It will help you to sharpen your practical skills as a creative artist. On a practical level, it will assist you in working as a freelance writer, composer or producer of musical theatre.
The MA focuses on the dramaturgy of the musical as a key factor in the future development of the genre.
Expert professionals are regularly employed as visiting tutors, to maintain direct links with the industry.
You follow one of the two pathways as either:
-producer -writer or composer
You undertake an analytic case study of a musical or production, a placement project and dissertation (producers), and a creative project involving either book and lyrics or music for a short original musical (writers and composers). Producers share some classes with students on the MA in Arts Administration and Cultural Policy.
Contact the department
If you have specific questions about the degree, contact the Department of Theatre and Performance Secretary.
Modules & Structure
You undertake an analytic case study of a musical or production, a placement project and dissertation (producers), and a creative project involving either book and lyrics or music for a short original musical (writers and composers). Producers share some classes with the MA in Arts Administration and Cultural Policy.
You elect to follow one of two pathways on the programme – Producers, or Writers and Composers. In each case, the programme involves five separate modules:
1. Genre study – autumn and spring terms, both pathways. This module runs for 20 weeks. It begins in autumn with an historical survey of the development of the American musical, from ‘Showboat’ (1927) to ‘Sweeney Todd’ (1979). It continues in the spring term with a look at new forms of musical theatre that have resulted from the fragmentation of the classic tradition of ‘book’ musicals, with the innovation of the ‘concept’ musical, the impact of rock musicals, the ‘invasion’ of Broadway by the British ‘megamusical’ and the subsequent globalisation of the market by Cameron Macintosh and Disney.
2. Case study – autumn and spring terms, both pathways. This module involves a 15-week introduction to the different structural components (book, music, lyrics, choreography, scenography) and industrial factors (producers, marketing, technology, conomics) determining the production of musicals today. The module is taught by a range of professional and academic experts with a variety of different perspectives on the subject.
4. Shared complementary/contextual module 2, - ‘Musical Theatre and Society’ 5. Creative project/dissertation – spring and summer terms, both pathways.
Genre study is assessed by two 3,000-word essays; the case study is assessed by means of a 4,000-word essay. The nature and form of creative projects, dissertations and research/placement projects are agreed with the Module Convenor during the programme.
You will develop a critical understanding of the collaborative processes involved in the creation of musical theatre in the UK and USA.
Composers and librettists/lyricists will achieve an enhanced ability to engage with the integration of dramaturgical and musical components of musical theatre writing, and a comprehension of the various factors involved in working within the industry.
Producers will acquire an overall perspective on the industrial and organisational factors involved in musical theatre production, including methods of theatre marketing, systems of arts funding and policy, and a working knowledge of the strategies involved in producing a small-scale musical.
Producers will also develop skills of leadership and teamwork and the ability to develop and critique their own approaches to working in musical theatre production.
Typical careers for graduates of this MA include:
musical theatre composer librettist lyricis tproduce marketing manager production assistant