Theatre and Performance

MA ( 1 year Full-time / 2 years Part-time )


The MA in Theatre and Performance is an innovative programme that is committed to socially-engaged and critically inventive exploration into theatre and performance.

Register your interest

The programme is interdisciplinary in its scope, and provides students with a range of opportunities to analyse and create theatre and performance in relation to a wide variety of critical contexts and cultural and historical perspectives.

You will benefit from our expertise in five main strands in theatre and performance: cultural politics; transnational practice; experimental practice; applied practice; and cultural industries. A key benefit of the programme is its flexibility: within a framework of informed and structured experimentation, you can develop theoretical and practical projects to advance your own investigations.

The programme will:

  • Offer you a range of potential career outcomes. You will be given a solid grounding for further study in theatre and performance, while you will also have the opportunity to undertake work placements in the cultural industries
  • Allow you to develop both theoretical and practical projects to advance your own research or career agendas

Why study for your MA in Theatre and Performance at Queen Mary?

Drama at Queen Mary offers you the opportunity to study in one of the most vibrant performance research environments in the UK; our students' own work directly benefits from, and contributes to, the department's world-class scholarly and artistic reputation, as postgraduates work alongside scholars and practising artists with international research profiles.

  • We have close links with London's leading cultural institutions which means you will have the opportunity to work with theatre and other arts professionals. For students interested in developing their experience in the cultural industries, the Department offers placements at a number of organisations, both large and small. Students are also encouraged to participate actively in the numerous research and performance events that are a central feature of academic life in Drama at Queen Mary.
  • Our location in east London is an important element in our work, and you are encouraged to see the site of your studies as being part of your exploration of your subject. Whether in groups, or individually, you are also encouraged to investigate the unknown and the unexpected, and we have developed modules that will invite you to consider drama and performance in a variety of settings which might include schools, hospitals, prisons, art galleries or the streets, as well as theatres across the UK and internationally.
  • In addition to spending contact hours with our world-leading academic staff, students also attend lectures, workshops and mentoring sessions with visiting artists. In recent years the MA has hosted a wide range of high-profile artists, including Ron Athey, Julia Bardsley, Stacy Makishi, Kira O'Reilly, Manuel Vason, Simon Vincenzi, Del LaGrace Volcano, and many others.

For full information about life in the School and the programmes we offer, please see the School of English and Drama Website.



The MA in Theatre and Performance is currently available for one year full-time study, or two years part-time study.

Students take four assessed modules and two non-assessed research training modules before proceeding to the 12,000-15,000-word dissertation.

Part-time study options often mean that the number of modules taken is reduced per semester, with the full modules required to complete the programme spread over two academic years. Teaching is generally done during the day and part-time students should contact the course convenor to get an idea of when these teaching hours are likely to take place. Timetables are likely to be finalised in September but you may be able to gain an expectation of what will be required.

Core Modules:

  • Contemporary Theatre and Performance
  • Dissertation Preparation (unassessed)
  • Performance Research (unassessed)

Optional modules include:

Students select three options from the following:

  • Theatre and Performance Theory
  • Cultural Industries
  • Performance Lab
  • Early Modern Drama in Performance
  • Performing Mental Health
  • Independent Written Project
  • Independent Practical Project

Students are also encouraged to take modules from other MA programmes throughout Queen Mary. Modules offered by English, Geography, and Computer Science can all serve to further students' research interests.

For more information

Visit the website English and Drama website.


School of English and Drama

For informal enquiries and academic advice, please make an enquiry

Entry requirements

The MA Theatre and Performance welcomes applicants from scholarly as well as artistic backgrounds. Normally, the principle requirement is a first or upper second class honours degree (or the equivalent) in a relevant field. Where a North American marking scheme is used, applicants should normally have a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.3.

Promising applicants who do not meet the formal academic criteria but who possess relevant credentials and who can demonstrate their potential to produce written work at masters level will also be considered. As part of the admissions process, we may call for examples of written and artistic work and/or interview candidates.

International applicants

Students from outside of the UK help form a global community here at Queen Mary. For detailed country specific entry requirements please visit the International section of our website. If your first language is not English, you must provide evidence of your English language proficiency. You can find details on our English language entry requirements page.

If you do not meet language or scholarly requirements it might be possible for you to undertake foundation or pre-sessional programmes that will prepare you for the masters programme. For more information, please contact the Admissions Office.

If you are unable to find the information you require, please contact the Admissions Office for assistance.

Learning and teaching

As a student at Queen Mary, you will play an active part in your acquisition of skills and knowledge. Teaching is by a mixture of workshops and small group seminars. The seminars are designed to generate informed discussion around set topics, and may involve student presentations, group exercise and role-play as well as open discussion. We take pride in the close and friendly working relationship we have with our students.

Independent study

For every hour spent in formal classes you will be expected to complete further hours of independent study. Your individual study time could be spent preparing for, or following up on formal study sessions; reading; rehearsing; producing written work; and completing projects.

The direction of your individual study will be guided by the formal study sessions you attend, along with your reading lists and assignments. However, we expect you to demonstrate an active role in your own learning by reading widely and expanding your own knowledge, understanding and critical ability.

Independent study will foster in you the ability to identify your own learning needs and determine which areas you need to focus on to become proficient in your subject area. This is an important transferable skill and will help to prepare you for the transition to working life.


Seminar modules are assessed via 4,000-word essays or equivalent; studio modules are assessed via a combination of practical work and documentation.


You will also be assessed on a supervised 12,000-15,000-word dissertation. Recent dissertation subjects include:

  • Studies of illness and performance
  • Performance and second language acquisition
  • The performance of rural spaces and identities
  • Contemporary performance and relational aesthetics
  • Circus performance in Victorian Britain
  • Cultural value and performance
  • Performance and social conflict


Tuition fees for Home and EU students

2020/21 Academic Year

Full time £9,950
Part time £5,000

Tuition fees for International students

2020/21 Academic Year

Full time £18,000
Part time £9,000

Part time fees are charged per annum over two years for a two year programme and per annum over three years for a three year programme. A percentage increase may be applied to the fees in years two and three.

This increase is defined each year and published on the intranet and in the Tuition Fee Regulations. A 3% increase was applied to the unregulated university fees in 2019/20. Further information can be viewed on our University Fees webpage, including details about annual increases.


There are a number of sources of funding available for Masters students.

These include a significant package of competitive Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) bursaries and scholarships in a range of subject areas, as well as external sources of funding.

Queen Mary bursaries and scholarships

We offer a range of bursaries and scholarships for Masters students including competitive scholarships, bursaries and awards, some of which are for applicants studying specific subjects.

Find out more about QMUL bursaries and scholarships.

Alternative sources of funding

Home/EU students can apply for a range of other funding, such as Professional and Career Development Loans, and Employer Sponsorship, depending on their circumstances and the specific programme of study.

Overseas students may be eligible to apply for a range of external scholarships and we also provide information about relevant funding providers in your home country on our country web pages.

Download our Postgraduate Funding Guide for detailed information about postgraduate funding options for Home/EU students.

Read more about alternative sources of funding for Home/EU students and for Overseas students.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 5079

Other financial help on offer at Queen Mary

We offer one to one specialist support on all financial and welfare issues through our Advice and Counselling Service, which you can access as soon as you have applied for a place at Queen Mary.

Our Advice and Counselling Service also has lots of Student Advice Guides on all aspects of finance including:

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 8717

Graduate employment

Drama at Queen Mary aims to train scholar-artists who can pursue careers in academia, in the cultural and creative industries, or in a range of other professions.

Research training

Our masters programmes include compulsory research training elements designed to enhance your analytical and communication skills. These sessions will make you a more informed critic of performance and will prepare you to pursue successful PhD research.

Professional and artistic development

If you are a practitioner, you can pursue postgraduate study as a means of reflecting on, and developing, your craft. We ask students to consider their own craft alongside other bodies of performance work and within a range of critical perspectives. We encourage our students to experiment with performance while studying with us, and our students have recently performed their research at the Barbican, Camden People¿s Theatre, Sadler¿s Wells, the Chelsea Theatre, Battersea Arts Centre, Contact in Manchester, the Basement in Brighton, and the Soweto Theatre in South Africa.

Pursuing postgraduate study in drama will make you an informed cultural commentator and will give you a range of key critical skills and perspectives that will allow you to thrive within the cultural and creative industries in England and beyond.

Network and placement

Throughout your studies, you will have opportunities to establish formal and informal relationships with a diverse array of artists, companies, charities, industry professionals, and academics. Some of our graduates go on to pursue careers with organisations that they first encountered while at Queen Mary.

Our MA in Theatre and Performance offers you the chance to undertake a voluntary work placement to learn about the cultural industries. In recent years, our students have undertaken placements with: Phakama, a youth arts organisation; LADA, the Live Art Development Agency, based in Hackney Wick; the Huguenots of Spitalfields Festival; Headlong, an independent touring company; Magic Me, an intergenerational arts organisation in Tower Hamlets; and Tender, an arts organisation that uses theatre and performance to engage young people in violence prevention.

Graduate destinations

The range of skills gained through our programmes, coupled with networking opportunities, work placements, and extracurricular activities, has allowed recent graduates to move into a variety of careers including:

  • Head of Learning and Development, Candoco Theatre Company
  • Information Assistant/Producer, Nightingale Theatre
  • Arts Administrator, Arts Admin
  • Arts Journalist, KPFK Radio, California
  • Lecturer in Theatre and Performance Studies, King¿s College London
  • Project Manager, People¿s Palace Projects, QMUL
  • Senior Lecturer, University of Chichester
  • Theatre Company Co-Founder, Figs in Wigs
  • Freelance Performance Artist



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