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MA Theatre-Making

From words on the page to a fully-realised performance

Year of entry: 2024 (September)


1 year full-time

Start date

September 2024 (semester dates)

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Work with creativity and flair as a theatre-maker in a rich creative environment. Experience first-hand the intricate collaborative interplay between performers, directors and dramaturgs which underpins successful theatre-making in the UK. 

Combining practical workshops with seminar explorations and discussions, you'll focus on your work as an active theatre-maker, and will learn the critical and interpretative skills needed to map and analyse the processes of theatre-making at an ambitious level. You'll have full use of our industry-standard rehearsal and production facilities for creative investigation of plays and performance texts, and to develop your own work. You'll benefit from contact with leading theatre-makers through theatre projects, masterclasses, lectures and workshops.

You'll acquire the necessary skills for a future in professional theatre or in related areas such as film and television, arts administration, journalism, publishing, education or further study. Our students and graduates have an enviable range of achievements and we're also proud of our links to industry.

Excellent facilities

We have two fully equipped theatre spaces for use as well as support from dedicated technicians for your projects

An excellent education for theatre-makers who aspire to make new friends and colleagues worldwide, broaden their creative horizons and generate original pieces of theatre supervised by some of the best lecturers in the world. This MA pushes you to work independently as a professional performer and creator, and guides their students to find their own voice. One of the best years of my life.
Maren Eikli Hiorth, 2019-20 graduate

Course content

Our modules, with our focus on hands-on, collaborative working, and contact with leading theatre-makers, will ensure that you have a wide range of practical, creative and analytical skills for the production and performance of theatre texts.

Throughout the course we'll interweave the ethics, politics and aesthetics of theatre-making and critical analysis. You'll gain an in-depth understanding of narrative structures and their visual, technical, performative and political dimensions. We'll consider contemporary practice along with active research into some of the longer histories that continue to influence how we make theatre now. You'll be able to demonstrate your skills with an extended practical or written independent project. 

You'll learn to work collaboratively with people in a wide range of roles and across disciplines. You'll work very closely with your fellow MA Theatre-Making students, and at times with the students on our sister programme, MA Playwriting. You may also choose to work with our undergraduate students, and theatre practitioners from outside the School.


You'll study six taught modules and an extended practical or dissertation project. 

You'll engage with processes of and approaches to theatre-making, from how to analyse a text and creatively respond to it, to ensemble practice and performance skills, to rehearsal room organisation and directing methods, to creating your very own performance work. We'll explore a range of contemporary theatre and performance texts, explore and analyse established theatre-makers’ approaches and methods, and undertake research to develop your own practice.

Core modules

Option modules

You will also study one option module in Semester One. This will be selected from:

Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff, and in line with Department/School academic planning.


The programme culminates in a significant piece of independent work, which you will design and develop through the Extended Practical Project or Dissertation module. You'll choose to be assessed in one of three ways.

  • Assessed as a theatre-maker (performance and reflective essay)
  • Assessed as a researcher (dissertation)
  • Assessed as a playwright (play script and reflective essay)

When you make your choice you'll submit a proposal including a rationale and timetable for the work.

The York approach

Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Deploy team work skills to create innovative and ambitious practical work in order to respond to challenges and to communicate ideas with clarity and focus.
  • Construct and present compelling ideas and arguments demonstrating systematic research, resourcefulness, and rigour on a variety of written and oral formats.
  • Practise, at an advanced and independent level, the craft of theatre-making: of conducting rehearsal experiments, of developing ways of making theatre, and planning and leading rehearsals.
  • Interpret how scripts are, and historically have been, translated into a range of performance events by critical evaluation of a range of scripted drama.
  • Creatively and ambitiously apply the skills acquired and developed on the MA to complete complex projects of their own devising in acting, directing or written research.
  • Ambitiously employ the transferable skills that they have gained by working with theatre academics and professionals (via module tutors and visiting artists) so as to advance and develop their own theatre research and practice, and enhance their employability for future careers.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2024/25

Study modeUK (home)International and EU
Full-time (1 year) £10,590£23,900
Part-time (2 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.

Students on a Student Visa are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.

For courses which are longer than one year, the tuition fees quoted are for the first year of study.

  • UK (home) fees may increase in subsequent years (up to a maximum of 2%).
  • International fees may increase in subsequent years in line with the prevailing Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate (up to a maximum of 10%).

Fees information

UK (home) or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status.

Find out more information about tuition fees and how to pay them.

Additional costs

Theatre trips

We are ideally placed to take advantage of some of the country's best theatres, in York, Manchester, Sheffield, Scarborough, Hull, Leeds and beyond. As a student of theatre, we want you to have access to a wide range of theatre and performance productions. We run regular trips to local and regional theatres, some of which are directly connected to a module, and others which may be of wider interest. Either way, we encourage you to attend as many performances as you can during your time with us. The majority of organised trips are optional, but you should budget for at least one theatre trip a term.

Funding information

Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.

We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2024/25 throughout the year.

If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.

Funding opportunities


Further details of subject-specific funding.

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

The visitors programme gave us the opportunity to meet actors, directors, writers, academics, comedians, and more. I finished my MA with a three-week placement at the Stephen Joseph Theatre where I worked in the Education Department. My MA gave me the confidence to go for a career in theatre.
Dan, graduate

Distinguished visiting speakers

We have a wide range of industry connections and regularly have visiting speakers and masterclasses.

Theatre-making in depth

Consider a range of theatre and performance texts, from the early modern period to the present day. Interrogate the work of the writer, and bring the role of the dramaturg, actor and director to bear on the text's journey towards each new production.

Theatre trips

Join us for optional local and regional theatre trips. As a student of theatre, we want you to have access to a wide range of theatre and performance productions.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace.

Teaching format

You'll principally be taught in an invigorating seminar-workshop context, embracing the inextricable relationship between theatre-making theory and practice. Our seminar-workshops allow us to work flexibly together depending on the needs of a particular topic, and to blend seminar-style discussion with practical experimentation.

This course incorporates masterclasses from industry professionals in theatre. You'll have the opportunity to attend talks, productions and festivals, and you'll also be able to attend screenings that relate to performances being discussed in your course.

You'll be assigned a member of our teaching staff who will act as your personal supervisor. They are there to give advice on academic matters as well as other areas of University life. For your project or dissertation you'll also be assigned a supervisor who may be a different member of staff.


We have excellent purpose-built facilities available to you.

  • Black Box: a large double-height space for shoots, events and performances
  • 200-seat theatre: well-equipped theatre, with superb lighting and sound facilities
  • Rehearsal rooms: large or small rooms suitable for many purposes

Other facilities.

Teaching location

You will be based in the School of Arts & Creative Technologies on Campus East.

Your contact hours will be divided between the Theatre, Film, Television and Interactive Media building and Wentworth College on Campus West.


About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

You'll be assessed throughout your course. Types of summative and formative assessment vary depending on the module and may include the following:

  • Studio-based performances and demonstrations of varying lengths (up to 30 minutes)
  • Essays of varying lengths (up to 4000 words)
  • Research presentations
  • Final practical project of up to 60 minutes in length
  • Reflective essay of 4,000 words if submitting a final practical project
  • Dissertation of 12,000 words as an option for the final research project
  • Play script of up to 15,000 words as an option for the final research project
Performers on stage
Two students sitting on theatre set
Two students in a theatre performance
Workshop discussion circle

Careers and skills

This course develops a range of analytical and practical skills in the performance and production of theatre, making our graduates highly employable. Because MA Theatre-Making is flexible enough to offer both practice-based and research-based paths, you'll find there’s a wide variety of career paths open to you across theatre and academia.

Career opportunities

  • Playwright
  • Director
  • Arts administrator
  • Theatre stage manager
  • Literary manager
  • Literary agent

Graduates have also gone on to further research, at PhD, or practical training with conservatoires.

Transferable skills

While you train to be a professional in theatre you'll also develop skills that are useful in any industry.

  • Collaborative working
  • Problem-solving
  • Investigative and historical research
  • Time-management and organisation
  • Critical evaluation
  • Reflective learning

Entry requirements

Typical offer
Undergraduate degree 2:1 or equivalent. If you hold a qualification below 2:1 or equivalent, relevant prior experience of an appropriate nature, may be considered.
Other qualifications and experience Our students come from a range of academic backgrounds: if you're unsure about studying at Masters level please contact our admissions team to find out more. We are also very supportive of our mature students - if you've been thinking about returning to education at any point in your life, the MA Theatre allows you to bring your experiences into a university setting, and to make sure you get the best out of the experience.
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

Additional requirements

You're expected to show a commitment to theatre but extensive experience is not a prerequisite. You should provide evidence of any professional experience.

You will need to submit a sample of your creative work with your application. Please see our guidance on submitting creative work.

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Minimum requirement
IELTS (Academic and Indicator) 6.5, minimum 6.0 in each component
Cambridge CEFR B2 First: 176, with 169 in each component
Oxford ELLT 7, minimum of 6 in each component
Duolingo 120, minimum 105 in all other components
LanguageCert SELT B2 with 33/50 in each component
LanguageCert Academic 70 with a minimum of 65 in each component
KITE 459-494, with 426-458 in all other components
Skills for English B2: Merit overall, with Pass with Merit in each component
PTE Academic 61, minimum 55 in each component
TOEFL 87, minimum of 21 in each component
Trinity ISE III Merit in all requirements

For more information see our postgraduate English language requirements.

If you haven't met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current English language test scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.


You can apply and send all your documentation online. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.

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Contact us

Get in touch if you have any questions

Dr Bridget Foreman
Dr Rebecca Benzie

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School of Arts and Creative Technologies

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