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About the course

If you have an established practice and/or background in performance theory, on the MA/MFA Performance Practice as Research you can take your work to the edges of your specialism(s), exploring untouched ground, establishing new ways of thinking about and doing performance, while pushing the boundaries of your discipline(s).

  • Taught courses for performance innovators who wish to investigate and interrogate concepts and practices within contemporary performance
  • Designed for the ‘auteur’, the individual practitioner/researcher
  • For those working across disciplinary boundaries

Our approach

You will become part of a thriving community of postgraduate scholars and practitioners working within a School-wide framework for research and experimentation. Interrogate, test and apply the most recent thinking and practices within your particular field, which may include any combination of performance practice(s), directing, scenography, composition, or live and performance art.

Emphasis is placed on a reciprocal relationship between theory and practice, where one feeds into and enlivens the other.

If chosen, a second MFA year can be undertaken, deepening the work of your first year, whilst gaining a critical expertise in a wider array of Practice as Research models.

During the MA/MFA Performance Practice as Research you might expect to:

  • Participate in workshops and seminars to investigate the relationship between the concepts and materials of performance
  • Analyse making, performing and spectatorship as interrelated activities
  • Engage and apply critical contexts and concepts
  • Explore different strategies and methods for conducting research and disseminating the findings, leading towards a conference presentation
  • Undertake laboratory exploration of performance practice as a way of testing ideas
  • Develop work towards a public presentation at Central’s Brink Festival
  • Undertake a Sustained Independent Project (SIP) culminating in a dissertation or a portfolio documenting practice-based research.

An MFA top-up year for those with an existing MA in this subject is also available.

Course Detail

As the courses value the particular skills and personal proposals that individual students bring to them, the interests that you express can shape the timetable and content of course units.

On both the MA and MFA courses, you start by learning the key vocabularies and skill sets within the Critical Contexts and Performing Practices units, before moving into the individual laboratory work in the Developing Your Disciplines unit, while concurrently joining others in the MA community in the Performing Research unit. You then go on to produce the Brink Festival as part of the Laboratory of Performance Practices double unit while benefiting from select professional development sessions.

For MAs, the last term (July to September) is undertaken as a Sustained Independent Project (SIP), where you synthesise all the learning and development through a multimodal output within a dissertation.

If you choose the MFA, you return in October for your second year where, inspired by your own work in the Brink Festival and new work you investigate as part of your research, you engage in an extended MFA Sustained Independent Project (SIP). This is a supervised multi-modal thesis helping you gain expertise in the various dramaturgies, modes and models of performance practice as research through the lens of the methodologies developed in your first year, and others examined as part of your MFA research second year.


Assessment is through presentations, performances, process work and written submissions, as well as a personal documentation project or dissertation.

How to Apply for Postgraduate Courses

All applications to postgraduate courses at Central must be made directly to the School. We have an online application system through which you should submit your application.

Visit the website for further details. 

Visit the MA/MFA Performance Practice as Research page on the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama website for more details!






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Recipient: Royal Central School of Speech & Drama

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