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Creative Arts & Design×

University of Essex, Full Time MA Degrees in Creative Arts & Design

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Develop as a playwright by learning with professional and award-winning dramatists. On our MA Playwriting you produce a varied portfolio of dramatic works, culminating in a full-length original play, which will enable you to hone and develop your own unique voice. Read more
Develop as a playwright by learning with professional and award-winning dramatists. On our MA Playwriting you produce a varied portfolio of dramatic works, culminating in a full-length original play, which will enable you to hone and develop your own unique voice.

At Essex, we believe that the joint engagement of practice and theory produces a deep understanding of how drama works. We combine critical study of dramatic texts with practical workshops, so that you nurture your understanding of the playwright’s craft in order to produce your own new work.

Our course focuses on the range of possibilities that exist for contemporary drama, with an emphasis on British and Irish drama, and you also explore topics including:
-The principles of dramatic structure and scene construction (dialogue, the construction of plot, the development of character, development of themes, and the structure of scenes)
-Techniques for working as a playwright with youth and community groups
-The origins and possibilities of poetic theatre and verse drama
-Options for poetic practice or novel-writing
-Radio drama

At the end of the course your work will be rehearsed and given a public performance in the Lakeside Theatre at our Colchester Campus. Your dissertation gives you the chance to write a full-length play with one-to-one supervision from an award-winning playwright tutor.

We are ranked Top 10 in the UK (Guardian University Guide 2015), and three-quarters of our research is rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (REF 2014).

Our expert staff

Our academic tutors tutors include:
-Professor Jonathan Lichtenstein is a playwright who has written for Radio 4 and the National Theatre. His awards include a Fringe First at the Edinburgh Festival and his plays have been performed internationally.
-Elizabeth Kuti is also a playwright. She has won the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and the Stewart Parker Radio Award; and has been commissioned by the National Theatre; the Abbey Theatre, Dublin; and BBC radio. She also writes and researches in the field of eighteenth-century theatre.
-Liam Jarvis is Artistic Director of Analogue Theatre and a playwright and theatre practitioner. He also writes and publishes widely on contemporary theatre theory and practice.
-Annie Eddington and Barbara Peirson have professional specialisms in Theatre-in-Education, directing, theatre and human rights. Other staff members bring expertise in acting, producing and technical theatre.

We also invite professional playwrights and other theatre practitioners to provide you with specialist master classes. Recent class leaders have included Max Stafford-Clark, David Eldridge, Paul Sirett, Lisa Goldman, David Thacker, Mike Attenborough, Annie Castledine, Bobby Baker, Robert Holman, Tony Casement, and Gari Jones.

Specialist facilities

-Our on-campus Lakeside Theatre is a major venue for drama, staging productions by professional touring companies and new work written, produced and directed by our own staff and students
-Our Student Company runs weekly practical workshops, enabling drama enthusiasts to get involved in both front-of-house and behind the scenes
-Our Research Laboratory allows you to collaborate with professionals, improvising and experimenting with new work as it develops
Access the University’s Media Centre, equipped with state-of-the-art studios, cameras, audio and lighting equipment, and an industry-standard editing suite
-Write for our student newspaper The Rabbit or host a Red Radio show
-View classic films at weekly film screenings in our dedicated 120-seat film theatre
-Hear writers talk about their craft and learn from leading specialists at weekly research seminars

Your future

This course will be of interest to those who wish to pursue a career in many areas of the arts, creative writing and media.

A number of our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies graduates have gone on to undertake successful careers as scholars, university lecturers, teachers, publishers, publishers’ editors, journalists, arts administrators, theatre artistic directors, drama advisers, and translators.

We also offer supervision for PhD, MPhil and MA by dissertation in different literatures and various approaches to literature, covering most aspects of early modern and modern writing in English, plus a number of other languages.

Our University is one of only 11 AHRC-accredited Doctoral Training Centres in the UK. This means that we offer funded PhD studentships which also provide a range of research and training opportunities.

We work with our Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

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MA Acting is a challenging course that gives you a personal methodology based upon East 15’s unique practices. On one level it is a thoroughly practical, highly intensive, vocational course. Read more
MA Acting is a challenging course that gives you a personal methodology based upon East 15’s unique practices. On one level it is a thoroughly practical, highly intensive, vocational course. On another level, it is a thought-provoking, life-changing reflection on the function and art of the actor – exploring techniques from some of Europe’s most influential practitioners as well as innovative professional practice from the UK and internationally.

Example structure

We offer dynamic and unique course for actors, directors, technical theatre specialists and students of theatre practice. Training at East 15 draws upon 50 years of tradition combined with a keen sense of the world of stage and screen today.

First Term
In the first term, there are classes in movement, voice and singing, as well as contextual studies. The entire programme of teaching across the course coheres to lead the actor from an exploration of personal self to that of the body in time and space and from there to the creation of character and the realisation of text.

Acting classes promote the development of intuitive, creative responses which are then framed by the introduction of techniques to build character and play actions. Showings of short naturalistic scenes give opportunity to integrate and apply technical voice and movement work in the context of an acting exercise.

Second Term
In the second term, skills classes continue. The acting work begins with an intensive Shakespeare module which develops and strengthens the integration of technical skills with acting technique. This is followed by the Research Performance Project in which you engage with specific time in history and experience East 15’s distinctive Living History Project.

This signature project is a non-performed improvisation in which the actor can, through rigorous ‘actor-centric’ research and a residential period away from the campus environment, experience and identify with the practical and visceral realities, as well as the psychological and emotional attributes of the character.

Subsequent to this you devise a studio performance based on your intellectual, emotional and sensory experience. You are also given responsibilities in stage management and production to enhance your overall understanding of what it is to make theatre and to prepare you for the realities of the industry.

Towards the end of term two participants begin to research and develop their MA project.

Third Term
The first part of Term Three focuses on media. The film project teaches skills of acting for the camera and provides material for the actor’s show reel. The radio drama project teaches radio skills and microphone technique and provides material usable in a voice reel. At the same time, you begin work on your MA Projects. The MA Projects involve working in small groups on self-generated projects, in which participants are given independence and autonomy as company members. These are performed in East 15’s Corbett Theatre or in other venues as appropriate.

The second half of term 3 sees a full production of a text-based play usually in our on-campus Corbett Theatre.

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Our MA Art History and Theory is ideal if you are interested in working in academia, the art world or any other field in which visual, written and analytical skills are essential. Read more
Our MA Art History and Theory is ideal if you are interested in working in academia, the art world or any other field in which visual, written and analytical skills are essential.

At Essex, you have the freedom to study what most interests you. Some of the topics you may choose to explore include Early Modern art and architecture; the history of photography; modern and contemporary art; curatorial practice and exhibition design; as well as more vernacular forms of visual culture, such as body art and activist placards.

Regardless of the topics you pursue, we are committed to research-based teaching, with a particular emphasis on bringing the approaches of art history into contact with other disciplines and discourses. In so doing, we seek to facilitate a critical engagement with artworks and forms of visual culture, both within and beyond the traditional canons of art history.

To supplement what you learn in the classroom, frequent staff-led visits to London museums and galleries will expose you to the some of the world’s best museums and galleries, and you will be strongly encouraged to apply for a placement in order to gain experience in the museum and gallery world. On campus, the Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA), Europe’s largest collection of contemporary art from Latin American, will provide an invaluable resource for studying art and curatorial practice first-hand.

One of the major reasons for choosing Essex is the quality of the education you will receive. Our Art History programme is 6th in the UK for research excellence, with 89% of our work rated “world-leading” or “internationally excellent” (REF 2014). We also achieved an exceptional 95% student satisfaction in the 2016 National Student Survey.

This course is available on either a full-time or part-time basis.

Our expert staff

Essex Art History features a dynamic group of art historians who investigate the production and reception of images and built environments, across cultures and media from the early modern period to the present. Our staff are experts on topics as diverse as activist art, 19th-century medical photography, the art of Latin America, urbanism, exhibition design and body art.

We also have significant experience in curation and public engagement. Recent projects include:
-Dr Gavin Grindon curated a section of Banksy’s Dismaland show and co-curated the Disobedient Objects exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, which was one of the most well attended shows in the museum’s history.
-Dr Matt Lodder has acted as contributor for various television shows on body art and body modification, including the Today programme, the Jeremy Vine Show, Sky News, BBC Breakfast News, ‘Coast’, and National Geographic’s ‘Taboo’.
-Dr Natasha Ruiz Gómez co-organised a major conference on Collect, Exchange, Display: Artistic Practice and the Medical Museum at the Hunterian Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons, London.

Specialist facilities

At Essex, you have the best of both worlds: on the one hand, you are part of a tight-knit, campus community with close ties to several small but excellent museums in the nearby town of Colchester; on the other hand, you can travel from campus to London in an hour, which puts the world’s best museums and galleries at your fingertips.

Our facilities enable you to gain curatorial experience and engage in object-based learning, a cornerstone of our approach when teaching the history of art and its modes of display:
-Our Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA) is the most comprehensive Latin American art research resource in the UK and has a state-of-the-art teaching and research space. Many of our students gain work and research experience through our collection
-Our onsite gallery Art Exchange runs an on-going programme of contemporary art exhibitions, talks and workshops by curators and artists, as well as exhibitions organised by our postgraduate curatorial students
-Colchester’s iconic Firstsite gallery features an exciting programme of contemporary art exhibitions, film screenings and talks, and exhibitions organised by our students

Your future

The visual arts and culture industries have become an increasingly significant part of the national and international economy, and art history graduates leave Essex with the skills to take advantage of this growing opportunity.

Graduates from our programmes are ideally prepared for roles in the media, in advertising, in museums and galleries, in education (in schools, universities, and cultural institutions), as conservators, as auctioneers, dealers and antiques specialists, in charities, in publishing, as specialist arts lawyers, as PR agents, in fashion, or to run their own galleries.

Our recent graduates have gone on to work in a wide range of roles including:
-A member of the valuation team at Sotheby’s (New York)
-Head of Learning at firstsite (a contemporary arts centre in Colchester)
-Visual Merchandising Manager at John Lewis (Oxford Street, London)

We also offer research supervision for students who wish to continue their studies with a PhD or an MPhil. We cover the major areas of European art, architecture and visual culture from 1300 to the present, as well as the art and architecture of Latin America.

We work with our university’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Example Structure

Postgraduate study is the chance to take your education to the next level. The combination of compulsory and optional modules means our courses help you develop extensive knowledge in your chosen discipline, whilst providing plenty of freedom to pursue your own interests. Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.

Art History and Theory - MA
-Dissertation - MA Schemes
-Researching Art History
-Art, Science, Knowledge (optional)
-Collecting Art From Latin America (optional)
-Critique and Curating (optional)
-Curating Inside Out (optional)
-Exhibition (Joint Project) (optional)
-Current Research in Art History (optional)
-Topics in Art History (optional)
-Art & Politics (optional)
-Art, Architecture and Urbanism (optional)

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Our challenging, practice-based course offers you a unique approach to the practice of writing, emphasising innovation and experimentation in your work. Read more
Our challenging, practice-based course offers you a unique approach to the practice of writing, emphasising innovation and experimentation in your work.

On our MA Creative Writing, you deepen your knowledge of literary tradition, exploring different modes and genres in order to develop your own creative and expressive written skills. You expand your use of creative writing techniques and improve your critical judgement of your own work.

Our course encourages you to develop your writing by stepping outside your comfort zone and discovering the different approaches to verbal art that are possible today. This will invigorate your own practice, whether you are writing psychogeography, plays, novels, stories or something else. You will choose from a variety of modules, covering topics such as:
-Development of a novel plan, from research and concept-development, to plotting, character, and structure
-Experimental language play of the Oulipo group across the short story, autobiography, cartoons, cookery and theatre
-Relating magic to writing and creativity, both in theory and in practice
-Psychogeography, writing about walking, place, landscape, history and the psychic environment
-Poetic practice across experimental writing in poetry from the performative to the visual

To help you hone your craft, we also host two Royal Literary Fund Fellows, professional writers on-hand to help you develop your writing on a one-to-one basis, and regularly host talks and readings by visiting writers.

Essex has nurtured a long tradition of distinguished authors whose work has shaped literature as we know it today, from past giants such as the American poets Robert Lowell and Ted Berrigan, to contemporary writers such as mythographer and novelist Dame Marina Warner, and Booker Prize winner Ben Okri.

We are ranked Top 20 in the UK (Guardian University Guide 2015, and three-quarters of our research is rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (REF 2014).

This course is also available on a part-time basis.

Our expert staff

Our teaching staff are experienced and established writers who have a breadth of experience across literary genres, from novels, prose and plays, to poetry and song.

Our creative writing teaching team has a breadth of experience in the literatures of different cultures and different forms. Our current teaching staff include poet and short story writer Philip Terry, lyric writer and essayist Adrian May, novelist and camper Matthew de Abaitua, poet and performance-writer Holly Pester, poet, fisherman and memoirist Chris McCully, and award-winning playwrights Elizabeth Kuti and Jonathan Lichtenstein.

Our Centre for Creative Writing is part of a unique literary conservatoire that offers students the skills, support and confidence to respond artistically and critically to the study of writing with the guidance of experts.

Specialist facilities

-Write for our student magazine Albert or host a Red Radio show
-View classic films at weekly film screenings in our dedicated 120-seat film theatre
-Hear writers talk about their craft and learn from leading literature specialists at regular talks and readings
-Our on-campus Lakeside Theatre has been established as a major venue for good drama, staging both productions by professional touring companies and a wealth of new work written, produced and directed by our own staff and students
-Improve your playwriting skills at our Lakeside Theatre Writers workshops
-Our Research Laboratory allows you to collaborate with professionals, improvising and experimenting with new work which is being tried and tested

Your future

Many of our students have gone on to successfully publish their work, notable recent alumni including:
-Ida Løkås, who won a literary prize in Norway for The Beauty That Flows Past, securing a book deal
-Alexia Casale, whose novel Bone Dragon was published by Faber & Faber and subsequently featured on both the Young Adult Books of the Year 2013 list for The Financial Times, and The Independent’s Books of the year 2013: Children
-Elaine Ewert, recent graduate from our MA Wild Writing, placed second in the New Welsh Writing Awards 2015
-Patricia Borlenghi, the founder of Patrician Press, which has published works by a number of our alumni
-Petra Mcqueen, who has written for The Guardian and runs creative writing courses

We also offer supervision for PhD, MPhil and MA by Dissertation in different literatures and various approaches to literature, covering most aspects of early modern and modern writing in English, plus a number of other languages.

Our University is one of only 11 AHRC-accredited Doctoral Training Centres in the UK. This means that we offer funded PhD studentships which also provide a range of research and training opportunities.

A number of our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies graduates have gone on to undertake successful careers as writers, and others are now established as scholars, university lecturers, teachers, publishers, publishers’ editors, journalists, arts administrators, theatre artistic directors, drama advisers, and translators.

We work with our Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

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Explore the relationship between literature and film in an exceptionally broad array of contemporary and historical contexts, and from a variety of different perspectives. Read more
Explore the relationship between literature and film in an exceptionally broad array of contemporary and historical contexts, and from a variety of different perspectives. You discover cutting-edge approaches to cinematic and literary aesthetics, adaptation, and relationships between different media, reception contexts, ethics, and interfaces between theory and practice.

On our course you gain a deep understanding of the theoretical and practical interactions between literature and film, choosing specific areas of literary and cinema studies to complement your preparation for a creative practice or theoretical dissertation project of your choice. You will forge and develop connections between audio-visual and textual media. Focusing a variety of cultural productions and diverse forms of enlightenment, and entertainment, you will encounter parallel and sometimes more densely intertwined media histories, discovering the complex ways in which media anticipate, interfere with, and draw on one other.

Through weekly seminars, screenings and discussions of key cinematic and literary texts, you consider different ways that texts create their meanings. You study topics including:
-Areas such as modernism, poetic practice, American prose, Caribbean literature, and African American literature
-Documentary and fiction film production including screenwriting, pre-production, camera, lighting, sound, storyboarding and editing
-Landmark directors and movements such as Expressionism and the avant-garde
-Film theory including feminism, psychoanalysis, queer theory, haptic cinema
-Adaptation and comparative media

You also benefit from a series of masterclasses conducted by invited industry professionals which focus on the craft of filmmaking: developing your technical understanding of cinematography, directing and editing/postproduction.

These also introduce you to potential employment routes and industry career pathways, from setting up your own production company, to identifying and tapping into distribution networks and preparing and marketing your completed films.

We are ranked Top 20 in the UK (Times Good University Guide 2015), and three-quarters of our research is rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (REF 2014).

This course is also available on a part-time basis.

Our expert staff

Our intensive modules are taught in small groups by expert academic film specialists and professional filmmakers .

The Centre for Film and Screen Media at Essex is part of a vital departmental unit that offers talented students the support and confidence to respond both critically and artistically to the study of film. This distinctive environment is possible because we are a community of award-winning film-makers, scholars, and media specialists; our staff over the years have included Oscar winners and BAFTA winners.

Our academic staff specialise in a wide range of production and critical areas including producing, screenwriting, documentary, , film theory, Soviet cinema, US cinema, films of Asia and Pacific regions, modernism and the avant-garde, adaptation, and silent cinema.

Our Department has a distinguished history of combining critical and creative work, and we have long been home to poets, novelists, translators, dramatists and actors, alongside literary critics, drama scholars, filmmakers and film theorists.

Specialist facilities

For your film production modules, you have priority use of industry-standard editing facilities, two state-of-the-art studios, and a range of cameras and other filmmaking equipment. You also gain experience using professional film production software including Avid and Final Cut; everything you will need to produce films to an expert standard.

You also have access to our other departmental facilities:
-Show off your work on our Vimeo channel
-View classic films at weekly film screenings in our dedicated 120-seat film theatre, equipped with digital HD projection facilities and surround sound
-Borrow DVDs from our substantial departmental collection
-Join student film societies and the Centre for Film and Screen Media film series, which screen and discuss both recent blockbusters and less mainstream arthouse films
-Hear writers talk about their craft and learn from leading specialists at weekly research seminars
-Our on-campus Lakeside Theatre has been established as a major venue for good drama, staging both productions by professional touring companies and a wealth of new work written, produced and directed by our own staff and students
-Improve your playwriting skills at our Lakeside Theatre Writers workshops
-Our Research Laboratory allows you to collaborate with professionals, improvising and experimenting with new work which is being tried and tested
-Write for our student magazine Albert or host a Red Radio show

Your future

We actively encourage and assist you to find appropriate internship and work placement opportunities during your studies, allowing you to practice and develop your skills and experience as well as enhancing your graduate employment prospects.

A number of our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies graduates have gone on to undertake successful careers as scholars, university lecturers, teachers, publishers, journalists, arts administrators, theatre artistic directors, drama advisers, filmmakers, film editors, and translators.

We also offer supervision for PhD, MPhil and MA by Dissertation in different literatures and various approaches to literature, covering most aspects of early modern and modern writing in English, plus a number of other languages.

Our University is one of only 11 AHRC-accredited Doctoral Training Centres in the UK. This means that we offer funded PhD studentships which also provide a range of research and training opportunities.

We work with our Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

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Explore and make creative connections between film analysis and film practice. Our course has a distinctive focus on international, alternative, and documentary cinemas, while also providing a solid foundation in key elements of film history and theory, including Hollywood. Read more
Explore and make creative connections between film analysis and film practice.

Our course has a distinctive focus on international, alternative, and documentary cinemas, while also providing a solid foundation in key elements of film history and theory, including Hollywood. This critical appraisal of such a wide range of genres gives you a solid understanding of what makes film work well, enabling you to improve your own production skills in camerawork, editing, lighting, screenwriting and production management.

You gain a strong sense of independent filmmaking practice, and learn to apply your academic knowledge of film through exploring topics including:
-The formal, social, cultural and political dimensions of films from both within and beyond Hollywood
-Fiction film production, including pre-production, camera, lighting and sound
-Classics of the documentary form , docufictions and mockumentaries
-Collective and individual filmmaking projects
-Storyboarding and editing

You also benefit from a series of masterclasses conducted by invited industry professionals which focus on the craft of filmmaking: developing your technical understanding of cinematography, directing and editing/postproduction.

These also introduce you to potential employment routes and industry career pathways, from setting up your own production company, to identifying and tapping into distribution networks, and preparing and marketing your completed films.

We are ranked Top 20 in the UK (Times Good University Guide 2015), and three-quarters of our research is rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (REF 2014).

This course is also available on a part-time basis.

Our expert staff

Our intensive modules are taught in small groups by expert academic film specialists and professional filmmakers.

The Centre for Film and Screen Media at Essex is part of a vital departmental unit that offers talented students the support and confidence to respond both critically and artistically to the study of film. This distinctive environment is possible because we are a community of award-winning film-makers, scholars, and media specialists; our staff over the years have included Oscar winners and BAFTA winners.

This course features academic staff who specialise in a wide range of production and critical areas, including producing, screenwriting, documentary, film theory, Soviet cinema, US cinema, films of the Asia and Pacific regions, modernism and the avant-garde, adaptation, and silent cinema. Production staff have extensive experience with organisations such as the BBC.

Our Department has a distinguished history of combining critical and creative work, and we have long been home to poets, novelists, translators, dramatists and actors, alongside literary critics, drama scholars, filmmakers and film theorists.

Specialist facilities

For your film production modules, you have priority use of industry-standard editing facilities, two state-of-the-art studios, and a range of cameras and other filmmaking equipment. You also gain experience using professional film production software including Avid and Final Cut; everything you will need to produce films to an expert standard.

You also have access to our other departmental facilities:
-Show off your work on our Vimeo channel
-View classic films at weekly film screenings in our dedicated 120-seat film theatre, equipped with digital HD projection facilities and surround sound
-Borrow DVDs from our substantial departmental collection
-Join student film societies and the Centre for Film and Screen Media film series, which screen and discuss both recent blockbusters and less mainstream arthouse films
-Hear writers talk about their craft and learn from leading specialists at weekly research seminars
-Our on-campus Lakeside Theatre has been established as a major venue for good drama, staging both productions by professional touring companies and a wealth of new work written, produced and directed by our own staff and students
-Improve your playwriting skills at our Lakeside Theatre Writers workshops
-Our Research Laboratory allows you to collaborate with professionals, improvising and experimenting with new work which is being tried and tested
-Write for our student magazine Albert or host a Red Radio show

Your future

We actively encourage and assist you to find appropriate internship and work placement opportunities during your studies, allowing you to practice and develop your skills and experience as well as enhancing your graduate employment prospects.

A number of our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies graduates have gone on to undertake successful careers as scholars, university lecturers, teachers, publishers, journalists, arts administrators, theatre artistic directors, drama advisers, filmmakers, film editors and translators.

We also offer supervision for PhD, MPhil and MA by Dissertation in different literatures and various approaches to literature, covering most aspects of early modern and modern writing in English, plus a number of other languages.

Our University is one of only 11 AHRC-accredited Doctoral Training Centres in the UK. This means that we offer funded PhD studentships which also provide a range of research and training opportunities.

We work with our Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Example structure

-Dissertation: MA Film Studies
-Research Methods in Literary and Cultural Analysis
-Film and Video Production Workshop
-Critical Moments in the Theory and History of Film
-Adaptation (optional)
-Advanced Film and Industry: Production and Industry (optional)
-Documentary and the Avant-garde: Film, Video, Digital (optional)
-Women Filmmakers (optional)

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This is a unique professional course that has been designed specifically for overseas students. MA Acting (International) offers the full spectrum of acting skills, including voice, movement and singing and approaches to rehearsal and public performances. Read more
This is a unique professional course that has been designed specifically for overseas students. MA Acting (International) offers the full spectrum of acting skills, including voice, movement and singing and approaches to rehearsal and public performances. The course focuses on advanced practical acting skills and also takes in the study of Shakespeare and other classical traditions.

Example structure

We offer dynamic and unique course for actors, directors, technical theatre specialists and students of theatre practice. Training at East 15 draws upon 50 years of tradition combined with a keen sense of the world of stage and screen today.

First Term
The first term includes the module Acting Technique based on the Stanislavsky approach, which addresses the key physical and vocal skills for acting, enabling students who are coming from a variety of training traditions to identify and achieve the required level of preparation for the subsequent modules.

It also allows tutors to make a diagnostic assessment of your skills and potential, and identify and implement any additional work in these core areas.

The module on Shakespeare enables you to develop your understanding of the meaning and mechanics of Shakespeare’s text. It introduces you to specific vocal techniques for the performance of Renaissance text and allow you to consider how a range of archaic and contemporary performance settings influence the actor’s and director’s approaches to Shakespeare in performance.

In addition, you study a range of analytical and experimental approaches to script that are useful to the actor and there are opportunities to develop your clarity, accuracy, and expressiveness in speaking Renaissance text. The Shakespeare module normally includes a two-week workshop at Shakespeare’s Globe, where you have an opportunity to perform on the Globe stage.

Second Term
The second term includes the Character and Scene Study module which extends the work begun in Acting Technique. It uses a Realist approach to acting as its base, allowing you to pursue longer and more challenging acting explorations. Scene work is undertaken on scripts by, for example, Ibsen, Strindberg, and Realist texts from the last 50 years. The module extends and applies Realist acting techniques, and includes a study of theories and assumptions underlying Realism.

A module on Contemporary UK Texts introduces you to key contemporary texts from the UK theatre, and to scripts from the twentieth-century that continue to have a place in and to influence contemporary UK theatre. It allows you to extend your vocal, physical, and analytical skills in the creation of roles that reflect a current cultural context and offers an opportunity to create and perform a complete role in the context of a fully staged play.

Third Term
You work on a written dissertation or a practical project. The year usually culminates in a full length production in a London venue.

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Essex is one of the oldest inhabited areas of the British Isles, a landscape shaped by human history. Our MA Wild Writing allows you to explore this landscape and the wilder landscapes of Britain, as well as those across the world, through a combination of science and literature modules. Read more
Essex is one of the oldest inhabited areas of the British Isles, a landscape shaped by human history. Our MA Wild Writing allows you to explore this landscape and the wilder landscapes of Britain, as well as those across the world, through a combination of science and literature modules. Our field trips take you outside the classroom, often in sun, sometimes in snow or rain. You gain an understanding of key environmental challenges while building your own ways of approaching writing about the wild: creative, critical, and scientific.

One of only five universities in the UK to offer a taught postgraduate course on literature and the environment, we are unique in our combination of modules on contemporary nature writing, ecocriticism, and psychogeographic literature.

Our full-year focus on writing about landscape, place, and the environment allows you the choice of focusing on developing your scholarly abilities through exploring ecocriticism, or on developing your creative writing practice about the natural world – or you can aim to advance both.

Your core modules cover topics including:
-The emergent creative non-fiction genre exemplified by figures such as Robert Macfarlane, Kathleen Jamie, and Helen Macdonald
19th – 21st century environmental poetry and prose
-Contemporary ecocriticism and environmental literature
-Psychogeography

An unusual collaboration between the departments of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies and Biological Sciences, we also offer you the opportunity to gain a greater scientific depth of knowledge about the natural world as you develop as a writer. You might want to explore the impacts and management of pollution or the ecology of fisheries.

You will explore the literature of landscape and the environment both within the seminar room and beyond, exploring the wild spaces of Essex and East Anglia through field trips that take you to wonderfully wild worlds in the company of leading experts. We visit inspiring areas including Mersea Island, Orford Ness, Tilbury, and the Norfolk Fens.

Our expert staff

Our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies is ranked Top 200 in the QS World University Rankings (2016), with three-quarters of our research rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (REF 2014).

Teachers on the course include the internationally renowned ecocriticism scholar Dr Susan Oliver, who is a specialist in Romantic and 19th-century studies; the poet and nature writer Dr Chris McCully; and, environmental scholar and writer Professor Jules Pretty.

The MA Wild Writing is led by the writer Dr James Canton, who recently spoke on Radio 4’s ‘Open Country’ about the landscapes of Essex, and specialises in nature and travel writing.

Specialist facilities

-Start to get some publications to your name by writing for our student nature writing blog Wildeasters
-Access our archives – the University of Essex is home to the notebooks, diaries, maps, letters, and binoculars of J. A. Baker, author of the critically acclaimed The Peregrine (1967)
-Learn from leading writers and literature specialists at weekly research seminars
-Hear writers talk about their craft and learn from leading literature specialists at the Essex Book Festival – the festival director is based in our department, and loads of events take place on campus
-Get involved onstage or behind the scenes at our on-campus Lakeside Theatre
-Learn a language for free alongside your course

Your future

A number of our graduates from the MA Wild Writing have gone on to undertake successful careers as writers; others are practicing artists, scholars or environmentalists. One now works on climate change in Washington, another is a “wild practitioner” who work on the relation between nature and mental health and another now works for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Police around Chesapeake Bay!

We work with our Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

We also offer supervision for PhD, MPhil and MA by Dissertation in different literatures and various approaches to literature, covering most aspects of early modern and modern writing in English, plus a number of other languages. Our University is one of only 11 AHRC-accredited Doctoral Training Centres in the UK, which means that we offer funded PhD studentships which also provide a range of research and training opportunities.

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This is a unique professional course that has been designed specifically for those who already are or wish to become professional theatre directors. Read more
This is a unique professional course that has been designed specifically for those who already are or wish to become professional theatre directors. MA Theatre Directing is open to students from around the world. East 15 runs some modules overseas, mostly recently in Moscow, Thailand and Bali, involving specialist practical study in another cultural environment. Teaching is by a wide range of leading experienced directors and professional practitioners from the UK and overseas.

Why we're great

-East 15 is a fully accredited Drama UK school and scores highest in the country for student satisfaction.
-We give our actors and directors the chance to work together on collaborative projects.
-Use state-of-the-art filmmaking and editing resources, and our extensive studio and performance spaces.

Example structure

-MA Theatre Directing Written Dissertation (optional)
-MA Dissertation By Director's Production Workbook (optional)
-Contemporary British Drama (optional)
-Brecht and His Influences (optional)
-The Techniques of Adaptation (optional)
-Collaboration with Designers (optional)
-Attachment (Assistant Director) (optional)
-Directing in Drama Schools/Universities (optional)
-The Artistic Director (optional)
-Independent Directing Project (optional)
-Theatre of the East (Field Study Option) (optional)
-Shakespeare (optional)
-Music Theatre (optional)
-Stanislavskian Acting Methodology (optional)
-Meyerhold & Biomechanics (optional)
-MFA Theatre Directing Written Dissertation (optional)
-MFA Dissertation By Director's Production Workbook (optional)
-MFA Theatre Directing Dissertation By Practical Project (optional)

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