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Theatre Arts MA

Learn about the course below
January 2022
1 year full-time
2 years part-time
£9,000 (UK) *
£14,500 (EU/INT) *
Course leader
Josephine Machon

This unique MA will give you the opportunity to collaborate, specialise and push the boundaries of theatre, 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 in fully-equipped studios and workshops, supported by specialist technicians to support your exploratory research and performance-related work
  • You’ll have access to emerging theories and contemporary debates related to your field through our world-leading Centre for Research into Creation in the Performing Arts (ResCen) – a multi-disciplinary research centre that bridges academia and practice
  • As a student of this course you'll receive a free electronic textbook for every module.

*this course is subject to review

Find out more

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What will you study on MA Theatre Arts?

Taught by a diverse range of academics, practitioners, specialists and associate artists, this course is divided into five modules taken over three terms (if studied full-time).

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


  • Modules

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

      Engage with innovations in research methodologies and explore the boundaries of what research in theatre arts might be, including the roles it might take within the wider social context. It nurtures a community of critical practice that engages with the tools, behaviours, approaches and aesthetics that are particular to the theatre arts and embracing of alternative disciplines. You will learn a variety of research methods, methodologies and paradigms of practice relevant to theatre arts. Through this you will engage with relevant concepts and current trends, exploring the ways in which creative practice might participate in, and further, social agendas.

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

      This module allows you to identify a specific site of exploration and experimentation in order to engage in practice-led research relevant to your target area. You will have the opportunity to use the studio, creative technologies laboratory, design rooms, online platforms or an alternative site (on or off campus) as a space for development and reflection. Explore within and beyond a specialist practice, and critique and reflect on the craft and concerns of the creative process independently, with a supervisor and among peers.

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

      This module facilitates your individual and evolving practice and encourages you to interrogate or elaborate this through collaboration with peers. In addition to nurturing the artistic community among the cohort, you will be encouraged to explore ‘connections’ across individual disciplines and between artistic practice/research to current and ongoing societal concerns. You will simultaneously examine the fundaments of ‘collaboration’ within the performing arts. Students are required to forge connections that explicitly address how individualised practice connects to that of peers and how a collective project connects to relevant social systems, issues and/or cultural events.

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

      This module aims to facilitate the examination of your own professional practice within the expanded field of theatre arts specifically and the creative industries more broadly. You will explore, observe and examine professional contexts for practice and follow either a practice-based placement or an industry-focused research project, which may incorporate the observation of one or more practitioners/companies; and use appropriate research methods to gain insights into professional practice.

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

      In this module you will undertake an inquiry through chosen forms of practice and the professional and/or academic contexts that inform it. You will examine how your creative practice articulates an extended inquiry and how it situates itself in relation to, and in dialogue with, the wider context of professional arts practice. This independent project may be undertaken individually or with the support of their peers under the supervision of a tutor.

      On completion of this module, you will possess a comprehensive, conceptual and creative, understanding of their own practices and methods (or emergent methodologies where relevant).

You can find more information about this course in the programme specification. Optional modules are usually available at levels 5 and 6, although optional modules are not offered on every course. Where optional modules are available, you will be asked to make your choice during the previous academic year. 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 will not run, we will advise you after the module selection period when numbers are confirmed, or at the earliest time that the programme team make the decision not to run the module, and help you choose an alternative module.

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:


These may take many forms and are usually studio-based, focused on the practical participation of a group of students with a tutor, guest practitioner or technician


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

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 and Seminars, and 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


Sessions during which an individual or a small group of students discuss key topics, concepts, ideas and processes with a tutor. Tutorials 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. 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.



The programme is primarily assessed through practical outcomes incorporating critical documentation, such as creative or multi-media portfolios. Students will also be assessed through research papers and presentations.

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

Changes for students in 2021

If you’re a new student for January 2021, your teaching will start online due to national lockdown restrictions. We plan to start in person teaching on campus sometime after mid-February when the lockdown ends. When restrictions are lifted, we’ll be teaching you in different ways to make sure you get the best learning experience possible. You’ll learn through live sessions with teaching staff and have the chance to study independently too, with access to all the online resources you need through our globally available student portal.

We’re planning different scenarios for teaching so that we can be flexible. While we’re social distancing, we’re aiming to teach you through some small group sessions on campus, with other interactive teaching as well as larger lectures delivered online and recorded sessions available to you on-demand. If you’re unable to make it to campus at first, or we need to limit access to campus in the future, your course can be delivered fully online.

The table below shows current plans for your learning across a typical week, including scheduled live online teaching and an indication of what we hope to teach face to face, where you can make it to campus. While some weeks might look different to this, due to how we schedule classes and make arrangements for any face to face sessions (for example, in some cases these could take place every two weeks with an increased number of hours), the table gives you an idea of what to expect based on the overall number of teaching hours on your course.

You’ll receive final arrangements for your teaching and a full course timetable before you start.

Scenario 1: course delivered fully online


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 per week


Self-paced learning time

Contact time per week for each level:

23 hours


Pre-recorded lectures

Contact time per week for each level:

2 hours per week

Scenario 2: course delivered with a mix of online and face to face learning with social distancing in place


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

Contact time per week for each level:

9 hours per week


Self-paced learning time

Contact time per week for each level:

23 hours


Pre-recorded lectures

Contact time per week for each level:

1 hours per week


Face-to-face sessions of any kind when scenarios allow (and we need to be clear institutionally on what these scenarios are)

Contact time per week for each level:

2 hours

Read more about our scenarios for returning to campus and what they might mean for your teaching and learning experience, and how you’ll be able to access student support.

Future plans for teaching

We’re developing our timetable for face to face teaching  with current government advice on social distancing to keep you safe. If social distancing requirements are lifted, we’ll start to safely move back towards our usual teaching arrangements with more opportunities for face to face learning. Some learning and support might stay online in this scenario. If more restrictions are put in place, or there is another lockdown, we’ll be prepared to deliver your learning and support fully online, with alternative arrangements made for any required placements. We’ll always give you notice of any changes that we make.

Definitions of terms

  • Live learning – Live learning will cover all your scheduled and timetabled sessions with teaching staff like lectures, seminars, workshops and other classes, along with some time outside of that if it’s necessary to, for example, take part in discussion forums or respond to blogs online.
  • Independent study - Independent study will let you learn, prepare and revise in your own time, outside of your scheduled and timetabled sessions with teaching staff. You’ll be able to learn at your own pace and have access to the resources you need to do that effectively.
  • Self-paced learning – You can choose when and where to do this independent study at your own pace, and it could include reading and reflection, preparation for classes, revision or homework.
  • On-demand resources – You’ll have access to pre-recorded, on-demand video lectures, resources and online activities like quizzes as part of your independent study. You’ll be able to review these on-demand, whenever you need them, outside of your scheduled class times.
  • Face to face sessions - Where it’s possible and if it’s necessary for your course, you’ll be able to attend essential and scheduled sessions or appointments on campus, with the appropriate safety measures put in place.


You’ll 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 mainly be delivered online and you’ll 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’ll 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.

More on teaching for your subject in 2020/21

Read our guide to what’s been happening in your subject area recently and more about what to expect this autumn.

  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 the 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.

Last year’s graduates have already taken up roles including project coordination and management at Helen Chadwick Song Theatre and Turtle Song; script development at Dreamcatcher Repertory, USA, as well as performing work developed during the MA at VAULT Festival, London.

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 Placement Officers throughout the process.

Last year, our students completed placements with Coney, Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company, The Bush Theatre, Finborough 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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