Theatre Making - MA

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Overview

The MA in Theatre Making at Kent offers an opportunity to develop advanced knowledge of practices, traditions and professional contexts of theatre making through academic engagement, practice-based learning, individual supervision and professional study.

This MA is intended for graduates from theatre and performing arts degrees and other subjects as well as emerging theatre artists who want to further pursue their experimentation with a range of advanced theatre-making practices.

On this programme, you will acquire skills in a range of approaches to making performance, drawing on techniques from directing, devising, ensemble performance and performance art, in order to develop your own individual and/or company practice.

Throughout the autumn term you will be taught in weekly workshops and create performances in response to professional commissions, often in association with a local arts venue or site. In parallel you will study the relationship between theatre and audiences through weekly lecture-seminars.

In the spring term you will conceive, develop and manage an original practical and creative project at an advanced level, taking for example the role of writer, director or performer on this project for the duration of the term. This will be supported through weekly supervisions and workshops by visiting professionals. In parallel you will take a Professional Study module, for which you will undertake a placement with an artist or theatre company (to be sourced by the student), as well as attending lectures on professional practice, including topics such as funding applications and marketing.

For the summer term you will develop your own independent research project, which may include a practice-as-research element.

Please contact us on arts-pgadmissions@kent.ac.uk if you wish to discuss your application.

About the School of Arts

Postgraduate Drama and Theatre studies at Kent has a very strong reputation for research and supervision in contemporary theatre and performance. We are the home of two renowned international research centres, the European Theatre Research Network (ETRN) and the Centre for Cognition, Kinesthetics and Performance (CKP).

The wide-ranging interests of our international team of leading and emerging researchers (from the UK, Australia, Greece, Germany, France and other countries) include research strengths in contemporary performance, applied theatre, Shakespeare, 18th-century theatre, multimedia performance, popular performance, theatre directing and dramaturgy, and physical acting.

Our distinctive focus at Kent is on theatre as practice, whatever the topic, area, mode and methodology of research. We were the first department in the country to offer, since the late 1990s, MA and PhD degrees by practice-as-research. We encourage postgraduate students to make use of our close links and contacts with local, national and international (especially European) theatre companies, venues, schools and artists, both for research and to encourage professional development.

The School of Arts’ award-winning Jarman Building offers professional standard drama facilities, along with social spaces and a dedicated centre for postgraduate students. In addition to the two performance studios and the Gallery in the Jarman Building, Drama & Theatre facilities across the Canterbury campus include two further theatre spaces – the 113-seat Aphra Theatre (a courtyard-type gallery theatre space) and the Lumley Theatre, which is a flexible and adaptable studio space – as well as further rehearsal facilities in Eliot College, a sound and simulation suite, and an extensively equipped construction workshop and costume collection.

Entry requirements

An upper second-class honours degree or better, usually in a relevant humanities subject. In certain circumstances, the School will consider candidates who have not followed a conventional education path or who may have relevant experience in the industry. These cases are assessed individually by the Director of Graduate Studies.

Your application should include a sample of your academic writing. Ideally this will be an essay, on a similar or related topic, that you have recently written as part of your undergraduate degree programme. Please upload this to your application portal.

All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and relevant experience may also be taken into account when considering applications. 

International students

Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information. Due to visa restrictions, students who require a student visa to study cannot study part-time unless undertaking a distance or blended-learning programme with no on-campus provision.

English language entry requirements

The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.

For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages. 

Need help with English?

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.

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Course structure

Duration: 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

In this course, you learn how to make and think about theatre in a way that challenges conventional assumptions and boundaries. We also prepare you for the world of work by giving you opportunities to network with professionals and practise how to raise funding and market your portfolio. Over the course of the year, you will be taught by academics who are international experts in their fields.

Modules

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.

Compulsory modules currently include

This module forms part of the MA Theatre Making. During the Spring term students conceive, develop and manage original practical and creative projects at an advanced level. This might involve them working for example as a director/performer and/or writer, on one project, for the duration of the term. Students will document the process, commenting and reflecting on their work as individual artists and on associated collaborations. Students are also expected to play a role within the whole student cohort, supporting the work of other students within the module. This might involve them performing in another student's show or taking responsibility within the company for publicity, stage management, technical support, Front-of House or budgeting. Teaching takes place through workshops and seminars led by members of staff, as well as workshops and mentoring with professional theatre-makers, rehearsal supervision and feedback on auto-cours.

Find out more about DR832

This module is one of four co-requisite modules which form the MA Theatre Making. The term 'performance practices' includes a diversity of styles and approaches that extend and interrogate the boundaries between theatre forms – such as devising, directing, physical theatre, performance art, applied theatre and so on. Performance Practices I gives students the opportunity to develop advanced theatre making skills by combining techniques, processes and practices from several specialist areas of performance, reflecting the contemporary need and trend to work across genres. Students do so by responding to a range of creative commissions that also introduce them to the possibilities of the local arts scene, in preparation for Professional Practices II in Spring term. At the centre of the course is a commitment to exploring the complexity of relationships between performer, space and audience. Students work in groups, developing their skills and interests in theatre making throughout the term, and are assessed on group or individual projects, and a reflective essay. Topics covered (these are negotiated with the students in accordance with their interests) might include: place and space; site specific performance; working with found materials; object theatre; Auto/biography; the body as material and site; image based theatre; working with text; devising techniques; directing techniques; approaches to applied theatre. This programme of work is supported with workshops delivered by professional practitioners.

Find out more about DR867

This module explores the interconnectedness between academic research and professional practice in theatre and performance. Students explore research questions through work-based learning in the first half of the term. This can take the form of either a placement or shadowing with a venue or company, which the student has arranged in the first part of the course, potentially supported by Erasmus international placement funding for a placement in Europe. Alternatively, this work-based learning activity may be based on a less formalised, but still primary mode of research of a specific venue, company, or theatre practitioner, emphasising the first-hand generation of research material through direct observation, interviews, and analysis. Students may select, according to their own interests and specialisms within the vast field of European theatre, a company, venue or practitioner of their choice, and individually negotiate the terms and opportunities to carry out this study. The convenor of the module will provide support in this initial negotiation if needed, and will also offer students connections with the Department's network of professional theatre-makers. The convenor will also provide support throughout the placement where needed.

In the second half of the term this learning is deepened through lectures on professional practice. The module will be convened by one member of staff who will bring in external speakers as appropriate, allowing students to approach theatre as a profession and contextualise the notion of theatre industry. Topics covered in class will typically include basic theatre industry knowledge for emerging artists, such as theatre funding structures, fundraising strategies, writing grant applications, casting mechanisms, CV/personal statement writing, basic marketing, basic budgeting. The module will be assessed through a combination of practical tasks, such as a grant application or a project pitch, and a reflection on the placement or essay on the individual research.

Find out more about DR899

This team-taught module is intended to provide a basis of shared knowledge and understanding of theatre audiences to MA Drama students. The core subject of this module will be approached from various perspectives reflecting current available expertise in the Department. Lectures and seminar discussions on various theoretical and empirical approaches to audience research (including the study of audience responses as well as the identification of and marketing to an audience) will feature next to sessions about the histories of spectatorial practices and contemporary experimental theatre productions that engage audiences in particularly compelling ways (for example, participatory practices). Typically, there will be opportunities to discuss what audiences do, how they feel, and how their brain and body responds to theatre from various perspectives. Activities such as devising audience questionnaires to gather feedback from spectators in response to a specific production, and the reading of audience reviews in newspapers, blogs and social media will enable the cohort to question the supposed homogeneity of theatre audiences and to begin to think as theatre-makers about audiences in a nuanced, sophisticated way.

Find out more about DR903

Compulsory modules currently include

Throughout their studies on a taught Masters-course, students will develop and pursue an in-depth research into a specific topic, thus increasing their potential as appropriate for a postgraduate degree. Students will start shaping and preparing their research early in the year, supported by mandatory seminars in academic writing, research skills and resources, and practice as research (PaR). Students will meet with their Programme Convenor and the Director of Taught MA Programmes in the Autumn term before deciding late in the Autumn Term whether they will pursue Options 1 or 2 as detailed below. Students will present either their practice-based research or an academic conference paper in Summer Term at a Postgraduate Conference organised by the Department, and they will submit their final dissertation by 31st August.

While building on research undertaken previously on their course, and the opportunity to extend any further aspects previously discussed, the topics and submission cannot duplicate material previously submitted for examination as part of the MA-programme.

Find out more about DR995

Teaching and assessment

Assessment consists of 100% coursework, including essays, performances, funding budgets, reviews, written reflections on own practice, analysis of professional practice, presentations, reports, placements, practice-as-research portfolios.

Fees

The 2021/22 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

  • Home full-time £8100
  • International full-time £16800
  • Home part-time £4050
  • International part-time £8400

For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact information@kent.ac.uk.

EU students

Kent is supporting its EU students as the UK leaves the EU with a special EU fee offered for students joining in 2021 for the duration of their programmes. EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals will no longer be eligible for home fee status, undergraduate, postgraduate and advanced learner financial support from Student Finance England for courses starting in academic year 2021/22. It will not affect students starting courses in academic year 2020/21, nor those EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals benefitting from Citizens’ Rights under the EU Withdrawal Agreement, EEA EFTA Separation Agreement or Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement respectively. It will also not apply to Irish nationals living in the UK and Ireland whose right to study and to access benefits and services will be preserved on a reciprocal basis for UK and Irish nationals under the Common Travel Area arrangement.

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.


Additional costs

General additional costs

Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent. 

Funding

Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both:

The Complete University Guide

In The Complete University Guide 2020, the University of Kent was ranked in the top 10 for research intensity. This is a measure of the proportion of staff involved in high-quality research in the university.

Please see the University League Tables 2021 for more information.

Independent rankings

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, Arts at Kent was ranked 1st for research power and in the top 20 in the UK for research quality.

An impressive 98% of our research was judged to be of international quality. The School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of world-leading research.

Research areas

Performance and Theatre Research Group

The Performance and Theatre Research Group’s mission is to create a warm and dynamic research community, welcoming everybody from 'Fresher to Professor'. We are a delightfully broad church, with well-established expertise in a broad range of subjects, including theatre history, performance and health, theatre and cognition, physical acting, applied theatre, performance and philosophy, performance and politics, European theatre, Greek theatre, theatre and adaptation, audience studies, cultural industries, variety theatre, puppetry, dance theatre, popular performance and stand-up comedy. We embrace a diversity of methodologies including, for example, Practice as Research, archival and participatory methods.

Histories: Art, Drama and Film Research Group

The Histories Research Group brings together staff and post-graduate students from across the School of Arts whose research involves a cultural historical approach to their field. It holds regular research seminars and supports student-led initiatives, such as organizing conferences.

Film, Media and Culture Research Group

The Group’s main objective is to support and produce cutting-edge research in the areas of film, media and culture. The Film, Media and Culture Research Group has interests in aesthetics, social roles, discursive formations, cultural meanings, psychological effects and/or economic realities. Drawing together scholars from across the University – including Arts, European Culture and Languages, Digital Arts and Engineering, History, English and American Studies, Law, Sociology and beyond – the Group has a lively,  research culture. Through our journal Film Studies and pioneering research projects and outputs we actively seek to shape the field, open lines of communication with the local community and engage with colleagues worldwide.

Aesthetics Research Centre

The Aesthetics Research Centre (ARC) coordinates, enables and promotes research in philosophy of art and aesthetics at the University of Kent. It is embeeded in the analytic tradition, and it is deeply committed to making connections and exploring synergies with  other approaches to thinking about art and culture. ARC comprises a vibrant community of staff and postgraduate students across the School of Arts and the Department of Philosophy, and its activities include an annual programme of research seminars, workshops, symposia and conferences.

Careers

Graduates of Kent's comprehensive theatre studies curriculum are suited to work as freelance artists, directors, teachers, and theatre makers, as theatre managers and managers for educational projects, and in other theatre-related roles. Kent Drama & Theatre graduates have also formed their own companies (Little Bulb, The Noise Next Door, The Three Half Pints, White Slate, Accidental Collective), joined existing companies, and developed careers as innovative and influential theatre practitioners.

Study support

Global Skills Award

All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.  

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