MA Theatre Directing: Text and Production
- Full Time
- Degree of Master of Arts
- Course Length
- 1 years
- Course Start Date
- September 2024
Kick-start your directing or criticism career with one of the UK’s longest established Theatre Directing Master’s courses. You’ll learn from leaders in directing, actor-training, contemporary writing, adaptation and dramaturgy.
In addition to faculty expertise, you’ll benefit from visiting professionals and theatre practitioners throughout the year, creating an unparalleled balance of philosophical, technical and practical learning. You’ll also have opportunities to take short placements and work-shadowing with regional and national companies and venues.
UEA boasts a truly interdisciplinary approach, with the chance to collaborate with postgraduate students and tutors from more than one School. Whether you want to pursue a career as a theatre-maker or director, or continue in academic research, this course is for you.
The MA Theatre Directing at UEA is one of the longest established in the UK. Each year we select only a very small number of Theatre Directing students – creating a close, collaborative environment.
This is a highly intensive year’s work, balancing the advancement of your intellectual frames of reference for understanding modern theatre, with continual, hands-on opportunities to test and develop your practical skills. Collaboration with fellow students is key – and you’ll gain from working with undergraduate actors throughout the year.
You’ll have the chance to study and interrogate the legacy of post-war British theatre, and pass exams qualifying you to climb the studio’s tallescope to change a lantern. You’ll encounter critical studies in contemporary theatre practice whilst working with acting students, to sharpen your directorial skills in workshops, scene classes and productions.
Your optional studies include world-class modules in scriptwriting, theatre and radical dramaturgies, television and society, adaptation and interpretation. Exciting recent additions include optional modules in Contemporary World Theatre and Contemporary Theatre-Making, Production and Devising.
You’ll showcase your development and learning through your final dissertation – which could take the form of a full production, a written research or creative project, or a bespoke combination of any of these.
On graduating from this MA, you’ll be equipped with both the skills and the vocabulary to direct actors with confidence, and to bring conceptual creativity to your work in the technical and plastic elements of the stage. You’ll be ready to apply for assistant director positions in major companies and to go out and make work of your own for small and medium-scale venues, including a knowledge of funding processes and management.
You’ll also be able to critically analyse written and performed work with insight into theatre methodologies and theatre-making practices. This makes you well-placed to move into an academic or journalistic career.
Study and Modules
In your autumn semester, you’ll be integrated into the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing in two ways. First, you’ll complete a weekly studio skills course alongside first year undergraduates – including health and safety, sound, lighting and stage management. Once you’ve successfully completed this you’ll be certified to work alone in the building, by arrangement, at any time.
For your core autumn module, you’ll collaborate with second year undergraduates in their Actor and the Text module. Here you will encounter Shakespearean verse, Laban technique, States of Tension, Status improvisation and the fundamentals of Stanislavskian practice. Throughout the term, you’ll apply the techniques you study in class to a series of scenes, casting undergraduate students and rehearsing out of hours.
In parallel to these modules, you’ll take part in a weekly group tutorial, discussing both the techniques of the moment and their genesis in theatre practice and theory.
In the spring semester, you’ll explore wider themes of genre, theatrical style and tone, and conceptualisation. Here you may encounter Artaud, Brecht, Meyerhold, Grotowski, and more contemporary practitioners who incite a non-naturalistic energy on stage and offer an alternative view of theatrical function and form: LePage, Bausch, Forced Entertainment, Wilson, among others. You’ll grow your frame of reference through guest lecturers and practitioners, some with practical workshops and others with close examination of theatre practice and philosophy.
You’ll also choose an optional module in each semester, with a range of modules available, including Contemporary World Theatre, Contemporary Theatre-Making and Devising, Scriptwriting Dramaturgy, Writing and Performance, Adaptation and Interpretation.
During the Spring semester, you’ll choose your own practical research project. You’ll discuss your development path and choices in tutorials – and your project will take the form of a written dissertation, a public production, or a combination of the two. If you choose to do a production, this will usually take place in October, allowing for a late summer rehearsal period.
Optional A Modules(Credits: 20)
Optional B Modules(Credits: 20)
Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, the University will endeavour to consult with students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff. In some cases optional modules can have limited places available and so you may be asked to make additional module choices in the event you do not gain a place on your first choice. Where this is the case, the University will inform students.
Teaching and Learning
You’ll be taught by academics and practitioners, many of whom are world experts in their field. Our modules are informed by their specialisms, which means you’ll benefit from access to the latest thinking and research. The expertise of our academic staff ranges from professional actors and directors to television writers and West End playwrights.
For most modules, you’ll test your knowledge and practical skills in practice (formative) assignments before your summative assessments, which count towards your final grades. You’ll discuss your formative feedback with your teachers as part of a deepening self-reflective journey through your studies.
You’ll also spend time in independent study at UEA’s state-of-the-art library, writing essays or carrying out practical work or projects. This course will give you an excellent balance of independent thinking and study skills, helping you deepen your skills as a self-motivated learner, an expert researcher and analytical thinker.
Your accuracy and precision in analysis in your written work will be developed through self-directed study and highly responsive feedback and tutorial sessions. The MA will sharpen your time-management and organisational skills, as well as your sensitivity in interpersonal dynamics.
To make sure you get the most from your studies and help you reach your full potential, our Learning Enhancement team, based in the Student Support Service, are on hand to help in the following areas:
Study skills (including reading, note-taking and presentation skills)
Writing skills (including punctuation and grammatical accuracy)
Academic writing (including how to reference)
Research skills (including how to use the library and online resources)
Critical thinking and understanding arguments
Revision, assessment and examination skills (including time management)
You’ll be assessed through coursework (which could be an essay or a directorial or scriptwriting project) and creative project results. The balance of assessment by written and practical coursework is 50/50 on average, depending on your modules.
For the practical core module, Text and Production: Scenework, in the autumn semester, you’ll be assessed through coursework and a written critical reflective essay. Each part will earn 50% of the module marks. The practical directing is with second year undergraduate actors in scenework throughout the module.
Research and Methodology requires attendance and participation in visiting workshops and seminars, but only one submission; a proposition for your dissertation project, which forms the basis for an ongoing discussion throughout the year.
The dissertation usually is completed by the middle of October of your second year. This develops your own interests in greater depth in concentrated study on a topic of your choice, as approved by the Course Director or other authorised person. Several versions of this exist, the most popular of which is the dissertation/production, which is a maximum of 75 minutes’ length public performance, with responsibility for all elements of stagecraft, technical and artistic direction taken by the student director and supervised by the module leader. Following the production and viva, you’ll produce a 3500-word critical-reflective essay as a commentary on the aims, research and rehearsal experience of the production. The work will be attended where possible by the External Examiner, who will take part in a viva meeting following the submission.
- Degree Classification
- Bachelors degree (minimum 2:2 or equivalent)
- Degree Subject
- Literary or Humanities
- English Foreign Language
Applications from students whose first language is not English are welcome. We require evidence of proficiency in English (including writing, speaking, listening and reading):
IELTS: 7.0 overall (minimum 7.0 writing with 6.0 in the others)
Test dates should be within 2 years of the course start date.
We also accept a number of other English language tests. Review our English Language Equivalencies for a list of qualifications that we may accept to meet this requirement.
If you do not yet meet the English language requirements for this course, INTO UEA offer a variety of English language programmes which are designed to help you develop the English skills necessary for successful undergraduate study:
Promising candidates will be invited for an interview. If you are living overseas, the interview will be online at a mutually convenient time.
Successful candidates will either be offered a place for the forthcoming academic year or a place for the following academic year (if it is felt that more time is needed to develop as a director). Once the forthcoming year is full candidates will be added to a reserve list with a guaranteed place for the following academic year if space does not become available.
Unsuccessful candidates are welcome to re-apply, though not within the same academic year.
This course is open to UK and International applicants. The annual intake for this course is in September each year
Additional Information or Requirements
Our Admissions Policy applies to the admissions of all postgraduate applicants.
Fees and Funding
Tuition fees for the Academic Year 2024/25 are:
UK Students: £9,975 (full time)
International Students: £21,200 (full time)
If you choose to study part-time, the fee per annum will be half the annual fee for that year, or a pro-rata fee for the module credit you are taking (only available for Home students).
We estimate living expenses at £1,023 per month.
Further Information on tuition fees can be found here.
Scholarships and Bursaries
The University of East Anglia offers a range of Scholarships; please click the link for eligibility, details of how to apply and closing dates.
Course Related Costs
Please see Additional Course Fees for details of course-related costs.
How to Apply
Applications for Postgraduate Taught programmes at the University of East Anglia should be made directly to the University.
To apply please use our online application form.
If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances prior to applying, please do contact us:
Postgraduate Admissions Office
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515
International candidates are also encouraged to access the International Students section of our website.
After the Course
Follow in the footsteps of past graduates and go into the theatre or film industries as a director or writer – or you could start your own theatre company. Through our collaboration with the MA scriptwriters, you’ll have a ready-made network of relationships and professional contacts in East Anglia and London. UEA Drama’s Alumnus Ensemble LAB meets regularly to read new work, engage in continued training and develop its own projects, in collaboration with local partners. UEA Drama has a close relationship with HighTide Theatre, Norwich Theatre, The Garage, Sewell Barn Theatre, Maddermarket Theatre and Norwich Puppet Theatre, with work from both BA and MA students frequently appearing in these various venues.
There have also been opportunities in arts administration for local and national government, venue management, and the heritage and tourism sector. Or you could continue your studies with a PhD.
For inspiration and advice, the Careers Service runs an Arts and Humanities events programme, which includes alumni-led presentations and workshops, and which remains available to all alumni after graduation.
A degree at UEA will prepare you for a wide variety of careers. We've been ranked 1st for Job Prospects by StudentCrowd in 2022.
Example of careers that you could enter include:
Discover more on our Careers webpages.