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Fees and Funding

Here's the fees and funding information for each year of this course


Directing for Stage and Screen is for those who have a passion for  directing for both the live theatre and for onscreen film and television as well those wishing to develop audio-visual elements for the live performance context.

We offer this course at both MA and MFA; the MA is one year and the MFA requires a second year of further study. Please choose which qualification you would like to apply for by selecting your choice at the apply button.

The programme will prepare you for entry into the moving image and theatre industries through the production of work which could be distributed via film festivals and / or theatrical performance. The programme will also act as a base for doctorial study, an academic career or professional work in theatre and film practice.

The focus of the practice-based training offered in the programme is intended to prepare you for work in the exciting and innovative moving image and theatre sectors through high-end technical instruction, development of professional performance and production methodologies, creative writing, performance praxis and stage craft, and an insight into the industry's structures and business models.

You will also benefit from the programme's wide networks in the theatre and moving image industry; you may also gain wider industrial film experience via Schema, UEL's Student Production Unit. Schema coordinates a variety of film projects with external organisation and is a conduit for internships and work placements.

You will leave the programme with a substantial portfolio of work for both immediate production / screenings and as basis for fundraising for future productions.  You will also have learnt a wide range of technical skills, in both production and post-production.  You will leave having developed an innovative practice and an understanding of industry.

What makes this course different

Practice focused

Practice focused

This programme is practice focused and hands on.

Industry standard facilities

Industry standard facilities

You will have access to ‘Industry Standard’ facilities

Professional practitioners

Professional practitioners

You will be taught by leading academics who are also professional practitioners


The MFA / MA Directing for Stage and Screen course takes a practice-based approach as it explores different stage and film directing methodologies – Realism, Narrative Cinema, Moving Image, Contemporary Devising and Screenwriting. 

You will gain the skills needed to become a creative and innovative Director in Film and Theatre with the opportunity to experiment and learn your craft taking your ideas from concept to realisation on the stage or screen. 

The Director and the Text module draws on the Stanislavskian approach to staging plays and gives you an in-depth understanding of how to work with actors. 

The Narrative Cinema module gives you a grounding in scripting, crew dynamics, production planning and practical filmmaking skills in the production of a short fiction film. 

The Devised Project module works in collaboration with a major cultural organisation, at present the V&A Museum, to create an original performance work to be staged and hosted in the museum.

The Moving Image module looks at a wide range of experimental approaches to moving image work and explores a range of film technologies, including16mm film, green-screen and multiscreen installation.

The Screenwriting module will introduce you to the process of screenwriting. Through an analysis of the art of writing for screen, including developing story structure, characters and dialogue, as well as the mechanics of screenwriting such as format and structure, students will advance their own professional scriptwriting practice.  

Your Final Project will be your chance to realise an ambitious, high production value, festival-ready film or stage play which acts a ‘showcase’ for the innovative directorial practice you have developed on the course


This course is subject to validation. You can still apply for this course while it is being approved.


  • Core Modules

    Director and the Text

    This module will introduce you to a range of skills required in order to direct a piece of theatre in line with professional standards and rehearsal techniques.

    The module aims to enable you:

    • To understand how a scene functions and the director’s role in realising the scene into performance
    • To work collaboratively with a sense of company complicité
    • To encourage the interpretation of texts, ideas, and emotions through voice and body
    • To create and sustain an improvised rehearsal or performance
    • To understand the role of the director in the dramaturgical process
    • To understand the relationship between the director and other creative professionals in the performance process
    • To understand mise-en-scene
    • To read a lighting plan
    • To facilitate the use of the body in a free, safe and flexible manner
    • To facilitate an awareness of space
    • To understand the necessity of a warm up

    Narrative Cinema

    • To explore a variety of approaches to narrative filmmaking in different historical moments and cultural contexts.
    • To develop knowledge and skills to producing scripts for narrative film production.
    • To develop production skills relevant to developing and producing short narrative films.
    • To develop directorial skills in working with actors in the production of narrative films.
    • To interrogate theories of the production of meanings in moving image, and establish a working knowledge of dominant discourses.
    • To establish a working knowledge of the main genres, tendencies, and conventions of narrative cinema, and to develop a critical understanding of the role of independent filmmakers.
    • To develop film & video production skills in HD camera, lighting, sound, production management, crew dynamics and post-production software.

    Creative Practice

    As part of the final year in an MA/MFA pathway, this module is a supervised, independent, student-driven creative practice module, which offers students an extraordinary opportunity to develop their creative practice in depth and to complete a professional-standard, full-length creative output in their discipline. Students from a range of practice-based programmes will create individual practice-based research plans with their supervisor and programme leader in order to meet the learning outcomes described in this module. Students develop their own working practices with supervision by their named programme supervisor in order to explore and advance their projects and reflective components.


    This module will:

    • Offer individual students the opportunity to critically develop his or her own work in the context of a rigorous but supportive intellectual climate.
    • Encourage students to identify and explore those key contextual issues relevant to their artistic practice.
    • Guide students to critically evaluate their work and that of their peers in the context of contemporary professional artistic practice.
    • Enable students to achieve the highest possible standards in their work, so that MFA graduates have the confidence, maturity and intellectual and interpersonal skills necessary to function as successful creative practitioners.


    The module aims to:

    • Enable students to work with a significant level of autonomy in the production of a practice-based project
    • Enable students to produce a body of work that demonstrates a resolution of practice and critical understanding
    • Prepare students for the public presentation of work in collaboration with their peers and professionals in the field.
    • Allow students to confidently contextualise their own work within the parameters of contemporary art practices.
    • Further develop the ability to identify and formulate new critical insights into established practice
    • Further encourage informed critical reflection upon the relations between the student’s own practice and current issues within their discipline.


    Students are expected to demonstrate independence and 'ownership' in relation to their learning experience. In this focused environment each student learns how to organise and structure their working patterns in order to prepare themselves - both intellectually and practically - for the life of a professional practitioner in their chosen area. Each student, in conjunction with the programme team, will develop an individual learning plan and contract, which will stipulate the specific content of the creative practice involved in meeting the learning outcomes of the module.


    Performance Platform

    The aims of the module are to:

    • Provide you with the opportunity to pursue self-initiated work, which demonstrates a critical understanding of the approaches, practices and knowledge acquired earlier in the course.
    • Develop an advanced understanding of research methodology and project management for production-based work.
    • Provide you with the opportunity to develop production work to a high creative and technical standard.
    • Produce a written component that is based on critical reflection.
    Optional Modules

    The Moving Image

    This module aims to provides you with a range of research methods and skills necessary for undertaking media production-based work as part of your MA degree and be able to function in the media industries environment of the 21st century, with transferable skills and adaptability.

    The module aims to assist and encourage conceptual and technical experimentation and research work which maps the subject matter and the formal strategies to be employed, in the production of innovative source materials.

    The central concept of this module is the relationship between realistic limitations and imaginative innovation: limitation is seen not negatively, but as the dynamic contour of the release of creative energy, enabling artistic and aesthetic invention.


    Mental Wealth: Professional Life - Performance Praxis

    This module will provide you with the opportunity to develop an innovative practice as research performance methodology that can lead to the production work of a high creative and technical standard. They will pursue self-initiated work, which demonstrates a critical understanding of the approaches, practices and knowledge acquired earlier in the course and applied to their project and develop an advanced understanding of research methodology and project management for production-based work. This module is provided for you to develop an innovative practice as research performance methodology and pursue self-initiated research based on an area of your choice leading to an outward facing production. You will demonstrate an understanding of theoretical perspectives pertinent to performance practice, to contain a coherent implementation of research methodology and pre-production planning and show evidence of original research.


You'll be taught by a range of staff, most of whom are active practitioners in the field  which ensures that the practice-led research which is disseminated in the studio, or actually takes place there, is relevant to industry and practice. It also means that the course is well placed to take advantage of the myriad of professional networks which staff bring with them. Within each module there is a practical component and support/contextual component with the intention that knowledge and skills are always introduced and developed in relation to studio projects.

When not attending timetabled lectures, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This will typically involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for exams. Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and Moodle.

Our academic support team provides help in a range of areas - including learning and disability support.

Each year you will spend around 300 hours of timetabled learning and teaching activities. These may be lectures, workshops, seminars and individual and group tutorials. Contact hours may vary depending on each module.

The approximate percentages for this course are:

Year 1:

  • scheduled teaching – 300 hours
  • guided independent study – 900 hours

Your individualised timetable is normally available to students within 48 hours of enrolment. Whilst we make every effort to ensure timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching will be a mix of both daytime and evening sessions, partly dependent on module choice. 

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 15 working days of the submission deadlines.

The teaching team includes qualified academics, practitioners and industry experts as guest speakers. Full details of the academics will be provided in the student handbook and module guides.


This is a practice-based and industry focused programme with a weighting of roughly:

  • 70% process, performance, production and
  • 30% critical reflective writing


University Square Stratford

University Square Stratford, University Square Stratford


The teaching team includes qualified academics, practitioners and industry experts as guest speakers. Full details of the academics will be provided in the student handbook and module guides.

Dr Dominic Hingorani

Dr Hingorani is an academic, playwright, director and producer. He is a Reader in Theatre and Performance and Postgraduate Research Leader at UEL.

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Jo Shoop

Jo works in the film department teaching screenwriting and directing to undergraduates and postgraduates.

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Johannes Maier

Senior Lecturer in Film for the School of Arts and Creative Industries.

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David Chapman

Dr David Chapman is Course Leader for MA Filmmaking and teaches film production and film history at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

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What we're researching

At the University of East London we are working on the some of the big issues that will define our future; from sustainable architecture and ethical AI, to health inequality and breaking down barriers in the creative industries.

Our students and academics are more critically engaged and socially conscious than ever before. Discover some of the positive changes our students, alumni and academics are making in the world.

Please visit our Research section to find out more.

What we're researching

Professor Dominic Hingorani is a writer, director and producer and the co-Artistic Director of Brolly Productions a cross arts company supported by Arts Council England which develops new BAME artists and diverse audiences for the arts. He has produced and written original plays and operas which have toured nationally with partners including Opera North, Hackney Empire, Half Moon Theatre and the National Maritime Museum. 

Jo Shoop is a writer/director whose credits include BAFTA nominated and BBC 2 screened short films as well as mainstream work on popular TV drama series. Writing in development including feature films and stage plays for Theatre Royal Stratford East.

Performing arts at UEL

At The University of East London we offer a range of postgraduate degrees in our Performing Arts department - designed to help you become a skilled, reflective practitioner in your chosen field.

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Why study at UEL?

Setting out on your journey to higher education can be a confusing and daunting experience. At the University of East London, we pride ourselves in the level of support we offer new students to help you make the right choices.

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This programme will equip you for a range of careers in the creative industries or as a platform for progression to PhD study. You will gain the skills, understanding and knowledge to develop an innovative practice as a Film or Theatre Director, Playwright or  Screenwriter and an Independent Creative Producer. You will also develop a pathway to PhD study which can incorporate your practice as a focus of study.  

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