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MA Theatre Directing

Course overview

Start date

September 2018

Subject area

Arts and Digital Industries





On campus

Course summary

If you want to pursue a professional career as a theatre director, underpinned by a clear intellectual understanding of your practice, then our exceptional and practical MA course is ideally suited to you.

It provides an opportunity to develop your directing practice through an active engagement with critical thinking so that you will have the tools to become an independent creative artist in the industry.

The diversity of our student intake is our course’s strength. It’s open to those with professional as well as academic experience.

As well as taking part in master classes by visiting professional artists, you will learn from and work with staff who are both academics and professional practitioners with industry knowledge.

You will study a broad range of approaches to performance-making from traditional text-based work to intercultural and digital performance and contemporary devising.

We teach you at our brand new performing arts building in Stratford with its industry-standard studios and theatre production spaces. Beyond the university, you will also have the opportunity to show your work in professional venues.

Contact us

If you have any questions, talk to a member of our Applicant Enquiries team on +44 (0) 20 8223 3333 or email

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Hands-on approach

We’ll give you the opportunity to develop the technique and knowledge which will equip you for professional theatrical practice.

Industry experts

You will work with professional theatre directors in master classes and have the opportunity to hear from leading figures in acting and directing.

Flexible study

This is a flexible course. You will be able to study in the evening, allowing access for those of you who have work or family commitments.

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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, while Lecturer Jorge Lopes Ramos is joint artistic director of an acclaimed independent theatre company based in east London and Rio de Janeiro.

Jorge creates playful theatrical structures that allow for a participatory, immersive and interactive experience. He focuses his professional practice and research on the unspoken contract between the audience and the actor, which is underpinned by his work on the dramaturgy of participation.

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’.

Orsolya Nagy

MA Theatre Directing

I was attracted to the MA Theatre Directing course because it does not concentrate only on text-based theatre but also offers learning about various methodologies and different ways to create a performance.

My favourite things about UEL are the buzzy atmosphere, the libraries and the supportive and inspiring lecturers. The specialist facilities get ten out of ten.

The Black Box studio is a professional theatre production space in the new building at Stratford University Square. I love our performances there at the end of every term.

Entry requirements

Minimum 2.1 Honours in Theatre/Performance studies or related subject
We would normally expect you to have Grade C in GCSE English and Maths. All suitable applicants are required to attend an interview.


(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.


Admission to the programme is by interview. 

Special provision is made for international students who are unable to come to the UK for an interview. 

Overall IELTS 6.0 with a minimum of 6.0 in Writing and Speaking; minimum 5.5 in Reading and Listening (or recognised equivalent).

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 relevant life/work experience that equips them to succeed on the course. We will assess this from the information provided in your application (particularly your personal statement) and may ask you to attend an interview or submit a piece of work to help us decide on your eligibility for the course. 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. Please click here for details.

What you'll study

  • Director Training (core)
  • Performance Laboratory (core)
  • Staging Performance (core)
  • Research Methods (core)
  • Dissertation (core)

How you'll be assessed

All modules lead to performance and the final showcase Dissertation performances take place at Stratford Circus Arts Centre, a professional venue with excellent technical and front-of-house facilities.

Depending on your course modules, your assessments may include coursework essays, collaborative and individual presentations, professional placements, seen and unseen examinations, reports, portfolios, essay plans and creative work.

Course specification

How you'll learn

One of the great strengths of our course is that you will be taught by artists steeped in professional practice and the theatrical arts, headed by your course leader, Dr Dominic Hingorani.

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 Clocks 1888 the greener.  

Dominic originally trained as an actor and worked on stage in the United States 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 Rio de Janeiro and east London.

As well as their support, we’ll give you the opportunity to work alongside an experienced professional director who, if you want, will act as your mentor. 

Through our unique partnerships, you will have opportunities to engage with a variety of professional companies from London International Festival of Theatre to Columbia College, Chicago.

You will also benefit from a programme of talks by distinguished speakers. Recently, our students heard from British movie star Terence Stamp and the artistic director of Theatre Royal Stratford East, Kerry Michael.

Dr Hingorani says, “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.

“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

The MA Theatre Directing course takes a practice-based approach as it explores different directing methodologies – naturalism, realism, intercultural performance and contemporary devising practices.

You will gain the skills needed to create innovative and exciting performance work and to be able to operate as a professional theatre director and independent creative producer.

Your modules will feature Director Training, which looks at the key building blocks of working with an actor on voice, body and offers an in-depth Stanislavskian approach for the director working with text.

The Staging Performance module develops your skills as an independent producer and builds up to your performance, for which you’ll be mentored by a professional theatre company.

You will study a range of contemporary performance practices as well as honing advanced research skills as you prepare for your dissertation piece – a final directorial showcase performance to be enacted in a professional venue.

Your future career

The work you will be doing with theatre professionals and the constructive help and advice you will receive from professional actors throughout your course is all geared towards helping you establish yourself in the industry.

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.

Because our Staging Performance module is mentored by a theatre company, this could also open doors to performing your own work. It certainly has for previous students.

We believe our course helps nurture independent-minded, creative individuals – people like Tom Drayton, who graduated in 2014, has set up his own theatre company and is also busy with freelance work, including running workshops for children.

He produced the first ever free production of Sondheim's Sweeney Todd on the Edinburgh Fringe and, during his UEL studies, he directed and produced the acclaimed Twentysomething: a reading list, which focused on the plight of recent arts graduates following the economic recession.

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