Undertaking PhD study gives you the opportunity to engage with an area of drama, theatre, or performance in depth and at an advanced level. East 15 Acting School, with its growing research profile and internationally recognised research quality is an obvious home for such research.
At East 15, research degree students will undertake one of two paths of enquiry. The PhD in Drama and Performance is a conventional PhD whereby candidates are assessed via thesis and viva voce examination. For the PhD Drama and Performance (Practice-as-Research) course, candidates are assessed via practice-as-research, a thesis that contextualises and analyses the performance practice in relation to the research topic, and a viva voce examination. For guidance, areas of expected practice include: theatre directing, dramaturgy, actor training, design (scenery, sound, lighting, costume), and performance art.
Our staff undertake many forms of research including practice-as-research and text-based enquiry, and are experts in drawing connections between exploratory practice and advanced conceptualising, process and product, making and articulating. We have extensive links with all sectors of the theatre industry and as one of the most international drama schools in the UK, we also have a range of established international connections.
Staff research specialisms include world performance, actor-training and audience reception. Our staff are undertaking research in areas such as movement and somatics in actor training, voice, immersive and participatory performance, intermedial performance, performance art, twentieth century avant-garde practice, intercultural training and practice, Balinese theatre, Brazilian theatre, Shakespeare and theatre directing.
As a highly competitive acting conservatoire we are well equipped to cater for a range of activities and practices. Our cutting-edge facilities, resources and support for research, offered across three campuses (Southend, Loughton, Colchester) are world class. We are well placed to facilitate practice-as-research by virtue of our high-specification performance and rehearsal spaces, design studios, and infrastructure.
PhD students will be based at Southend or Loughton depending on the location of their supervisor. However, all PhD students will be able to access the available facilities at both Loughton and Southend.
In Southend, East 15 PhD candidates have access to a designated University of Essex PhD room in the Gateway Building. In both Southend and Loughton, PhD students will have access to hot desks, computers, on-campus libraries and printing facilities.
In addition to this, PhD students will have access to:
In Loughton, facilities include over 20 rehearsal studios of various sizes and a radio and recording studio. In Southend, East 15 facilities include 16 large rehearsal studios, seminar rooms and an Apple Mac editing suite. Both campuses also have a working theatre and dance studio.
As well as the physical resources, PhD students will have the opportunity to create connections with the acting, technical, and producing students on each campus – inviting them to take part in research activities outside of their timetabled classes and rehearsals.
You are required to have a 2:1 honours degree in any discipline, or international equivalent, and a Masters degree in Drama, Performance or a related field, or to have equivalent professional experience. A well developed research proposal is also essential.
Applicants who do not hold the above qualifications will be considered on a case by case basis .
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.
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If English is not your first language you will need IELTS 7.0 overall with 6.5 in writing and 5.5 in all other components.
PhD programmes do not have structured teaching. Students are supervised by a supervisory team and monitored according to key milestones.
We understand that deciding where and what to study is a very important decision for you. We’ll make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities as described on our website. However, if we need to make material changes, for example due to significant disruption, or in response to COVID-19, we’ll let our applicants and students know as soon as possible.
Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.
Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.
|Status||What this means|
||You must take the set module for this component and you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
|Core with Options
||You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component but you must pass. No failure can be permitted.|
||You must take the set module for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.|
|Compulsory with Options
||You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
||You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.|
The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.
Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.
In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.
Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code. For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:
The department or school the module will be taught by.
In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.
|The module number.||
The UK academic level of the module.
A standard undergraduate course will comprise of level 4, 5 and 6 modules - increasing as you progress through the course.
A standard postgraduate taught course will comprise of level 7 modules.
A postgraduate research degree is a level 8 qualification.
The term the module will be taught in.
During the first year of their PhD programme, candidates will be expected to undertake required skills training and to develop an in-depth plan and timetable for undertaking their research within a three-year period. Students will start to collect research material, define their methodology, and be able to contextualise their research in relation to existing literature and practice.
Before entry into the second year, candidates will have a Confirmation Board, which reviews the candidate’s progress and determines whether the quality of research is at PhD level. After the student’s candidature is confirmed, they will continue to undertake the body of their research investigation.
In the third-year, students should be working to complete all elements of their submission.
Practice-as-research (50%), 30,000-40,000 word thesis (50%) and viva voce examination.
£4,712 per year
£17,900 per year
We encourage you to make a preliminary enquiry directly to a potential supervisor or the Graduate Administrator within your chosen Department or School. We encourage the consideration of a brief research proposal prior to the submission of a full application.
We aim to respond to applications within four weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.
For information on our deadline to apply for this course, please see our ‘how to apply’ information.
You’ll be in intensive training at one of the most prestigious and internationally respected conservatoires in the country, gaining the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue a career in the performing arts. You'll arrive at a campus with state-of-the-art study and performance facilities, nestled in the stunning grounds of a country house.
But fear not! It’s not all work and no play at East 15 Acting School in Loughton and you're just a short step away from the bright lights and big city of central London.
At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.
The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification 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, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the 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 students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications. The University would inform and engage with you if your course was to be discontinued, and would provide you with options, where appropriate, in line with our Compensation and Refund Policy.
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