Masters degrees in Theatre Studies offer advanced training in the technical and contextual aspects of theatre performance, including its history and modes of production.
Taught MA and MFA courses are typical for the field. Entry requirements normally include an undergraduate degree in a revenant subject such as Performance Studies or Drama.
Courses in this field explore dramaturgy (roles and technologies) for theatre performance, from scriptwriters to choreographers and designers, and their historical development.
You will examine a variety of theatre types, from classical theatre and comedy, to physical theatre and musicals. This includes exploring the development of performance through history, from periods such as the Elizabethan and Jacobean ages, to contemporary practices.
Practical methodologies include techniques for acting, devising, performance art, playwriting, lighting, and audio visual techniques. You will also examine theatre in relation to its sociocultural and sociohistorical context, including theory such as aesthetics, semiotics, cross-culturalism and social politics.
Careers are highly varied, but could include roles such as directing, marketing or communications for any number of theatre companies. Graduates also explore roles in stage management, or careers in film, radio and TV.
The aim of the MA in Musical Theatre course is to provide you with the advanced skills to prepare you for work in a diverse industry. The course reflects the varied nature of working in musical theatre; it will provide you with the opportunity to focus on professional practice, whilst enabling you to learn how to promote both yourself (as practitioner, academic and/or performer) and the work you create. More importantly, it creates an environment where you have to work collaboratively.
The MA in Musical Theatre provides you with the unique opportunity of a residency, designed to help you create, prepare and stage work in a theatre. Working closely with industry specialists, you will nurture the skills required to help you make a contribution to contemporary musical theatre. You will also foster flexible skills which can be applied to a wide range of career opportunities in the musical theatre industry and beyond, including; teamwork skills, problem solving, self-promotion, working to deadlines and critical thinking.
You will experience a wide variety of learning activities in Musical Theatre to ensure your professional development as an emerging practitioner in your chosen specialist areas. Contact hours are tailored to both full-time and part time delivery; part time delivery allows you to study alongside full-time employment.
Teaching and learning will normally take place in a variety of continually evolving contexts, including an appropriate balance of the following kinds of activity:
a) Workshops, rehearsals, productions, practical classes, laboratory or studio-based practice, screenings, lectures, discussions (both online and in class), seminars, and tutorials. You will be encouraged to apply your knowledge and understanding of critical theory to case studies within regional, national and international contexts;
b) Group and individual learning;
c) Residency in Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton with a view to creating an annual festival of musical theatre (especial relevance in enhancing your employability and ability to be enterprising)
d) There will be the opportunity to participate in and contribute to Musical Theatre West Midlands Writers’ Hub, regular monthly composer/writer hubs to showcase new writing.
Each semester students are invited to attend optional musical theatre productions in the local area and nationally. We suggest budgeting £100 for these trips if you wish to participate.
Most years, students take an optional international field trip to a major city of musical theatre production. Future visits may include New York, Washington D.C or Bochum, Germany. We suggest budgeting around £1000 for the trip if you wish to participate.
We continue to develop state of the art facilities which will greatly enhance your learning experience. Our state-of-the-art performing arts and learning centre; The Performance Hub, opened in 2011 and is the home for all of our performance courses. The hub features five performance studios with semi-sprung floors that are ideal for rehearsals and small performances. . The studios feature state of the art audio/visual equipment. As well as several music rehearsal rooms, The Performance Hub has recording facilities, with two computer suites equipped with iMacs running Protools, Logic, Cubase and Sibelius software and two recording studios with analogue and digital recording equipment. The university is proud to be an All Steinway School and home to 17 Steinway pianos, five of which are in rehearsal studio spaces. Our 108 seat Black Box Theatre is one of the most technically advanced small theatres in the country and is ideal for a range of performing arts activities.
We are a thriving department of research active academics in musical theatre, teaching is research led. Journals we have published in include Studies in Musical Theatre and Journal of Bisexuality; with forthcoming book chapters in Routledge’s Twenty First Century Musicals: From Stage to Screen (2017), Oxford Press’s The Oxford Handbook of the British Musical (2016) and Bloomsbury Methuen’s The Disney Musical on Stage and Screen: Critical Approaches from 'Snow White' to 'Frozen' (2017). We have presented our research nationally and internationally at leading conferences in the field.
Current research specialisms include: gender and racial politics in musical theatre of the 1960s, the film musical and the female spectator, subsidised revivals of the American canon, queer theory, reception theory, contemporary musicals and masculinity, the British musical.
Dr Sarah Whitfield: Course Leader MA Musical Theatre, Senior Lecturer in Musical Theatre
BA (hons), MA, PGCHE, PhD, fHEA
Dramaturg, lyricist/librettist, director, theatre historian, education, course development.
Sarah Browne: Principal Lecturer in Musical Theatre, Head of Department of Music
BA (hons), MPhil, PGCE
Conducting, arranging, orchestral and vocal arrangements, musicology, vocal tuition, education, course development.
James Lovelock: Lecturer in Musical Theatre
BMus (hons), MPhil, PGCE
Composer, lyricist/librettist, director, dramaturg, vocal coach, improvised musical, musicology,
Upon completion of the course you may consider a number of potential employment routes, depending on the path chosen. These may include, but are not limited to, for example; writer/composer/choreographer or musical director, teacher or workshop facilitator, marketing administrator, or work in production and promotion. Alternatively, you may also consider further study at doctorate level.
Graduates of the MA in Musical Theatre will exhibit;
• a systematic understanding of knowledge, and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of musical theatre practice
• a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to their own research or advanced scholarship
• originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in musical theatre
• conceptual understanding that enables the student:
- to evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship in musical theatre
- to evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them and, where appropriate, to propose new hypotheses.
This Masters programme engages with a range of theatre and performance practices, explored in a critically informed context. The programme encompasses practices such as contemporary devising and production dramaturgy, writing for performance, site-specific and locational performance, autobiographical performance, physical theatre(s) and socially/politically engaged practice. You will be encouraged to develop a reflective, rigorous and critically informed approach to theatre practice, with the intention of enriching and enhancing your creative work and furthering your career as a theatre/performance practitioner. You will be taught by leading academics as well as external professional practitioners.
The programme is designed to give you a practical and critical engagement with many forms of theatre and performance practice.
You will take core courses and create a portfolio of optional courses according to your personal interests and perceived needs. You can also select some courses from across the College of Arts, enabling an interdisciplinary approach.
The programme concludes with an independent research project. This provides you with a degree of flexibility in relation to the focus of your advanced study. It permits further applied practice or the opportunity to undertake an in-depth written study on an area of your choice.
This programme is ideal for practitioners who want to develop their practice; graduates who are planning a career in theatre making; and those who want to look more in depth into aspects of theatre practice they have enjoyed and benefitted from through undergraduate studies. The programme also provides an excellent foundation for PhD studies and an academic career.
This Masters programme engages with a wide variety of histories and practices attached to the study of theatre. It is designed to enable you to become proficient in the techniques of historical, sociological and theoretical analysis of the theatrical process, past and present. A key strength of this programme is its flexibility, which enables you to create a portfolio of courses based on your individual needs and interests. You will be taught by leading academics as well as external professional practitioners.
The programme is mostly comprised of optional courses, enabling you to create your own Masters programme. It also allows you to work in an interdisciplinary capacity, selecting courses from across the College of Arts, according to personal interests. The programme convenor will work with you to ensure a sensible portfolio of courses is constructed, according to your personal aims and objectives.
Core teaching is delivered in two semesters, followed by an independent desk- or practice-based project. The Independent Research Project provides an opportunity for you to identify an area of interest and to create a research project that allows in-depth critical exploration of this.
You will undertake five optional courses which you will select from a pool of courses. Optional courses are updated each year, but may include:
By the end of this programme you will have developed knowledge of a range of issues pertinent to the study of theatre, including historical, contemporary, theoretical and practical. This programme will allow you to develop a wide range of subject knowledge combined with confidence in utilising different research methodologies.
This programme examines the nature and function of the theatrical event and theatre culture from a range of critical, historical and practical perspectives. It prepares you for a wide range of careers closely connected to theatre provision and production.
The programme's critical components also provide a good foundation for those wishing to progress to doctoral study.
You may also be involved in supporting Out of Character, a theatre company comprising service users and students. or watch a documentary of their production at The York Theatre Royal.
Make exciting work and develop creative approaches - As part of York St John University’s Creative Practice hub, this MA programme shares some of its modules with companion MA awards in Music Composition, Theatre and Performance and Fine Arts. This offers exciting cross-disciplinary opportunities to develop creative skills.
Study at a centre of expertise - Applied and community practice at York St John University is well established across a range of art forms. Experienced lecturers have expertise and research activity in the fields of health, youth, education and community contexts.
The programme is designed to focus on developing your abilities and capacities for professional, vocational and academic innovation. We emphasise relationships between practice and theory, reflection and documentation. This degree is structured to enable candidates who already have some experience of theatre, drama and performance practice to expand their artistic horizons, encounter related knowledge and discourses and develop specific skills in applied theatre.
This element of the MA award consists of two 40 credit modules, which are discipline specific modules particular to MA Applied Theatre. These modules will be primarily focused around your own practice, contextualised by examination of various key practitioners, modes or epistemologies.
The modules are:
This module invites you to interrogate the processes – from conception and implementation to evaluation and analysis – employed in applied theatre practice. You will be invited to critically consider and evaluate a range of methodological strategies of making, thinking and doing as utilised in applied theatre practice. Emphasis will be placed on reflexive approaches to practice in order to heighten your appreciation of the impact of your work. Accordingly the political, ethical and aesthetic dimensions of applied theatre work will be foregrounded so that you will deepen your awareness of the contexts in which your work takes place and the implications of the choices made in your own practice.
This module provides you with the opportunity to critically explore, test and model approaches to applied and community arts practice. You will engage in the claims made for the ‘efficacy’ of applied theatre practices seeking to understand their underlying assumptions. The focus will be on the exploration of how the concepts and rationales at play in applied and community practice manifest themselves in the ethics, impacts and aesthetics of applied practice. This module will provide you with the opportunity to engage with conceptual and theoretical issues relating to applied theatre at an advanced level.
Creativity and Knowledge
This strand, consisting of two 20 credit modules, is designed to deepen your understanding of key interdisciplinary questions, concepts and methodologies in the arts.
The modules are:
You will be invited to interrogate a range of key themes relating to the relationship between art and the wider cultural, social, economic circumstances of its production and reception.
consists of investigation into concepts of practice-based research in the arts and the examination of the epistemological and ideological implications of the widening of traditional concepts of research that such developments entail.
This strand of modules is taught cross-disciplinarily with students on the MA programmes within Creative Practice.
Masters Independent Project
Together these taught elements lead into the final Independent Project module, where MA students undertake an extended period of supervised practice-based research.
The programme begins in September each year. The taught modules will normally consist of weekly sessions scheduled on one day a week. There may also be the occasional intensive weekend sessions.
Further information on this course is available in the programme specification. Please note that the programme specification relates to course content that is currently being studied by students at the University. For new programmes, the programme specification will be made available online prior to the start of the course.
York St John University works hard to create an inclusive environment for all our students. We offer a range of learning support services to assist students throughout their studies.
The MA Creative Enterprise allows you to combine your passion for the arts with studies in law, management and entrepreneurship. On the theatre pathway, you’ll explore theatre practice and its critical contexts, learn about the importance of programming and curating in the contemporary theatre landscape, and deepen your understanding of industry trends and practices.
This MA programme is a collaboration, taught by three world-renowned schools at the University of Reading – the School of Arts and Communication Design, Henley Business School and the School of Law. You will be based in the department of Film, Theatre and Television, situated at the heart of the University’s Whiteknights campus.
The theatre pathway is ideal if you are hoping to develop a career in arts journalism, theatre management and administration, entrepreneurial projects in theatre and the creative industries, or arts teaching and research. Our students are encouraged to make the most of our excellent connections to the creative industries right from the start of the course.
You will join a vibrant, supportive department, based in the world-class Minghella Studios. Our teaching is informed by expertise in a range of contemporary-theatre themes, and our community of academic staff has a longstanding commitment to scholarly excellence and research through practice.
While studying on the theatre pathway, you will also benefit from working alongside students on other Creative Enterprise pathways (such as Film and Art), opening up even more opportunities for you to build connections, and to enrich your understanding of the creative industries.
Modules on the MA Creative Enterprise (Theatre Pathway) may include:
Please note that all modules are subject to change.
The MA Creative Enterprise is designed to improve the skills and employability of people passionate about the arts. Graduates of the programme will be in a strong position to pursue start-up opportunities on their own, take managerial roles in the creative sector, or embark on further scholarly research into the arts and creative industries.
Musical Theatre at Winchester focuses on the academic study of musical theatre, preparing you for a career in teaching, lecturing, research, reviewing, writing or direction. It is also suitable if you are a professional interested in honing your analytical and critical skills, out of a passion for the subject or in order to change career direction. The programme provides you with a firm grounding in the critical theories and dramaturgical structures of musical theatre that are necessary for analysing, critiquing, directing and composing musical theatre texts. You are encouraged to engage with academic literature, case studies and each other by reflecting on your own experiences.
The suite of Masters programmes in the Department of Performing Arts draws together students on courses in Theatre Studies, Musical Theatre and Dance. You work together on modules in Critical Theories and Dramaturgies (Analysis and Composition) and in the optional intensive practical module, benefiting from interdisciplinary interactions, debates and discussions. Over the duration of the course, you develop skills in independent and critical learning, building your confidence and expertise progressively through independent and collaborative research, problem solving, and analysis with the support of staff.
You specialise through your choice of optional module and through supervision of Research Preparation and Dissertation modules. Optional modules include Theatre Stories, Cultural Entrepreneurship, Performance Now, and British Theatre 1945–2015. The programme can be taken entirely by distance/blended learning, but Intensive Practice, Extending the Voice, and Physical Skills 3 are only available on campus and may be subject to audition.
The course prepares you for a range of careers, including research, teaching in schools or at further and higher education levels, the entertainment industry, the performance sector and production-related work, and outreach and facilitatory roles in community and social care settings.
These courses provide a solid foundation for careers in the performance industry, such as choreography, direction and dramaturgy; the entertainment industry such as criticism, literary management, marketing and education roles; teaching; research or archival-based careers; and social care settings including community outreach and facilitator roles.
*Subject to validation
'Validation' is the process by which the University approves a new programme to ensure that it provides a distinct, high-quality academic experience for students, that enables them to acquire the necessary academic knowledge, understanding, general and subject-specific skills required to pursue a graduate level career. In the unlikely event that a programme is not validated then we will do our best to find you an alternative programme within the University.
UK, EU, World
What can theatre tell us about everyday life in a digital culture? How does dance inform and shape society? How can we analyse, interpret and respond to this - as critical thinkers? In this programme you will learn how to investigate and reflect on the dynamic ways in which theatrical and choreographic practices respond to a society in transition. This programme welcomes both Dutch and international students who are interested in dramaturgy, programming and curating, critical writing and art criticism, as well as arts professionals who wish to enrich their practice through academic research.
Contemporary performance practices are increasingly hybrid projects that approach and transcend the borders of theatre, dance, visual arts, music, media and daily life. Theatre and dance are inextricably linked with other media that shape our reality; they extend beyond the theatre’s walls and inject themselves into our daily lives. Theories and concepts derived from the performing arts are progressively deployed in cultural theory and (social) science. Such a field in transition demands an approach that studies theatre and dance as intermedial and interdisciplinary phenomena, and addresses the interrelationships of these phenomena, the audience and the socio-cultural context.
This dynamic is the focus of our Contemporary Theatre, Dance and Dramaturgy programme.
Fully taught in English, this Master’s programme takes an academic approach to contemporary performance. We closely collaborate with the field of theatre and dance in the Netherlands and Flanders, internationally regarded as the forerunners of the exciting new trends that emerge on the European stage. You will get acquainted with state-of-the-art theory yet we are also actively oriented towards the practice of theatre and dance. This is exemplified by the focus on dramaturgy, an internship in the second semester, and the many opportunities to meet with practitioners, build-in components within the programme and closely related to the staff’s expansive network.
Our research focus areas include:
Since the workfield is multifaceted and comprises both larger and smaller companies as well as public and private initiatives, many alumni combine various jobs - for instance, dramaturge and writer or programmer and artistic advisor. Read more about possible career prospects.
This programme aims to create a firm grounding in the critical theories and dramaturgical structures that are necessary for analysing, critiquing or creating performances within Theatre Studies. There are also opportunities for practical engagement in this discipline and in the disciplines of Dance and Musical Theatre Studies.
The aim of this course is to prepare you for a diverse range of opportunities as researchers and academics, or in the performing arts sector and beyond. You are encouraged to engage with academic literature, case studies and each other by reflecting on your own work and experiences.
Regardless of your chosen pathway, you all work together on the Critical Theories and Dramaturgies: Analysis and Composition modules to benefit from interdisciplinary interactions, debates and discussions. You are able to specialise, and thus identify your graduating pathway, through your choice of topics within the core modules, your choice of optional modules, and principally your choice of research area in the Research Preparation and Dissertation modules.
UK, EU, World
Predominantly by distance learning via skype or other software during the early evening, though attendance in Winchester at these sessions is encouraged where possible. The Intensive Practice module is delivered as a series of intensive blocks in Winchester at weekends or during vacation periods. Some of the optional modules are only available in weekly daytime sessions in Winchester
King Alfred or West Downs, University of Winchester
We are committed to providing timely and appropriate feedback to you on your academic progress and achievement in order to enable you to reflect on your progress and plan your academic and skills development effectively. You are also encouraged to seek additional feedback from your course tutors.
For more information about our regulations for this course, please see our
Successful entry on to this Guildford School of Acting (GSA) programme means you will be part of a carefully selected and committed ensemble of performers-in-training, equipped with the necessary self-discipline and motivation to master new skills and refine existing capabilities.
GSA is one of the UK’s leading accredited drama schools, providing dedicated conservatoire training within a purpose built environment on the University of Surrey campus.
We place a very strong emphasis on the practical acquisition of technical skills together with a dedicated focus on professional development, and provide opportunities to combine these skills into musical theatre rehearsal projects and public performances.
The programme is intensive and specifically designed to equip participants in the ‘triple-threat’ disciplines of acting, singing, dancing.
Seminars in contextual and theoretical studies are taken together with masterclasses led by industry professionals in audition technique and repertoire.
These skills are integrated through project work which includes a devised project, a final public production led by a production team of industry professionals, and a West End Showcase.
This programme is studied full-time over one academic year.
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.
The programme provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, skills, qualities and other attributes in the following areas:
Knowledge and understanding
Intellectual / cognitive skills
Professional practical skills
Key / transferable skills
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.