.

Programme overview

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.

Programme structure

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.

Directing pathway

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

  • Provide advanced study and practice in creative leadership and direction in theatre-making and/or the training of theatre artists, specific to the pathway chosen
  • Equip students for employment in the theatre industry and/or related performing arts industries as specialist practitioners in one of the following areas:
  1. Directing
  2. Movement Direction and Choreography
  3. Musical Theatre Creation
  • Provide students with integrated practical and theoretical knowledge of specialist creative and/or pedagogic practices relevant to their chosen pathway; contemporary technical and scholarly contexts; and industry-specific contexts
  • Enable students to develop intellectual and practical skills to inform and articulate self-reflection and critical awareness, through specialist study and practice, and work with other students in cognate fields
  • Develop critical and independent practitioners imbued with a sense of learning as a lifetime pursuit via a commitment to professional and personal development

Facilities, equipment and academic support

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.

Global opportunities

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.

Visit the Creative Practices and Direction MA page on the University of Surrey website for more details!





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