Theatre

Theatre Making - MA

2019

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.

2019

Overview

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.

National ratings

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.

Course structure

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.

Modules may include Credits

This module forms part of the MA Theatre Making. During the Spring term students work in collaborative company contexts to develop and manage original practical and creative projects at an advanced level. This might involve them working as a director/performer and/or writer. Students will work as an ensemble by forming their own companies. Students will document the process, commenting and reflecting on their work as individual artists involved in collaborative practices. This may take the form of a website or can be paper-based with supporting documentation. Students are also expected to play a role within the company, supporting the work of other company members 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 is through workshops and seminars led by members of staff collaborating with one professional theatre-maker or company known for their genre-crossing work, who regularly mentor the student companies (for instance, by coming in every two weeks or similar pattern, throughout the 12 weeks).

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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, live art, applied theatre and so on. Performance Practices 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. The course is committed to producing work which is innovative, for instance working with new technologies in interactive performance environments. 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 taught in conjunction with professional practitioners who supervise students for a sustained period of time (for instance, three weeks or over).

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Offering an opportunity to explore the interconnection between academic research and professional practice in theatre and performance, this module invites students on the MA European Theatre & Dramaturgy to apply their knowledge and research within a professional context and environment. This can take the form of either a placement 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 casebook 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 self-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 undertake this study, which is normally undertaken during the Spring vacation and summer term period.

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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 histories of spectatorial practices – for instance in Elizabethan England – will feature next to sessions about experimental theatre productions that engage audiences in particularly compelling ways – such as contemporary 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 the perspective of affect studies, cognitive science, and critical theory. 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.

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Throughout their studies on a taught Masters-course, students will develop and pursue an in-depth research into a specific topic, thus 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 1st September.

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.

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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.

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.

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 experience will 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 for your country.  Please note that international fee-paying students cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

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.

Research areas

European Theatre

Based at Kent, the UK’s European university, the European Theatre Research Network (ETRN) facilitates and fosters the exchange of theatre traditions, contemporary practices and academic discussion on theatre work from the European continent and also in the new European states. The MA Theatre Direction forms part of this expanding network, drawing for instance on our connection to the Schaubühne Berlin, the Grotowski Workcentre, and other European theatre institutions. For further information, please see www.europeantheatre.org.uk

Cognition, Kinesthetics and Performance

The Centre for Cognition, Kinesthetics and Performance brings together Drama staff and staff in Engineering and Digital Arts; Psychology; Anthropology; and the Tizard Centre to explore the possibilities of interdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration between researchers and practitioners in the fields of cognitive neuroscience, interactive performance, digital media, disability studies, and applied performance. For further information, please see www.kent.ac.uk/ckp

Popular and Comic Performance

The Popular and Comic Performance (PCP) research centre brings together academics from a range of disciplines (e.g. Drama, Film, Social Anthropology, Philosophy). Their research investigates a real variety of related areas including: stand-up comedy; music hall and variety; 18th century popular theatre; melodrama; Greek Old and Middle comedy; community performance work; puppetry; TV and film production; and punk performance. For further information, please see 

www.kent.ac.uk/arts/research/centres/popularcomicperformance 

Other Research Centres within the School:

Centre for Film and Media Research

The Centre draws together scholars from across the University who use film and the moving image as an integral part of their research. We are open to ideas that extend the reach of the Centre and seek to support projects that promote collaboration between individuals and other research centres. Our aim is to produce a more proactive engagement with other disciplines, to open new lines of communication and to produce innovative knowledge formations through the activity of pioneering research projects.

Aesthetics Research Centre

The Aesthetics Research Centre coordinates, enables and promotes research in philosophy of art and aesthetics at the University of Kent.

Art History and Visual Cultures

This Research Centre promotes and co-ordinates research amongst the growing community of staff and PG students active at Kent in the field of Art History. 

Staff research interests

Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.

Dr Roanna Mitchell: Lecturer

Research focuses on the way in which body image discourse operates in the field of contemporary performance. This encompasses training contexts, industry practice, and the engagement of audiences with body image as dramaturgical currency.

Strands of inquiry include: Politics of the body in the interface between art, business and self; Body activism and its impact on contemporary performance practice; Body shame and the healing potential of psychophysical performance practices; Bodies beyond the visual: Dialogue between memory, imagination and movement in devising processes working from the senses of taste, smell and touch; In search of the holistic: application of Michael Chekhov training in the 21st century in theatre and beyond; Cognition and the embodied language of performance

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Dr Freya Vass-Rhee: Lecturer

Cognitive dance and theatre studies; visuo-sonority of dance; dramaturgy; performativity; arts/sciences interdisciplinarity; psychology of the arts; critical dance and performance studies; dance history; world dance cultures.

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Dr Melissa Trimingham: Senior Lecturer

The modernist period, Bauhaus and Oskar Schlemmer; puppet and object theatre; communication on the autistic spectrum using puppetry; the relationship between robotics and puppetry.

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Professor Paul Allain: Dean of the Graduate School - Professor of Theatre and Performance

Movement and physical performance approaches to actor training, especially the Suzuki Method; contemporary East European and Polish theatre, Grotowski and the Gardzienice Theatre Association; intercultural theory and practice and performance anthropology.

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Dr Helen Brooks: Senior Lecturer

Researching the theatre of, and about, the First World War. Restoration and long 18th-century theatre and performance, with a special emphasis on women’s theatre of the period

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Dr Oliver Double: Reader

Stand-up comedy; punk performance; variety theatre; Karl Valentin.

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Dr Margherita Laera: Lecturer

Contemporary theatre in Europe; adaptation and translation for the stage; ‘classical’ Greek tragedy and its modern appropriations; intercultural and transnational performance.

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Dr Shaun May: Lecturer

Intersection of theatre and philosophy; comedy; popular performance; puppetry and object theatre; cognitive approaches to understanding performance; site-specific performance.

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Professor Nicola Shaughnessy: Professor

Contemporary performance, live and participatory art, cognition, creativity, auto/biography, autism, gender, neurodiversity, well-being.

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Dr Angeliki Varakis-Martin: Lecturer

Greek theatre; commedia dell’arte; masks and theatre.

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Will Wollen: Lecturer

Acting pedagogy, psychophysical approaches to acting, arts funding policy, Commedia and mask, Shakespeare and directing.

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Fees

The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

Theatre Making - MA at Canterbury:
UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £7500 £15700
Part-time £3750 £7850

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

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: