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MA in Contemporary Performance Practices

Convenors: Prof. David Williams and Dr. Libby Worth5DiegeticTheatre

This programme combines diverse approaches to making and documenting performance work, drawing in particular on devising, physical theatre, choreography, directing, solo work and live art.

It is intended for graduate reflective performance practitioners to enhance knowledge and experience of a range of processes and forms in the areas of collaboration, composition, performance, directing and documentation. It is designed to appeal to a cross-disciplinary range of performance makers in order to stimulate and support both collaborative work and the further development of skills/knowledge within new areas of performance. 

Course Content

The teaching will be workshop based with mini-lectures and seminar style discussions over the autumn and spring terms. These will include the following elements:

  • Introduction to diverse performance making strategies drawn from dance, theatre, live art, performance art and dramaturgical methodologies, with an emphasis on processes of generating and composing materials from a range of triggers/sources and forms
  • Short, intensive training sessions to extend the palette of vocal and physical skills
  • Extensive contact with dynamic and innovative contemporary performance practitioners, sharing a range of models of practice
  • Research into and experience of a wide range of documenting practices, with an emphasis on ongoing documentation as a core component of compositional practice, and a fluidity of application to performance making, recording and marketing
  • Research into and progressive development in critical writing on contemporary performance practices
  • Development of critical understanding of relationship between performance practices and the social, cultural and political contexts from which they emerge and with which they engage

For any further details on course content or structure please contact the course convenors David Williams and Libby Worth.

Course structure and assessment

You'll be assessed on creative and critical responses to course content, and these could take diverse forms. The course addresses the centrality of diverse approaches to contexts within the world of work through the development of a portfolio of skills and increased capacities in documentation, as part of a means of self-representation for professional practice.

During the autumn and spring terms your modules will prepare you for your independent research final project. The shape of this assessment will be responsive to the areas of interest and expertise you have developed over the year. For instance, in addition to the more usual end of year performance that some students will pursue, we can support internships with reflective documentation, curation of an arts project with documentation or a series of workshops with analysis of progress, to name just a few.

You will also work over the year on a dissertation that arises from a specific research question or topic in the field of contemporary performance practices.

Applying & Further Information

For general enquiries about applying for Postgraduate courses, please contact the Faculty Administrator (Postgraduate)

Director of MA Programmes: Dr. Libby Worth

50 weeks full-time;

The part-time programme lasts 102 weeks, beginning in September of year one.  Tutorials in respect of the dissertation would begin in the summer term of the first year.

We welcome postgraduate applications from candidates who have a 2:1 or above first degree (this does not have to be in Drama) and can demonstrate strong interest in/experience of making and analysing theatre. We welcome applications from candidates from non-traditional backgrounds.


Please visit our funding pages for further information on the funding available for taught postgraduate students.

If you are interested in applying, please visit our Admissions page where you can find general information on the application process and access the online application form.

Applications should be submitted by 31 July.

Please submit the following supporting information when you make your application:

  • a sample of written work in English, which should take the form of a short academic essay or review of a theatre production (2,000 words);
  • a copy of the degree certificate / transcript from your undergraduate degree (this can be a transcript of your progress so far if you have not yet completed it);
  • a copy of your English language qualification (if English is not your first language) - if you have not completed an IELTS or recognised test yet, you can submit your application without it and then forward your results once they are available;
  • a supporting statement, explaining your motivation for studying your chosen programme;
  • one academic reference - your referee can upload this directly to the online system or email it to the Postgraduate Administrator (ally.williams@rhul.ac.uk);
  • a DVD or link to a Vimeo or YouTube site that shows some evidence of your performance skills and experience in dance, theatre, devised performance, live art etc - this could be from a piece you have devised, choreographed or directed, or from a work in which you participated (e.g. interpreting someone else's choreography) and should contain about 15-20 minutes' worth of material, which may be one long or several shorter pieces;
  • and copies of any other qualifications that are relevant to your chosen programme.

Please note that we will not be able to consider applications until we have received the writing samples.

We may invite suitable applicants for an interview, either in person or via Skype.



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