Arts and Digital Industries
It’s ideal if you want to to pursue a professional career in the theatre, to develop a deeper understanding of your craft and hone your performance skills.
Based at our new, state-of-the-art University Square Stratford building, you will work in close collaboration with students and academic staff on our equally excellent MA Theatre Directing course as you produce and perform a range of innovative work of professional quality while also being given expert tuition in the skills of acting.
Taught in the evenings and on Saturdays and available for both part-time and full-time study to fit around your needs, it’s a course geared to equip you with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills required to be a stage actor.
You will be guided by leading theatre practitioners, who will both teach and mentor you. After a final degree show in which you will have the chance to showcase your talents, you will leave our course ready to discover that all the world’s your stage.
Our course will give you the chance to develop an innovative and distinct performance practice to set you on the road to success in the world of acting and the performing arts.
Kick-start to your career
We’ll give you the chance to work with a mentor, an experienced professional actor who will offer you support and advice and help you make the step into the professional creative world.
You can study in the evening to allow access for those of you who are working or have family commitments.
What we're researching
The results of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), a six-yearly national review of higher education research, underlined the quality and impact of our work.
An impressive 50 per cent of the research we’re undertaking in the field of Music, Drama, Dance and Performing Arts was judged to be either ‘internationally excellent’ or ‘world-leading’.
Our Centre for Performing Arts Development (CPAD) has become an international centre for research in the performing arts and supports research that is concerned with political, philosophical, cultural, ethical, socially-engaged and community applied issues.
All of our academics are teachers, practitioners and researchers. Dr Sheila Preston, our Head of Performing Arts, co-published with Tim Prentki The Applied Theatre Reader, which is the key text book on undergraduate and postgraduate courses nationally and internationally.
Dr Dominic Hingorani, Course Leader for the MA Acting and Theatre Directing degrees, is also an accomplished writer, director and producer who runs his own theatre company while Lecturer Jorge Lopes Ramos is joint artistic director of an acclaimed theatre company based in east London and Rio de Janeiro.
Making a difference
UEL is one of the UK’s leading modern research universities. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF), 17 per cent of our overall research submission was classified as ‘world-leading’ for its quality and impact – almost double our previous REF score. A further 45 per cent of our work was considered ‘internationally excellent’.
My whole world was opened up by this course. The content challenged me and I was constantly learning both from my lecturers and my fellow students who are passionate about their art and diverse in experience and backgrounds. Rehearsal space and time at the new Stratford campus is plentiful and you can hire out equipment from cameras and microphones to recorders and booms. There are really no excuses not to produce the best work you can.
We would normally expect you to have Grade C in GCSE English and Maths. Applicants will be expected to attend an audition and an interview.
What you'll study
- Actor Training (core)
- Performance Laboratory (core)
- Staging Performance (core)
- Research Methods (core)
- Dissertation (core)
How you'll be assessed
For each module, we’ll assess you on your coursework components. These components typically consist of a performance and a critical reflection on that performance.
You take one or two modules per term and there is a dissertation project to be taken over the final term. The MA Acting is practice-based, so the final dissertation module consists of a performance piece involving both acting and directing students and a critical reflection on that work.
How you'll learn
Dominic is a professional playwright, academic author, producer and director and Co-Artistic Director of Brolly, a cross-arts company supported by Arts Council England. He has recently written and produced a national tour of a new play for teenagers, Guantanamo Boy, and a new opera called Clocks 1888 the greener.
Dominic originally trained as an actor and worked on stage in the USA with Sir Ian McKellen and performed on TV and film.
Another teacher is Dr Jorge Lopes Ramos, the multi-award-winning joint artistic director of the internationally acclaimed Zecora Ura – an independent and innovative theatre group based in both Rio de Janeiro and east London.
As well as their support, we’ll give you the opportunity of being able to work alongside an experienced professional actor who, if you want, will act as your mentor.
Through our unique partnerships, you’ll have opportunities to engage with a variety of professional companies. Our current partners include Theatre Royal Stratford East, London International Festival of Theatre, Hoxton Hall, Columbia College in Chicago, Stratford Circus and Theatre Venture.
You’re also benefit from a programme of guest speakers. Recently, our students heard from British movie star Terence Stamp and the artistic director of Theatre Royal Stratford East, Kerry Michael.
“This course was created especially for those wishing to pursue a professional career in the theatre and develop the skills to be an independent creative artist,” says Dr Hingorani.
“Our teaching ethos is tailored to the individual student to develop their own unique creative voice, underpinned by academic rigour and an understanding of professional art practice, delivered in industry-standard studio facilities."
“I can’t think of a more exciting place to start your career, build your networks and access world-class professional theatre than in London.”
What you'll learn
So you will study naturalism, realism, contemporary devising, intercultural performance, production and practice as research.
You will look at the dynamically interrelated skills of acting, voice and movement and take a module in how to stage performances, during which you’ll be mentored by members of a professional theatre company.
Our course is practice-based, so your final piece of theatre will be a performance piece involving both acting and directing students, while also producing a critical reflection on your own work.
This double module is capped by your final degree show, which will be devised and created by you. It could be purely a solo effort but, alternatively, you could collaborate with performers from other UEL courses in dance and music.
Either way, it’s a big opportunity, offering you the chance to develop important future contacts while acting as the main shop window for your talents.
Your future career
Your final degree show will act as your showcase to attract agents and develop your professional networks.
By having your own mentor in the last six months of your course, you will not only gain important insight and advice about the technical aspects of acting but you will receive invaluable help in developing important contacts.
We believe our course helps nurture independent-minded, creative individuals - actors such as the RADA-trained Takunda Kramer, who shone while at the University of East London and has gone on to star with various professional companies as far afield as New York, Dar Es Salaam and Nairobi.
Like many of our other students who go on to further postgraduate research and study, Takunda has now returned to UEL to undertake a PhD based on protest theatre in his native Zimbabwe.
Another graduate, Neil Walker, now co-manages a theatre company and is currently taking the lead role and touring in a play which he wrote himself: Do We Do The Right Thing?
“Seeing the work I started to create at UEL performed before audiences is deeply rewarding – a real buzz!” says Neil. It’s a feeling many of our students will relate to.