Masters degrees in Performance and Live Arts offer advanced study of (and training in) the production of dramatic works, typically for stage and theatre shows.
Taught MA and MFA courses are typical for the field. Entry requirements normally include an appropriate undergraduate degree, such as Drama or Theatre Studies.
Courses in this field offer an interdisciplinary approach to performance study, combining principals, theory and practise in dance, drama and acting. You will explore topics such as audiences, narrative and the body in relation to digital technologies, collaboration and adaptation.
You will gain a holistic skill set in performance production, exploring practical techniques such as voice training and choreography alongside scriptwriting, set design, lighting and costume.
In scrutinising different performances, you will develop a sensitivity to cultural the cultural and historical influences from across the globe on the development of live performance. Consideration is also given to site-specific performance, from theatres to museums and art galleries.
Careers in this field are highly varied, ranging from performance work within actors’ guilds and theatre companies, to specialist technical roles such as lighting and sound technicians.
The MA Contemporary Performance Practice is a practical, interdisciplinary course that will introduce you to a range of approaches and concepts, which are vital to the making of live performance in and in response to the world today. It will equip you with the skills and knowledge to function in contemporary performance environments, as a performer, maker, collaborative practitioner and researcher.
Drawing upon the excellent facilities for making live performance at New Adelphi and MediaCityUK, this course also provides the entrepreneurial and employability skills you need to function as a practitioner in the wider creative industries.
This course will also allow you to extend and develop skill sets through interdisciplinary exchange and collaboration, mirroring working environments within the creative industries. You will develop the ability to think dynamically, act originally, collaborate and function effectively in creative workplaces, integrating theoretical concepts, creative practice and real world skills.
You will also, through the core modules and final project, develop your own contemporary performance practice, culminating in the presentation of a significant piece of work, which you can then go on to use in professional contexts.
MA Contemporary Performance Practice offers you the opportunity to develop and refine your current practices, learn about new skills and approaches and engage with the issues most relevant to making performance in the world now.
Through the course you will:
From the outset, you will work in an interdisciplinary fashion. Your induction will include a creative collaborative project, that will acclimatise you to the ways of working on the programme and other students.
Programme modules are delivered through practical workshops, keynote lectures, seminars, and artist-led residencies. Seminars and student-centred symposia initiate independent work, and foster and facilitate collaborative partnerships and small group work. Adaptability of graduates is considered a core vocational outcome that reflects the hybridity of global culture and is an essential strategy for learning on the programme.
The programme fosters an intensive laboratory research culture intended to explore practice, deconstruct ideas, identify needs and skillsets and apply acquired knowledge to the construction of new modes of practice. At the core of this culture is the encouragement to consistently triangulate theory and reflection with personal practice. Philosophically the programme embraces diversity, innovation and accessibility through these student-centred approaches.
Assessment is via a balanced combination of formative and summative opportunities for each module, which promotes and responds to a fluid and processual development of your practice. Formal opportunities to write are combined with oral presentations, a range of performance outcomes and online portfolios.
You will be assessed through:
Digital Performance Lab at MediaCity UK.
Theatre, studio and specialist rehearsal spaces and acting studios at New Adelphi.
Graduates will be able to work in a range of environments from the cultural sector to future media, interactive design and production, small scale touring, venue based and independent production, theatre-making, performing and writing, community arts practices and applied theatre-making with defined sectors.
People who work in the field of contemporary performance are able to work across a wide range of applied areas of creative design and application. This ranges from traditional arts settings to the fields of interactive design, new media production and, as the use of digitally driven interfaces increases, into more commercially driven areas of work. Contemporary performance experts can have a broad set of skills from devising and composition, to technical design, production management, programming, script-development, video editing and post-production skills.
Potential employers include arts venues and organisations, educational providers and film companies. Skills employed in the making of contemporary performance, such as independent and collaborative problem solving, gathering and synthesis of elements, understanding and integration of the needs of a range of stakeholders, can be used to address many areas of creative practice. Graduates will also be equipped through the programme to pursue careers as individual, self-employed practitioners working across forms and disciplines.
The programme has links with the following organisations and begins each year with a creative intensive, led by a key contemporary performance practitioner:
Graduates of this programme will be well prepared, through its mix of theoretical and practical research, to pursue practice based MPhils/PhDs, which will build on and develop further practices established within the MA.
Explore the potential of performance design with this wide-ranging programme.
You’ll develop an awareness of the performance events and experiences that can be created with the aid of lighting, projection, settings and objects, puppetry, props, costume, sound as well as newer technologies such as digital and pervasive media. You’ll have space to experiment and come up with innovative and creative ideas for performance, while learning more about the theories and concepts that are shaping emergent forms of theatre, art and performance practice.
As you build up your MA portfolio you’ll engage with contemporary performance and arts practices – including immersive and participatory forms of performance, as well as those outside of the theatre – while considering the role they play in their wider social, cultural and economic landscape. This is the only research-orientated programme in the UK tailored towards academic and practical engagement with performance design.
You’ll be based in our purpose-built landmark building [email protected], with two professional-standard and publicly licensed theatres that regularly host works by students and visiting theatre companies. One of these is a technically advanced research facility, and both are fully equipped with the latest technology. A dance studio, dressing rooms and box office are also in the building, and our School includes rehearsal rooms, two black-box studios, costume construction and wardrobe stores, a design studio and scenic workshop, video editing and sound recording suits as well as computer aided design.
But our biggest strength is our links with external organisations, which give you the chance to get outside the theatre and explore performance in different environments. Our partners include Opera North, West Yorkshire Playhouse, the National Media Museum, Leeds City Council, Red Ladder Theatre Company, Limehouse Productions, Phoenix Dance Theatre, the National Coal Mining Museum for England, HMP New Hall, Blah BlahBlah Theatre Company, the BBC and HMP Wetherby.
Throughout the programme, you’ll develop an awareness of research methods and approaches in performance and the cultural industries. In Semester One, you’ll also take a core module which introduces you to key concepts, theories and ideas in performance design, exploring ideas such as visuality and the theatre, spectacle, audience experience and multi-sensorial performance.
This foundation will inform the rest of your studies, including your practice. In Semester One you’ll also work with a range of scenographic materials to develop your own creative practice, spending time in practical workshops alongside lectures where you’ll consider current issues and debates in performance design and the role of practice-led research.
In Semester Two you’ll apply all the knowledge and skills you’ve gained to an independent research project, which could be practice-led or a written dissertation on a topic of your choice. You’ll also be able to spend more time on your practice – you’ll have the chance to complete an individual project, or to collaborate with fellow students from across the School, or work on another small-scale research project based on a two-week placement in an external organisation. Alternatively you could choose from optional modules on topics such as audience engagement or debates on culture and place.
If you choose to study part-time, you’ll study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.
These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.
We use different teaching and learning methods to help you develop your skills and make the most of our tutors’ expertise, including, practicals, seminars, tutorials, lectures and group learning. Independent study is also integral to the programme, since it helps you to form your own ideas and build skills in research and analysis.
The assessment methods you experience will vary depending on the module. However, to allow you to develop skills in a range of areas they will include essays, performances, visual documentation, verbal presentations, critical evaluations and reports.
This programme will give you the knowledge and skills to become an articulate and creative performance design practitioner. This could include; working as a designer or director in theatre, live performance, festivals or the events industry (either within a company or freelance), creating your own performance events or performance company, or working in community arts.
You’ll also gain a range of transferable skills in research, analysis, interpretation and communication, as well as imagination, independence and cultural awareness. This will equip you to work for a variety of roles across the cultural and creative industries, for example, in administration, marketing and management.
Because of the emphasis on research, it’s also good preparation for PhD-level study and teaching.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.
Designed by performance makers for performance makers, this course will give you the opportunity to make new theatre, dance, digital and live performance work. You will be guided by of a team of research active, internationally acclaimed staff who are committed to making performance matter.
Whether you are a recent theatre or performance graduate, a professional arts worker, an emerging artist, or work in education, your course will see you learn among a diverse range of performance communities.
You will be immersed in an artist-centred learning environment and you will connect with other like-minded people interested in creating captivating performance work. We will give you the skills to expand and reframe your current practices within a supportive community that values practice-led research, and we will also give you the platform to perform your work at national and international festivals.
Research Excellence Framework 2014
Research Excellence Framework 2014: our University demonstrated strength in five emerging areas of research which it entered into the assessment for the first time, including in music, drama, dance and performing arts.
You will have access to expert teaching staff and their network of contacts which stretch beyond Europe.In recent years our students have performed at festivals around the world - these include Sibiu International Theatre Festival (Romania), Dyonisus Theatre Festival (Croatia), Edinburgh Festival, Latitude Festival (Suffolk), Gift Festival (Gateshead) and also locally at Leeds Festival.
Our students have undertaken professional placements with among others: Guillermo Gomez Pena, Robert Pacitti, Red Ladder Theatre, Third Angel, Leeds and Latitude Music Festivals, Bilbao Bai Theatre School, Kate Craddock (Mouth to Mouth), and The Kantor Archive (Noel Witts).
Your course can be tailored to suit your specific interests. In collaboration with your tutors, you will design your own learning contracts and will take ownership of how you are assessed in many of your modules. These contracts will help you develop as a fully rounded, multi-skilled, creative and reflective artist. Your course will enhance your ability to work successfully in a range of artistic and professional contexts, and it will also prepare you for further study should you wish to pursue a career in academia.
The course offers students the opportunity to study theatre and performance studies in a dynamic research environment in the heart of London. From avant-garde drama to political action, queer performance, live art, dance, cultural tourism, and the spectacles of the West End, you will be introduced to a range of theatre and performance theories and practices.
Ideal for students who have recently completed an undergraduate degree in Theatre, English or related fields, or spent time engaging in performance practice or work in related industries.
Our course offers you the opportunity to study in a dynamic research environment in the heart of London. Our required modules will provide you with a deep understanding and critical awareness of current problems and new insights in the field, and the ability to critically evaluate current research and advanced scholarship. They will also give you the skills needed to undertake advanced research and scholarship in the field, and enable you to evaluate and critique various methodological approaches to practice-based and scholarly research. Our optional modules will allow you the freedom to explore your personal interests further.
Finally, your 15,000-word dissertation, supervised by an academic member of staff, will give you the opportunity to demonstrate your ability to undertake advanced research in the field in an area of your choice.
Ideal for prospective students who have recently completed an undergraduate degree in Theatre, English or related fields, or spent time engaging in performance practice or work in related industries. The course invites considered reflection on performance and performativity, emphasising close reading, research, and interdisciplinary approaches to theatre and the arts.
We will develop your skills and knowledge through lectures, seminars, optional workshops and tutorials.
If you’re a full-time student we will provide you with 4-5 hours per week teaching over the course through lectures, seminars and feedback. We will expect you to undertake 38 hours of independent study per week.
If you’re a part-time student, in your first year we will provide 2hours of teaching per week, and we will expect you to undertake 18 hours of independent study per week. In your second year, we will provide 2-3 hours of teaching per week, and we will expect you to undertake 18 hours of independent study per week.
Typically, one credit equates to ten hours of work.
We will assess your performance through coursework and presentation.
This MA provides a next step in performance-making skills, and in documenting and promoting your work. You'll develop your capacity for devising, physical theatre, directing, choreography, solo work and live art, building on your existing knowledge with new directions in collaboration, composition, and documentation. We work in studio spaces to allow a free flow between practical work and discussion.
You will have the opportunity to benefit from our close contact with a wide range of companies and artists based in London. Leading professionals we have worked with include:
You'll learn how performers can take different routes into the world of work – not everyone's routes have to look the same. We create an environment to support excellence in professional practice and we'll work with you to develop your portfolio of skills and documentation.
Through the course, you'll have the chance to take part in independent and group projects, and to engage critically and practically with a wide range of performance practices. While you develop your projects, you'll also be able to use our distinctive performance spaces on the campus – including the state of the art Caryl Churchill Theatre, a converted ‘found space’ Boilerhouse Theatre and the only permanent Noh stage outside of Japan. Towards the end of the course, you'll select a subject area that really interests you, working on your own independently-researched dissertation.
You'll be assessed on creative and critical responses to course content, and these could take diverse forms. The course addresses the centrality of diverse approaches to contexts within the world of work through the development of a portfolio of skills and increased capacities in documentation, as part of a means of self-representation for professional practice.
During the autumn and spring terms your modules will prepare you for your independent research final project. The shape of this assessment will be responsive to the areas of interest and expertise you have developed over the year. For instance, in addition to the more usual end of year performance that some students will pursue, we can support internships with reflective documentation, curation of an arts project with documentation or a series of workshops with analysis of progress, to name just a few.
You will also work over the year on a dissertation that arises from a specific research question or topic in the field of contemporary performance practices.
Our graduates have gone on into professional performance-making both through development of collaborations begun on the course and through joining established companies. They have started careers in theatre training and in education including practical teaching at postgraduate level.
If you come to the end of the course and find yourself curious about an area of study – or want to take your dissertation topic further – the MA is a perfect grounding for a PhD, with many of our students going onto advanced research with us.
The Master of Design for Performance is a unique two-year program for designers and visual artists who wish to develop the skills necessary for a professional career in designing scenery, props and/or costumes for live performance.
The intensive program combines theoretical and hands-on training with the core emphasis on gaining the knowledge, skills and creative capacity required to practice your own craft professionally. As collaboration is at the heart of design for performance, your creative ideas will develop through artistic collaborations with directors, choreographers, designers and other performance makers at the VCA, providing a unique opportunity to develop creative partnerships that can lead to future collaborations in the profession.
Through formal classes, workshops and studio-based learning you will develop a deep understanding of the role of design in performance and develop your own unique approach to this process. You are provided with the tuition and facilities to develop advanced skills in a range of 2D and 3D visualisation techniques both by hand and using new technologies. These skills are employed to document and communicate ideas, and produce graphic props and projected image on stage.
You will also be supported to find industry placements in the area of your choice, where you can observe and assist professional designers in the performing arts industry. These placements can be with companies or individual designers locally, nationally or internationally. Through these industry placements and designing productions staged within VCA you will hone your skills and develop a portfolio of work in a variety of performance styles that can include theatre, dance, music theatre, opera and other cross discipline productions.
Explore diverse forms of contemporary theatre with this practical course. You’ll study areas including devised performance and live art, community and applied theatres, new playwriting, classic texts on the contemporary stage, and documentary and verbatim theatre. Our teaching team has strong links with many major venues, theatre companies and practitioners, with Sheffield recently named best theatre city outside London.
Improve both your research and performance skills by working with practising theatre-makers and arts organisations. We have a fully equipped theatre workshop and studio spaces, a publicly licensed drama studio, and excellent editing and recording facilities.
You’ll examine early modern texts, language and culture. Staff expertise includes palaeography, rhetoric, news writing, the sermon, drama, and issues of political, sectarian and national identity between 1400 and 1700. Modules (including modules from History) can be tailored to suit your interests. You’ll complete one core module, optional modules and a dissertation.
Study eighteenth-century literature to develop a broad range of advanced skills. The focus is on the interface between historical and literary approaches, and you’ll be introduced to current academic debates and research methods in the field. Spanning eighteenth century prose and poetry, Romantic poetry, prose, and drama, and Gothic literature, there’s an incredible range to choose between.
We’re based in a brand new building at the heart of the campus. There are computer workstations especially for postgraduates and a DVD library with viewing facilities. Our theatre workshop is a fully equipped teaching/performance area with excellent film-viewing facilities and audio suites.
The University Library subscribes to the major periodicals and full-text electronic archives, including Early English Books Online and Eighteenth-Century Collections Online. Special collections include an outstanding collection of Restoration drama, the Hope Collection of eighteenth-century periodicals, the Jack Rosenthal scripts collection, and papers of contemporary writers such as Anita Brookner, Marina Warner, Fay Weldon and Peter Redgrove.
There are a number of studentships and fee bursaries available, funded by the University. Deadlines for funding applications are usually in winter/early spring. For details, see our website.
If you intend to progress to a PhD, your course can be tailored to include essential research training. The same applies to students on the online course.
Part-time students usually take one taught module in each semester. In the second year, you’ll also take a dissertation module. For most courses, you’ll need to come in for one half-day per week. The MA Creative Writing is taught in the evening. Some modules, such as Theatre and Performance, may require greater time commitment. We try to be as flexible as possible to accommodate the different needs of our students.
You’ll be taught through practical workshops, productions and seminars. You’ll be assessed on performance practice, written coursework and a dissertation.