Postgraduate Course

MA Theatre Practice

MA Theatre Practice

Overview

The details
Theatre Practice
October 2019
Full-time
1 year
Colchester Campus

Our interdisciplinary MA Theatre Practice provides an opportunity for you to develop advanced knowledge of different processes of theatre-making, international performance traditions, approaches to practice-as-research (PaR), and methods of writing, directing and devising in professional contexts.

You will explore a diverse range of artistic approaches, gain insights into related critical discourses and develop an in-depth understanding of the possible interrelationships between ‘practice’ and ‘research’ – investigating how practitioners at the cutting-edge of the performing arts make their ideas a tangible reality.

Our course gives you the opportunity to advance your skills in your chosen area of:

  • Acting
  • Applied theatre
  • Devising
  • Directing
  • Playwriting/dramaturgy

Your teaching is research-led by staff in our Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies. It will often be complimented by engagement with invited professional theatre practitioners and guest speakers. You also have the option to choose selected modules delivered by our School of Philosophy and Art History.

We are ranked 2nd in the UK for Drama (Guardian University Guide 2019).

Why we're great.
  • We are home to the 200-seat Lakeside Theatre which hosts plays and acts from leading touring companies, as well as work produced and directed by our own staff and students
  • As practitioners and industry insiders, we are committed to identifying employment opportunities for our students, and supporting the theatre-makers of the future
  • Our teaching is research-led, keeping your informed on current developments and innovation in theatre
THE Awards 2018 - Winner University of the Year

Our expert staff

Become part of the theatre industry by studying with people who currently work within the industry. All staff in the Centre for Theatre Studies are professional theatre-makers as well as leading academics in their individual fields. They share a passion for creative and engaging teaching, and will introduce you to ideas and practices informed by their global research interests.

Our high ranking in the Guardian University Guide is made possible because we are a community of award-winning playwrights, directors, performers and practitioners, as well as pre-eminent critics and theoreticians. Alongside specialist guest tutors in acting, directing and stage-management, our core teaching staff includes:

Liam Jarvis is Co-Director of Analogue and a playwright and theatre practitioner. He also writes and publishes widely on contemporary theatre theory and practice, with a specialism in immersive, interactive and digital theatre.

Elizabeth Kuti is also a playwright, and is currently Writer-in-Residence for Hampton Court. She has won the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and the Stewart Parker Radio Award; and has been commissioned by the National Theatre; the Abbey Theatre, Dublin; and writes regularly for BBC radio. She also researches in the field of eighteenth-century theatre.

Annecy Lax is a specialist in Applied Theatre and human rights in performance, with over a decade of experience in testimonial and verbatim theatre. She has worked in numerous community and educational settings as a facilitator and playwright, and has had work produced by the National Theatre, Soho Theatre and the Bush Theatre.

Jonathan Lichtenstein is a playwright who has written for Radio 4 and the National Theatre. His awards include a Fringe First at the Edinburgh Festival and his plays have been performed internationally. He is a recognised expert in teaching playwriting and dramatic form.

Mary Mazzilli is a renowned specialist in World Theatre and is also a practicing playwright and Creative Director of Lumenis Theatre company. As well as touring her work internationally, Mary has published on Chinese Theatre, dramaturgy, translation and digital theatre.

Specialist facilities

  • The Lakeside Theatre is a purpose-built 200-seat venue at the heart of the University campus. We stage productions by leading touring companies and new work written, produced and directed by our own staff and students.
  • Additionally, the Lakeside Studio is an intimate fully equipped black box theatre. Each year, we invite proposals from current and former Essex students to make work for this space as part of our Homegrown Shows programme.
  • The Lakeside Theatre also makes a connection to the cultural hubs of our country as a host of the prestigious National Theatre Live and Royal Shakespeare Company Live screenings.
  • We programme practical workshops by world-leading invited artists to help you develop new performance skills.
  • Our weekly research seminars provide further opportunities for students to hear writers and practitioners discuss their craft.
  • The Research Laboratory creates unique opportunities for our students to contribute to the testing of new ideas over the course of a full rehearsal process. Students collaborate with professional writers, actors, directors, musicians, and choreographers. As part of a creative team, new research questions are explored in practice, with opportunities to share work-in-progress with audiences.
  • As well as our high-spec theatre spaces, our campus is home to a wealth of non-theatre venues, including The Hex and Art Exchange, that we use to innovate new site-based work.
  • Our students have access to the University’s Media Centre, equipped with state-of-the-art studios, cameras, audio and lighting equipment, and an industry-standard editing suite.
  • There are also opportunities to write for our student magazine Rebel or host a Rebel Radio show.
  • Students can view classic films at weekly film screenings in our dedicated 120-seat film theatre.

Your future

Be an actor, a writer, a director, a stage-manager, a producer – or something even more exciting! An MA Theatre Practice degree opens many doors. Creativity, communication and versatility are highly valued skills in our rapidly changing world.

We work closely with our Employability and Careers Centre to help you find further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

A mid 2.2 degree in Creative Writing, Theatre/Drama Studies, Literature, Film and Media Studies, Modern Languages and Art History.

Applications from students with a 2:2 or equivalent will be considered dependent on any relevant professional or voluntary experience, previous modules studied and/or personal statement.

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here.Please select your country page where you'll find this information.

English language requirements

IELTS 7.0 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5 except for 6.5 in writing

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

The University uses academic selection criteria to determine an applicant’s ability to successfully complete a course at the University of Essex. Where appropriate, we may ask for specific information relating to previous modules studied or work experience.

Structure

Example structure

Most of our courses combine compulsory and optional modules, giving you freedom to pursue your own interests. All of the modules listed below provide an example of what is on offer from the current academic year. Our Programme Specification provides further details of the course structure for the current academic year. Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.

Dramatic Structure (optional)

Want to write your own stage plays? Have an idea of a screenplay? Learn about the range of contemporary plays and possibilities that exist within contemporary drama. Develop your own work, discussing topics like dialogue, construction of plot and structure of scenes within a supportive and creative environment.

View Dramatic Structure (optional) on our Module Directory

Literature and Performance in the Modern City (optional)

Explore the cultural and political capitals of the twentieth and twenty-first century: New York, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Moscow and London. By considering these urban spaces, you actively explore the categories of modernism and postmodernism, as well as a range of theories of the modern/postmodern city. Emphasis is placed on taking an interdisciplinary approach – discussion of literary works (including plays) will be complemented by viewing/listening to performances, films, and readings. You also consider paintings and photographs, city maps, and even urban planning decisions.

View Literature and Performance in the Modern City (optional) on our Module Directory

Film Workshop (optional)

Want to produce fiction films? Eager for hands-on experience, plus an understanding of the theoretical concepts? Our script-to-screen module covers conceptual research, script development, visual language and practical realisation. Work on a group film, receiving technical training on auditioning and directing, lighting for camera, art direction and film editing.

View Film Workshop (optional) on our Module Directory

Applied Theatre Making: Writing in the Community (optional)

How do you write a play for young people? Or vulnerable groups? What skills are needed to produce a site-specific play? Understand the practical research methodologies and ways of writing for community groups. Engage with work by key practitioners in applied drama and examine plays created for a specific community.

View Applied Theatre Making: Writing in the Community (optional) on our Module Directory

Writing Radio Drama (optional)

What are the artistic aspects of writing for radio? And what are the practical? Study and discuss a range of radio drama, including work by many celebrated writers. Understand the principles and practical tools for creating your own radio play.

View Writing Radio Drama (optional) on our Module Directory

Art and Politics (optional)

In 2013, both Jeff Koons and Zaha Hadid designed yachts for obscenely wealthy collectors. At the same time, members of the activist art group, Pussy Riot languished in a Russian prison, charged with hooliganism over the artistic protests against the authoritarianism of the Putin government. How can we make sense of this moment in contemporary culture, where artistic means are directed to such diverse aesthetic, political, ethical, and social ends? Probe the relationship between art, politics and money in this series of weekly lectures.

View Art and Politics (optional) on our Module Directory

Critique and Curating (optional)

Want to do more than hang pretty pictures on a pleasantly coloured wall? Then take this module to learn how curators and designers from the 1920s onward have turned exhibition spaces into site of social and political critique -- a practice now often subsumed under the concept of ‘critical curating’. Organised chronologically, the module gives you the chance to hone your understanding of the complex relationship between critique and curating, generally by situating major exhibitions and paradigmatic curatorial concepts in relation to key texts of critical theory.

View Critique and Curating (optional) on our Module Directory

Philosophy and Aesthetics (optional)

Undertake an investigation into aesthetic practices, activities and objects, and their history, from artworks to the aesthetic strategies of protest movements. You reflect on the distinctive experiences that are involved in participating in aesthetic practices or perceiving aesthetic performances and objects, and debate why aesthetic practices and experiences play such a central role in continental thought, from Kant and Hegel to Adorno and Rancière.

View Philosophy and Aesthetics (optional) on our Module Directory

Assessment

You work either collaboratively (within an ensemble) or independently during the Spring term, focusing on your chosen area while realising an original self-led practical project.

You will also have the option to substitute a taught module, or the dissertation for a professional placement in a work-based environment that complements your research focus in a relevant professional context – linking the learning outcomes of the MA to hands-on experience within the cultural industries.

Dissertation

Your final assessment is by dissertation which can be a written submission, or by practice.

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee

£7,940

International fee

£17,040

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

What's next

Open Days

We hold Open Days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing tours@essex.ac.uk and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

2018 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Applying

You can apply for our postgraduate courses online. You’ll need to provide us with your academic qualifications, as well as supporting documents such as transcripts, English language qualifications and certificates. You can find a list of necessary documents online, but please note we won’t be able to process your application until we have everything we need.

There is no application deadline but we recommend that you apply before 1 July for our taught courses starting in October. We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.

If you are applying to a masters course in the department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies you must provide a piece of critical academic writing (2,500 words) on a topic relevant to your application.

Colchester Campus

Visit Colchester Campus

Home to over 13,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.

The Campus is set within 200 acres of beautiful parkland, located two miles from the historic town centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded town. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.

 

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

Exhibitions

Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its course finder is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep prospective students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

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