Physical Acting - MA

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This taught Master's explores physical training for actors and performance practice. Based on an intensive, sustained and sophisticated engagement with this specialist aspect of theatre practice, the programme gives you the opportunity to work as individual practitioners and as an ensemble.


The programme explores:

  • physical and vocal training processes for actors
  • acting processes for performers
  • autonomous and collaborative practice
  • interdisciplinary approaches

It also equips you with the ability to document research practices in an appropriate form that is viewed as an integral part of the process and outcomes of this MA.

You have the opportunity to work with internationally respected physical theatre and training specialists, including Professor Paul Allain and Kent colleagues, as well as participate in a professional workshop on actor training by a visiting practitioner working within the tradition of European experimental theatre. You can participate fully in the activities of the Department’s very active research centre, the ‘European Theatre Research Network’.

Drama and Theatre at Kent

Postgraduate Drama and Theatre studies at Kent has a very strong reputation for research and supervision in contemporary performance processes, applied performance and European theatre.

The wide-ranging interests of our international team of leading and emerging researchers (from the UK, Australia, Greece, Germany and other countries) also include research strengths in Shakespeare, 18th-century theatre, multimedia performance, and in the history of comedy and popular performance.

Our distinctive focus at Kent is on theatre as practice, whatever the topic, area, mode and methodology of research, and 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 postgraduate development.

What our students say

'The Physical Acting MA was an exceptional learning experience both academically and practically. I learnt a lot about body movement, energy, and rhythm. Because of this I am now starting my own physical theatre company which is the first in my country.' Sami Saad, Theatre Practitioner from Kuwait

'This MA helped me to grow as both an actor and theatre maker. In focusing on solo performance you can learn so much about what you can give as a performer and where you can develop - the staff are attentive and invested in this as well. Training is extremely important for any performer and the course provides the skills to go on and create work that challenges and excites.' Katharine Hardman, Co-Artistic Director Entita Theatre

Entry requirements

Smiling female postgraduate student
You are more than your grades

For 2022, in response to the challenges caused by Covid-19 we will consider applicants either holding or projected a 2:2. This response is part of our flexible approach to admissions whereby we consider each student and their personal circumstances. If you have any questions, please get in touch.

Entry requirements

A second class honours degree (2.2 or above), 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


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 directs students to investigate and develop physical and vocal actor training techniques. It is designed to complement the other modules on the Physical Acting Specialism by providing synergies between training and performance applications, with the objective of linking process with product.

Students will work practically in tutor-led workshops and independently. In addition to their theatre-based work, students will be expected to practise and document other forms of training practices (e.g. dance classes, martial arts, sports), and incorporate this work in their end of term assessments.

The module includes three Contextual Seminars with a focus on the theory, ethics, and history of actor training.

Find out more about DRAM8000

This spring term module is aimed at developing advanced skills in collaborative training and the composition, rehearsal, and performance of an ensemble theatre piece. Through practical study, students will engage in ensemble training and work collaboratively to identify a starting point, generate physical and vocal scores, and construct and act a performance score. Students will also engage with ethical, historical and cultural contexts of ensemble practice through a set of discussion-based seminars.

Students will document the ongoing group work as an integral part of the compositional process; they will comment and reflect on their work as collaborative artists involved in an autonomous practice.

Find out more about DRAM8001

This module is aimed at developing advanced skills in the composition, rehearsal, and performance of a solo theatre piece. Students will identify a starting point, generate physical and vocal scores, and construct and act a performance score. The module will be complemented by the autumn workshop and seminar sessions of DRAM8910 Physical and Vocal Training for Actors. Students will document the ongoing work as an integral part of the compositional process and be encouraged to link training process with artistic result.

Find out more about DRAM8950

This module explores the interconnectedness between academic research and professional practice in theatre and performance. Students explore research questions through work-based learning or through an in-depth study of an individual or company operation This can take the form of either a work placement or a report that should draw on first hand generation of research material such as through interviews. Students will analyse an individual or company operation and observe how the skills and knowledge learned are applied and put into practice within the business.

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.

Find out more about DRAM8990

Compulsory modules currently include

Throughout their studies on a taught Masters-course, students will elect to develop and pursue an academic or creative project into a specific topic related to the field of study, thus increasing their potential as appropriate for a postgraduate degree. They will also develop their creative voice as a theatre practitioner, their ability to contextualise and analyse their own creative practice. Students will start shaping and preparing their project ideas supported by mandatory seminars in academic writing, research skills and resources, and practice as research (PaR). Students will present their work in progress in Summer Term at a Postgraduate Work in Progress Conference organised by the Department, and they will submit their final dissertation by 31st August.

While building on research and creative practice 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 DRAM9950


Teaching and assessment

Assessment is by coursework, including practical and written components for each of the modules, and by the final term project with its option of a conference paper and dissertation or mixed practice and dissertation.

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

  • provide an internationally focussed taught Master’s programme that offers a sustained and intensive engagement with the forms, practices, traditions and histories of theatre, as well as current theoretical debates in the field
  • attract intellectually able and talented students from the UK and overseas to develop their analytical, critical, conceptual and methodological skills, and to prepare them for further postgraduate research beyond Master’s level, through their integration into the European Theatre Research Network (ETRN) or into the Centre for Cognition, Kinaesthetics and Performance (CKP), hosted by the University of Kent, the UK’s European University
  • enhance your conceptual understanding, creative skills and practical competences with a specific emphasis on the sensitivity for differing cultural contexts and practices, thereby equipping you with relevant competences and the confidence to engage with modes and patterns different to the established patterns and prepare you for future employment in the theatre sector and beyond
  • provide an excellent quality of higher education
  • provide flexibility and a multidiscipline approach
  • provide teaching informed by research and scholarship
  • meet the lifelong needs of a diversity of students
  • support national and regional economic success
  • build on close ties within Europe and elsewhere, reflecting Kent’s position as the UK’s European University
  • produce graduates of value to the region and nationally, in possession of key knowledge and skills, with the capacity to learn
  • prepare you for employment or further study
  • provide learning opportunities that are enjoyable experiences, involve realistic workloads, based within a research-led framework and offer appropriate support for students from a diverse range of backgrounds
  • provide high-quality teaching in supportive environments with appropriately qualified and trained staff.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You will gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • the history, forms, practices, traditions and current configurations of drama, theatre and performance
  • advanced critical, artistic and conceptual paradigms in order to comprehend, interpret and intelligently engage with the work of significant practitioners and theorists in the field
  • variant aesthetic, aesthetic, political, social, and intellectual contexts of drama, theatre and performance
  • the wider interdependence of creative practice, critical theory, production processes and cultural policies
  • the inherent interdisciplinary and trans-national location and context of theatre art and performance practice, and its relation to the public and audiences
  • innovative, challenging and informed methods and practices of making performance, the processes of rehearsal, writing, scoring, devising, sceneography, choreography, staging, promotion and training techniques.

Intellectual skills

You develop intellectual skills in:

  • the ability to critically reflect, drawing on a range of sophisticated perspectives, about practices, theories, contexts and ideas that shape theatre today
  • an awareness of intercultural and international differences
  • the ability to engage creatively and imaginatively with textual, visual, and performed sources and artworks
  • the ability to appreciate and critically evaluate your own work and the work of others, demonstrating to listening, dialogue, and discussion
  • the ability to understand the interplay between theory and practice, and their mutual enrichment
  • the ability to devise, undertake and contextualise original research in a self-directed way
  • the ability to communicate ideas and information in an accessible and scholarly manner.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in: (These will include practise and professional skills)

  • the ability to describe, analyse and critically interpret theatre texts, production techniques and performance events
  • the ability to trace, assess, and synthesise information and data from a range of appropriate sources in the field, both primary and secondary, printed, electronic, and other
  • the ability to undertake research at an advanced level
  • the ability to engage with bibliographical and documentation techniques, performance and textual analysis, as well as other research methodologies
  • the ability to use archives, texts, electronic technology and other knowledge resources in theatre studies and the wider disciplines of the humanities
  • the ability to support creative work with rigorous research, appropriate documentation, and efficient conceptual consideration
  • the ability to engage confidently and competently in advanced academic research at the forefront of the discipline
  • the ability to undertake a comparative study of practices and concepts from a diverse range of socio-cultural frameworks.

Transferable skills

You will gain the following transferable skills:

  • the ability to exercise independent thinking and to demonstrate skills of problem-solving and project planning
  • confidence in interacting, negotiating and collaborating with others
  • the ability to source, organise, articulate and disseminate advanced ideas appropriately and effectively, in a way that advances knowledge and adds value
  • the ability to engage in continuous self-reflection, in order to be able to expand one’s skills- and knowledge base
  • proficiency in presenting complex thoughts, arguments, and data in coherent and lucid ways, both verbally and in writing, pitched appropriately to a range of audiences
  • initiative in identify, create, address and successfully execute complex tasks and problems to a professional level.


The 2022/23 UK fees for this course are:

  • Home full-time £9300
  • EU full-time £13000
  • International full-time £17400

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

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. 


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

We have a range of subject-specific awards and scholarships for academic, sporting and musical achievement.

Search scholarships

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.


Arts graduates have gone on to work in a range of professions from museum positions and teaching roles to working as journalists and theatre technicians. Our graduates have found work in Pinewood Studios, The National Theatre and other arts, culture and heritage-related organisations, in roles including editorial assistants and even stunt doubles.

Study support

Postgraduate resources

The School of Arts’ award-winning Jarman Building offers professional standard drama facilities, along with social spaces and a dedicated centre for postgraduate students.

Additional facilities across the Canterbury campus include two theatres: the 113-seat Aphra Theatre (a courtyard-type gallery theatre space); and the Lumley Theatre, which is a flexible and adaptable white room space. Drama students also benefit from an additional rehearsal studio, a sound studio, a theatre design suite and an extensively equipped construction workshop.

The University’s Templeman Library is well resourced in our subject area and houses special collections of 19th-century manuscripts – playbills, programmes, prints and other theatre ephemera – theatrical biography and the history of the stage in the 19th and 20th centuries. It also has particular strengths as a research resource in English Renaissance drama, Russian and French theatre, and British theatre since 1900. We also house the Jacques Copeau Archive and the British Grotowski collection.

Conferences and seminars

We have strong links with organisations such as the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR) and the Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA), and encourage postgraduates to present work within national and international conferences. Also, we run regular research seminars, workshops, and performance-related events led by members of staff, students, and invited experts and practitioners.

Dynamic publishing culture

Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Among others, they have recently contributed to: New Theatre Quarterly; Contemporary Theatre Review; TDR: The Drama Review; Performance Research; Shakespeare Survey.

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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