Search for courses or information

MA Contemporary Performance Practices

Course overview

Start date

September 2020

Subject area

Music and Performance





On campus

Course summary

Are you a maker? An artist? An activist? Do you feel you need to do something in reaction to a deep crisis in the future of humanity, to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty? Are you longing for a space of discussion which brings together artists, scholars, and activists to create new types of cultural productions that transcend — rather than merely criticise — the status quo? Then MA Contemporary Performance Practices may be where your ideas belong.

The MA Contemporary Performance Practices enters its 3rd year in 2018/19, and is offered by UEL in conjunction with award-winning theatre and digital art company ZU-UK. You'll study at the University of East London using our state-of-the-art facilities, as well as at external venue GAS Station. This interdisciplinary programme takes a practice-based approach working across traditional disciplines of spoken word, performance, drama, sound/music and urban dance, as well as game-design, interactive technology and applied/community-based practices.

The teaching structure allow students to continue working alongside the course, as most classes are scheduled in the evenings.

Contact Us

If you have any questions, please contact our Applicant Enquiries team on +44 (0) 20 8223 3333 or email

Get in touch

Combine a wide range of practices

This interdisciplinary programme utilises a practice-based approach, working across traditional disciplines of spoken word, performance, drama, sound/music and urban dance, as well as game-design, technology and applied/community-based practices.

Work with award-winning partners

All students have the opportunity to participate in award-winning company ZU-UK’s renowned DRIFT residencies, which the company has been running since 2006 in over 11 countries.

Superb facilities

Study in professional rehearsal studios and technical facilities at UEL Stratford, USS and Docklands and undertake specific projects at GAS Station (East London), with fantastic opportunities to work alongside established international artists.

EnquireVisit UEL

How you'll learn

This multi-arts programme is suited to artists and facilitators wishing to develop their own imaginative creative practice, and who have a strong interest and in - and aptitude for - cultural leadership and artistic direction.

This is a programme for those who want to explore and develop their performance practice, research, and applied artistic and scholarly expertise in contemporary performance practices. Students will be immersed in a variety of ideas, approaches and forms but will also have vast opportunities to focus on their own areas of interest.

You will also be exposed to ZU-UK’s methodologies for creating participatory work and live art for public spaces, and gain insight into their dramaturgy of participation. At times you’ll be working on your own, and at other times with professionals from other disciplines.

As part of the course, students will be given the opportunity to take part in ZU-UK’s renowned DRIFT residency in London.

Fees and funding

The Student Money Advice and Rights Team (SMART) are here to help you navigate
your finances while you're a student at the University of East London.

We can give you advice, information and guidance on government and
university funds so that you receive your full funding entitlement.


Phone: 020 8223 4444

Tuition fees
Course fees will be confirmed soon.

£10,280 to fund your Masters Programme under the Postgraduate Loans (PGL) scheme

Postgraduate Loans (PGL)

The Postgraduate Loan (PGL) provide non means-tested loans of up to £10,280 to taught and research masters students.  It will be paid to students as a contribution towards tuition fees, living costs and other course costs.

Applications are made directly through Student Finance England


Whether you qualify depends on:
•    if you’ve studied on a postgraduate course before
•    your course
•    your age
•    your nationality or residency status

Full eligibility can be found here 

Please take a look at the Postgraduate Loans for an overview of the new funding.

Apply for a 50 per cent discount on your tuition fees! You can get a 50 per cent discount on course fees through a UEL Postgraduate Scholarship.

The scholarship is open to full-time and part-time UK and EU students of taught postgraduate courses.

To see our full eligibility criteria and how to apply click here

Terms and conditions apply.

How we can help you

Did you know that with a postgraduate qualification you can expect to earn £200,000 more than someone who only holds an undergraduate degree*?

If you want to build new skills, change career paths, or further your career prospects, a postgraduate degree can help you. Our range of scholarships and bursaries will make financing your education that much easier.

*Sutton Trust Report 2013

Alumni Discount - 15 per cent

Early Payment Discount - 5 per cent

Part-time Postgraduate Fee-waiver - up to £500

Sport Scholarships – Up to £6,000

Terms and conditions apply.

There are a number of ways you can pay your fees to UEL
•    Online payment facilities
•    By telephone
•    In person at our Docklands or Stratford campus
•    Bank transfer Full information on making payments can be found here
If you wish to discuss payments to the University, please contact our Income Team on 020 8223 2030 or you can email

The Student Money Advice and Rights Team (SMART) are here to help you navigate
your finances while you're a student at the University of East London.

We can give you advice, information and guidance on government and
university funds so that you receive your full funding entitlement.


Phone: 020 8223 4444

Tuition fees
Course fees will be confirmed soon.

At UEL, we understand that studying in another country is a big financial commitment. If you apply early for an postgraduate course, you may be entitled to a scholarship of up to £4,000. You can find out more about the international scholarships here. In addition to this, we offer a five per cent early payment discount and 15 per cent alumni discount.

The Student Money Advice and Rights Team (SMART) also run an Emergency International Fund to assist international students in hardship.

You can contact our SMART team on 02082234444 or

As part of the Tier 4 student visa requirements, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) estimate that you will need £1265* per month to cover your living costs. It includes expenses for accommodation, food and drink, travel within London, text books, entertainment, clothing, toiletries and laundry. Most Tier 4 students are required to show they have sufficient funds to cover the first nine months of the course before they start- a total of £11385- in addition to the tuition fees. You can find more information about the specific requirements of the Tier 4 student visa here. The amount that you will spend can vary depending on your lifestyle. The UKCISA International Student Calculator can help you plan and manage your money.

* Please note the Immigration Rules are subject to change and this figure is likely to be increased by UKVI year on year. Please therefore check our ISA pages ( for more information at the time of preparing your visa application.

Deposits and paying by instalments

International students are required to pay a deposit prior to being issued a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS).

Your remaining balance will be paid in five monthly instalments over your first term. The first of these instalments must be paid when completing your enrolment on arrival at UEL. Please follow the payment instructions here.

After the required payment has been made, you will be asked to complete the online International Student Reply Form to confirm your acceptance of our offer and of our terms of admittance and fees policy.

Our International team at UEL are available for advice and guidance on studying in London, fees, scholarships and visa requirements.


Tuition fees
Course fees will be confirmed soon.

Entry requirements

Minimum 2.1 Honours in Theatre/Performance Studies; Dance/Choreography; Music/Composition or equivalent professional experience.

We would normally expect you to have Grade C in GCSE English and Maths. 


(Including European Union)

We accept a range of qualifications from across the world. Please see our country pages for information on specific entry requirements for your country.

If you don’t quite meet the academic requirements for this course, you can apply with an additional foundation year. Read more about the International Foundation Programme.

Overall IELTS 6.0 with a minimum of 6.0 in Writing, Speaking, Reading and Listening (or recognised equivalent).

If you do not meet the academic English language requirements for your course, you may be eligible to enrol onto a pre-sessional English programme. The length of the course will depend on your current level of English and the requirements for your degree programme. We offer a 5-week and an 11-week pre-sessional course. Find out more here.

As an inclusive university, we recognise that applicants who have been out of education for some time may not have the formal qualifications usually required for entry to a course. We welcome applications from those who can demonstrate their enthusiasm and commitment to study and have the relevant life/work experience that equips them to succeed on the course. We will assess this from the information provided in your application – in particular your personal statement - to help us decide on your eligibility for the course.

Please note that some courses require applicants to meet the entry requirements outlined on the course page. Our pre-entry Information Advice and Guidance Team are able to provide further advice on entry requirements and suitability for study.
You can speak to a member of our Applicant Enquiries team on +44 (0)20 8223 3333, Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. Alternatively, you can visit our Information, Advice and Guidance centre.

What we are researching

Programme Leaders are at the forefront of immersive, participatory and interactive performance, as well as inter-disciplinary research and practice.  Led with immersive pioneers ZU-UK and Dr. Claudia Brazzale, the programme provides access to research on cultures of performance, emerging technologies, contemporary performance, public spaces and game-design. 

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. The Programme Leaders for the MA in Contemporary Performance Practices degree are also accomplished scholars, artists and performers.

Dr. Claudia Brazzale (MA in Performance Studies, NYU, and PhD in Culture and Performance, UCLA) is a scholar, choreographer and performer whose work and collaborations have been presented at many venues in the US as well as in the UK and Italy. She has held positions a lecturer at the Drama, Dance and Performance Studies department at Liverpool Hope University and as a Visiting Scholar at the Weeks Centre for Social and Policy Analysis at London South Bank University. While living in the USA, she was a Visiting Lecturer at the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University and an Adjunct Lecturer at the Women’s and Gender Studies Department at Rutgers University. In 2010 she was awarded an International Postdoctoral Fellowship from the American Association University of Women to support her research at the Institute for Research on Women, Rutgers University, where she held a position as a Global Scholar from 2009 to 2012. Her research and teaching interests include: dance, performance and integrated arts; global flows of traditional performance forms; cosmopolitanism and globalisation; space, place, migration and the moving body; performance, fashion, the body and consumer culture; feminist ethnographic and performative writing. Her current research project examines the recent circulation of West African dance and music in Italy.

Dr. Jorge Lopes Ramos works as joint AD/CEO of ZU-UK (London, since 2010), GAS Station (London, since 2015) and as Senior Lecturer at University of East London (since 2009). Jorge has recently completed a PhD by practice on Immersive Theatre.  His artistic work has won awards and nominations in the fields of interactive theatre, hybrid art and art form innovation.  His most acclaimed project, Hotel Medea, was the highest rated event by both public and press, becoming the standout hit of Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2011, presented also at LIFT2010 and Hayward Gallery in 2012. With ZU-UK, Jorge programmed live and digital festivals, created a telematic exhibition for the Olympics 2012, the World Cup 2014, Olympic Park in 2015 and coached emerging artists in over 10 countries since 2006. Jorge is currently developing an international network of creative LABS, including TAG Montreal, RedBull Station São Paulo and Festivals In Transition (13 European Festivals).

What you'll learn

  1. Our course responds to the creative industry demands of today by developing multi-skilled artists that are simultaneously practitioners, scholars and creative producers.  
  2. Our course will enable students to articulate and ‘own’ the value of the practice within and outside the arts industries. 
  3. You will work individually with course leaders to find appropriate links with existing organisations for professional placements. 
  4. You will have the opportunity to present your final work in a professional venue which hosts internationally acclaimed artists. 

What you'll study and when

We consistently review and develop our courses and modules to ensure they are up-to-date with sector and industry graduate skills demands. Course structure, modules and options are subject to change.

  • Cultures of Performance  (Core)
  • Contemporary Performance Making ‘Formerly PX7 403 Staging Performance’  (Core)
  • Artistic Leadership (Core)
  • Research Methods in Creative Practice MSM529 (Core)
  • Mental Wealth: Professional Life - Performance Praxis (Core)
  • Performance Platform (Core)

How you'll be assessed

Modules have typically two assessment components that consist of a performance and a critical reflection on the creative process and the live component. The final dissertation module consists of a performance piece and a critical reflection on that work (3,000 word count minimum).

Course specification

Your future career

Graduates from MA Contemporary Performance Practices have gone on to secure funding for their projects, create new artist networks, produce international projects, create new festivals, curate interdisciplinary events and have their projects programmed in a variety of festivals, venues and conferences since 2016. From 2019, UEL will offer an MFA route to this programme, as well as options to progress to PhD.

Explore the different career options you can pursue with this degree and see the median salaries of the sector on our Career Coach portal

You may also be interested in

  • Why study at UEL?

  • Open Evenings

  • Accommodation

  • Applying to UEL

  • Your offer

Meet us in your country

Our international team travel overseas regularly to meet prospective students and attend recruitment fairs. Our academics also give regular lectures overseas and are happy to speak to prospective students. In addition, we have a large worldwide network of advisors who can provide guidance and support with applying to study at the University of East London.

Visit Country Pages

Course Enquiry Form

Enquiry Details
Study Interests
Personal Details
Contact Details
Communications Consent

Please tell us how you would like to receive information relating to this enquiry and applying to study at UEL.

Terms and Conditions

The information you provide may be used by the University of East London to contact you regarding any enquiries you make, the University, courses you may be interested in and events you may wish to attend. Your information will not be disclosed to external organisations other than those acting as agents for the University of East London for the purpose of providing the University's customer relationship management service. It will be processed securely and in full accordance with the UK Data Protection Act 1998 at all times.

Please see our Data Protection Policy