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Home>Study at York>Postgraduate taught>Courses 2019/20>Theatre-Making (MA)

MA Theatre-Making

From words on the page to a fully-realised performance

Year of entry: 2019


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2019 (term dates)

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Find out what studying at York as a postgraduate is really like.  

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Work with creativity and flair as a theatre-maker. Experience first-hand, in a richly creative environment, the intricate collaborative interplay between dramatists, directors and performers which underpins contemporary 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 a range of theatre and performance 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.

This course may have previously been referred to as MA Theatre.

Distinguished visiting speakers

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

Develop your work

Focus on your practical work as a theatre-maker with full use of amazing facilities and opportunities for collaboration.

Unique creative environment

Bringing together world-leading researchers, dynamic teachers and industry professionals in a vibrant community.

The high standard of teaching from the university lecturers and the visiting theatre practitioners meant that I was pushed well beyond my comfort zone. A highlight was performing in Caryl Churchill's 'Far Away' at the York Theatre Royal and getting onto the West Yorkshire Playhouse's new playwriting scheme. The course inspired my theatre in education work.

Course content

Our modules focus on hands-on, collaborative working. Contact with leading theatre and performance practitioners will ensure that you have a wide range of practical, creative and analytical skills as you continue to develop your own theatre-making practice. 

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 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 worth over half of the course credits.

You'll work with other postgraduate students studying alongside you at TFTI,  and you may also choose to work with our undergraduate students, and actors and directors from outside the Department. You'll learn to work collaboratively with people in a wide range of roles and across disciplines.



You'll study a total of 180 credits. 80 of these will be through taught modules in the first two terms. You'll then go on to study a further 100 credits as part of an extended research project in the third term.

  • Thinking Through Theatre-Making (20 credits)
  • Contemporary Approaches to Theatre-Making (20 credits)
  • Elements of Theatre-Making (20 credits)
  • Production Project (20 credits)
  • Extended Dissertation or Practical Project (100 credits)

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.


Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.


The final term and summer vacation is dedicated to the design and development of individual project work. You'll choose to be assessed depending on where your interests lead.

  • Assessed on a performance (plus reflective writing) as a practitioner 

  • Assessed on a dissertation as a researcher 

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

For assessment as a practitioner you will produce a performance of up to 60 minutes in length and support it with a piece of reflective writing of 4,000 words that demonstrates a critical and contextual understanding of your work.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2019/20

Study modeUK/EUInternational
Full-time (1 year) £7,810£17,370
Part-time (2 years)
Fees for subsequent years are subject to confirmation
year 1 fee
year 1 fee

Students on a Tier 4 Visa are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.

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 more. As a student of theatre we want you to become familiar with as much and as wide a range of theatre as possible, and so we run regular trips to local and regional theatres. Some of these trips may be connected directly to a module and others will be of wider interest. The majority of organised trips are optional, but you should budget for at least one theatre trip a term.

Fees information

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK/EU or international student.

Funding information

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

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

Home/EU students

International students

Department scholarship information

Further details of department 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

Theatre-making in depth

Consider a range of contemporary theatre and performance examples and develop a deep awareness of their historical, social and political contexts. Interrogate the work of the contemporary theatre maker and the interplay between dramaturgy, acting and directing as a new production develops.

Theatre trips

Join us for optional local and regional theatre trips. As a student of theatre we want you to become familiar with as much and as wide a range of theatre as possible.

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 be taught through a range of different teaching styles. In workshops and seminars we’ll discuss and analyse texts and performances and apply theoretical understanding to practical exploration. In rehearsals and problem-solving sessions we’ll look at how to put a piece of theatre together, and the negotiations involved in moving from ideas and text to performance and production. As you engage with your extended independent project or dissertation, you’ll be supervised individually by a member of staff who will work with you in the most suitable way for you and your project.

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 on 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.


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 
  • 3Sixty: innovative room that allows a fully immersive presentation 
  • Other facilities 

Teaching location

You will be based in the Department of Theatre, Film, Television and Interactive Media on Campus East.

Your contact hours will be divided between Theatre, Film, Television and Interactive Media 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 assessment vary depending on the module and may include the following:

  •  Studio-based practical assessments and demonstrations 
  •  Reviews, blog-style articles 
  •  Essays of varying lengths from 1,000 to 4,000 words  
  •  Research presentations in class 
  •  Group performances and production projects
  •  Final practical project of up to 60 minutes in length 
  •  Reflective essay of 4,000 words if submitting a final practical project 
  •  Dissertation of 20,000 words if submitting final research project
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 this masters 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

A significant number of graduates have set up their own theatre companies, sometimes based on connections and performance work made while working on their degrees with us. Many graduates work in the following areas:

  • Performers

  • Directors

  • Playwrights

  • Designers

  • Producers

  • Technicians

  • Literary managers

  • Dramaturges

  • Literary agents

Graduates have also gone on to work in the screen industries, radio, publishing or teaching. Other graduates continue their research through to PhD and beyond, or explore further practical training.

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

Qualification Typical offer

You should have, or be about to complete, a 2:1 undergraduate degree or equivalent qualification, although we will consider applications from students with lower qualifications.

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

The international equivalents of UK qualifications are shown on our country-specific pages. You can also contact the international team for guidance.

We recommend that you submit your application for this course by 31 August.

English language

If you're a non-native English speaking applicant you must provide evidence of your English language ability.

  • IELTS: 6.5, with no less than 6.0 in each component
  • PTE: 61, with no less than 55 in each component
  • CAE and CPE (from January 2015): 176, with no less than 169 in each component
  • TOEFL: 87, with a minimum of 21 in each component
  • Trinity ISE: level 3 with Merit in all components.

Full details of all acceptable tests and relevant exemptions.

If you've not 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 IELTS 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 electronically through our online system. 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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