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Theatre Arts MA

Learn about the course below
September 2023
1 year full-time
2 years part-time
£9,600 (UK) *
£15,100 (EU/INT) *
Course leader
Josephine Machon

This unique MA will give you the opportunity to specialise, collaborate, and push the boundaries of your practice within a theatre arts framing, whatever your artistic background. Whether you are looking to design, devise, direct, critique, curate, manage, perform, or write, this flexibly designed course will enable you to investigate and evolve your practice to a professional standard.

Why study MA Theatre Arts at Middlesex University?

At Middlesex we prepare the next generation of theatre professionals to be pioneering and innovative practitioners with advanced skills and contemporary knowledge of their chosen discipline. Through a combination of practice-based assignments, theoretical inquiry and independent research in your field, you will develop the skills to locate and advance your work in both national and international professional contexts.

You will be taught by some of the UK's leading academic practitioners and associate artists and also have opportunities to interact with London’s booming creative industries, through high-profile guest lecturers, industry visits and professional placements while you study. Armed with these invaluable skills, experiences and professional contacts, you will graduate with the confidence to navigate an exciting career path in today's competitive arts industries.

Course highlights

  • The course is your opportunity to investigate and advance your own theatre arts practice, however broad or specialised it currently is.
  • You’ll benefit from national and international placement opportunities to expand your professional contacts and open doors to employment in the creative industries.
  • You’ll be taught through a creative blend of studio, in-the-field and online learning.
  • Campus-based learning will benefit from fully equipped studios and arts spaces, supported by specialist technicians to advance your exploratory research and performance-related work.
  • As a student of this course you'll receive free electronic textbooks and other related learning resources for each module.

Find out more

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What will you study on MA Theatre Arts?

Taught by a diverse range of academic-practitioners, specialists and associate or visiting artists, the course is divided into five modules across a year, if studying full-time, two years if part-time.

Each module is designed to be flexible, requiring you to bring your own interests and projects to the assignments, and encouraging you to extend the boundaries of your current practice through self-reflection, research, analysis, and creative exploration.


  • Modules

    • Research Methods in the Arts: Reflecting Practices (30 credits)

      Through a creative blend of online, face-to-face and field-visit activities, this module examines research theories, methodologies and movements that are of relevance to the Theatre Arts, with a focus on how to relate these approaches to your own practice. Through online group discussion and writing salons alongside one-to-one supervision, all of which is supplemented by field-based research, you will explore innovative critical approaches aligned to your interests and discipline. You will examine the ways in which arts-driven concepts, methods and trends can influence your analysis of interdisciplinary performance, exploring the ways in which creative practice might participate in, and further, social agendas. Supported by Learning Enhancement writing specialists, along with your tutors, your critical skills will be assessed by a single research paper aligned to your own interests.

    • Specialist Theatre Arts Investigation: Exploring Practices (30 credits)

      This wholly practical module is flexibly designed to enable you to explore your individual practice in a range of contexts. It celebrates artistic curiosity and prioritises process and investigation in assessment. Through a combination of studio-based, in-the-field or remote exploratory workshop sessions and independent research into your discipline, you will develop and evolve your practice to an advanced standard, benefitting from close supervision, access to state-of-the-art equipment where needed, and expert technical support.

    • Interdisciplinary Contexts & Collaborations: Connecting Practices (30 credits)

      This wholly practical, collaborative module explores and enhances your evolving performance and research skills. It involves opportunities to experiment with new approaches and evolve your current techniques. You will be introduced to innovative ways to share your practice with your fellow students, in the studio, on location and/or via remote means. Through group research-in-practice that applies newfound methods to nurture and represent individual voices and perspectives in the shared creation of an artistic project, you will consider the ways in which you might interrogate and extend your own thinking and creativity through collaboration. Through this combined reflective/creative project you will be encouraged to understand how individualised practice connects to those of your peer artistic community and how collective devised productions can connect to relevant social systems, issues and cultural events.

    • Professional Contexts & Placements in the Creative Industries: Managing Practices (30 credits)

      This module makes excellent use of online learning approaches and explores crucial contexts for administrating, developing and managing your career in the theatre arts with the central aim of advancing your employment potential within the creative industries. With input from our MDXworks career specialists alongside industry experts you will engage in national and/or international networking opportunities with the chance to negotiate and implement work placements or industry-based observations and interviews that are tailored to your unique needs, and which will augment your professional development.

    • Independent Theatre Arts Project: Extending Practices (60 credits)

      This final module is an opportunity for you to take all the varied and increasingly specialist knowledge, research and skills you have acquired in the preceding modules and apply them to an independent project which extends the boundaries of your practice, challenges your working methods, and allows you to test your ambitions. As part of this project, you will develop and deliver an artistic output in a format which most suits your skills, ambitions, and the ideas under investigation. Outputs may range across full-scale collaborative productions, solo-performance, installations and exhibitions, digital archives, online experiences or written research theses – the possibilities are plentiful and up for negotiation. Whatever your process and outcomes, this final module provides a bridge between your academic and professional practice that will dramatically enhance your career prospects and future education opportunities.

You can find more information about this course in the programme specification. Optional modules are usually available at Levels 5 and 6 to support and supplement your learning. Where optional modules are available, you will be asked to make your choice during the Welcome and Induction weeks. Your teaching team will be sure to offer you all the guidance you require in this regard. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, or there are staffing changes which affect the teaching, it may not be offered. If an optional module or recommended extra-curricular activity will not run, we will advise you at the earliest time that the programme team make the decision not to run the module or activities.

We are regularly reviewing and updating our programmes to ensure you have the best learning experience. We are taking what we have learnt during the pandemic and enhancing our teaching methods with new and innovative ways of learning.

We aim to model a wide range of teaching strategies and approaches on the course which you can adapt to your own setting.

How will the MA Theatre Arts be taught?

As a student on our MA Theatre Arts, you’ll be learning with our expert and diverse team through a blend of the following methods:

Practical Workshops

These may take many forms and are usually studio-based, although may occur in site-specific contexts, focused on the practical participation of a group of students with a tutor, guest practitioner or technician.

Online Workshops/Demonstrations

These may take many forms and are usually focused on the practical development of a group of students through remote participation, facilitated by a tutor, guest practitioner or technician.

On-campus Seminars

A class of between 1 and 4 hours with one or more tutor/s or guest speaker/s. Some of this time may involve a presentation of information by the tutor/s or guest/s or by a student or group of students. The remainder is an opportunity for group discussion of the seminar topic(s).

Online Seminars

An online class, usually between 1 and 3 hours with one or more tutor/s or guest speaker/s. Some of this time may involve an online presentation of information by the tutor/s or guest/s or by a student or group of students. The remainder is an opportunity for group discussion of the seminar topic(s). Platforms for engagement include Microsoft Teams, Zoom or other appropriate formats supported by the university.

Independent studio investigation

Student-facilitated explorations where autonomy is required, although supervision may be offered to support the research. Methods explored may connect with those outlined in Workshops, Seminars, Tutorials, E-Learning and so on and connected to independent or group field-work.

Independent in-the-field investigation

Student-facilitated explorations where autonomy is required, although supervision may be offered to support the research. Methods explored may connect with those outlined in Workshops, Seminars, Tutorials, E-Learning and so on and will be connected to independent or group field-work

Field Work

Group or individual visits to events off campus such as live performance, exhibitions, talks etc. which relate to the topics and practices under consideration

Live streamed Field Work

Group or individual engagement with required or recommended online events such as live-streamed performance, virtual exhibitions, online talks etc. which relate to the topics and practices under consideration. Platforms will include those supported by the university such as Zoom alongside recommended supplementary events on platforms such as Facebook Live, Instagram Live or YouTube.


Sessions during which an individual or a small group of students discuss and/or demonstrate key topics, concepts, ideas and processes with a tutor or supervisor. Tutorials/supervisions are often closely linked to assessment tasks and commonly focus on individual work or involve small group discussions about group projects. You will be taught both in groups and individually. These will occur in-person on campus or remotely via supported online platforms.


E-learning will supplement teaching and individual research. You will be required to participate in advanced practice and engage with your fellow students, both individually and collaboratively, working and learning independently and as part of a group via a variety of online or e-format resources and activities. These will involve a good range of creative, practical, and research retrieval activities.


This programme is highly valued and praised by our students for the fact that it is primarily assessed through student-negotiated practical outcomes, incorporating critical analysis and multimodal documentation, relevant to the work produced. Documentation may include creative and multi-media portfolios or live discussion of practical outputs. Students will also be assessed through research papers and presentations. Clear guidance will always be provided about assessment requirements and opportunities.

The MA Theatre Arts is designed to appeal particularly to:

UK-based and international practitioners and scholars engaged in any theatre arts practice who want to develop their creative and reflective skills alongside their own unique signature; actors, composers, designers, directors, illusionists, live artists, musicians, physical-theatre practitioners, scenographers, sound artists, video artists, writers and so on.

UK-based and international arts-world individuals such as curators, producers, arts managers, arts/humanities theorists who wish to develop approaches to investigating practice as key contributors to the creative process.

UK-based and international graduates who are keen to explore the scope of their own emerging practice and/or who wish to test the potential of contemporary interdisciplinary performance.
Those who would be eligible for the programme include:

UK graduates (or those nearing completion of undergraduate programmes) in related specialisms including theatre, dance, performing arts, theatre design, acting, directing, dramaturgy etc. applicants will normally have an upper second honours degree or above. However, exemption can be made (at the Programme Leader's discretion) for those with significant relevant experience and/or who can demonstrate innovative approaches to thinking and practicing in theatre arts.

Professional practitioners who may or may not hold a first degree in a relevant field and who may be admitted on the basis of alternative qualifications or satisfactory training in their field and extensive experience in a performance related profession.

Teaching and learning from 2023

Your timetable will be built around on-campus sessions using our professional facilities, with online sessions for some activities where we know being virtual will add value. We’ll use technology to enhance all of your learning and give you access to online resources to use in your own time.

The table below gives you an idea of what learning looks like across a typical week. Some weeks are different due to how we schedule classes and arrange on campus sessions.

You'll receive full information on your teaching before you start your course.

Learning structure: typical hourly breakdown


  1. Live lectures and interactive/live seminar or other workshop type sessions or other scheduled teaching time

Contact time per week for each level:

10 hours


Self-paced learning time

Contact time per week for each level:

23 hours


Pre-recorded lectures

Contact time per week for each level:

10 hours

Outside of these hours, you’ll be expected to do independent study where you read, listen and reflect on other learning activities. This can include preparation for future classes. In a year, you’ll typically be expected to commit 1200 hours to your course across all styles of learning. If you are taking a placement, you might have some additional hours.

Definitions of terms

  • Live in-person on campus learning – This will focus on active and experiential sessions that are both:
    • Led by your tutors including seminars, lab sessions and demonstrations We’ll schedule all of this for you
    • Student-led by you and other students, like small group work and presentations.
  • Live online learning – This will include lectures, tutorials and supervision sessions led by your tutor and timetabled by us. It also includes student-led group work that takes place online
  • Tutor set learning activities – This covers activities which will be set for you by your tutor, but which you will undertake in your own time. Examples of this include watching online materials, participating in an online discussion forum, completing a virtual laboratory or reading specific texts. You may be doing this by yourself of with your course mates depending on your course and assignments. Outside of these hours, you’ll also be expected to do further independent study where you’ll be expected to learn, prepare, revise and reflect in your own time.


You have a strong support network available to you to make sure you develop all the necessary academic skills you need to do well on your course.

Our support services will be delivered online and on campus and you have access to a range of different resources so you can get the help you need, whether you’re studying at home or have the opportunity to come to campus.

You have access to one to one and group sessions for personal learning and academic support from our library and IT teams, and our network of learning experts. Our teams will also be here to offer financial advice, and personal wellbeing, mental health and disability support.

  1. Standard entry requirements
  2. International (inc. EU)
  3. Interviews and portfolio
  4. How to apply
  1. UK
  2. EU/International
  3. Additional costs
  4. Scholarships and bursaries

How can the MA Theatre Arts support your career?

London is an international centre for theatre and our MA Theatre Arts programme has been designed to provide an academic framework that places you in an excellent position for employment as well as self-managed careers. Our graduates go on to pursue successful careers in the theatre and creative industries, including performing, directing, producing and managing.

All of our students have gone on to varied and successful careers in the arts, including; performing work developed during the MA at VAULT Festival, London; setting up their own international ensembles, such as State of the Art Collective and Teatro Miçanga; or working with innovative, interactive practitioners, including Coney and ZU:UK. Our graduates have also taken up creative positions at leading London theatre venues, such as The Young Vic and Camden People’s Theatre or internationally renowned spaces, such as Osage Gallery.

Work placements are proven to increase your success in the job market, as well as being a fantastic experience and we encourage as many students as possible to grasp this opportunity with the opportunity to carry out a short placement during your course. This will provide you with first-hand experience of an arts or performance organisation, with guidance and support from one of our dedicated MDXworks Placement Officers throughout the process. Our students have completed placements with Silvia Mercuriali, Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company, Bush Theatre, The National Theatre, EbonyLife TV and Nick Brooke Entertainment Production among other organisations.

Dr Josephine Machon
Associate Professor

Dr. Josephine Machon is the programme leader for MA Theatre Arts.

We’ll carefully manage any future changes to courses, or the support and other services available to you, if these are necessary because of things like changes to government health and safety advice, or any changes to the law.

Any decisions will be taken in line with both external advice and the University’s Regulations which include information on this.

Our priority will always be to maintain academic standards and quality so that your learning outcomes are not affected by any adjustments that we may have to make.

At all times we’ll aim to keep you well informed of how we may need to respond to changing circumstances, and about support that we’ll provide to you.

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