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Fees and Funding

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


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.

What makes this course different

Hands-on approach

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

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

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.


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.


  • 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

    Devised Project

    This module is designed to introduce you to the practical and theoretical skills necessary in order to collaboratively devise a piece of theatre. By producing a cross-institution performance project, you will gain a practical understanding of key aspects of working as an ensemble while professionally interacting with an externally produced project / research brief. You will engage with current theory and contemporary performance practices emerging out of cultural sites and/or archival material and the ethical implications of producing performance in these domains.

    The project has a double focus:

    1. in devising as a means of making theatre and making meaning.
    2. in producing situated performance projects in collaboration with cultural institutions.


    The mains aims are:

    • To develop a range of skills required to devise theatre collaboratively
    • To develop an understanding of how devised performance and research are interdependent
    • To devise site responsive performance in collaboration with external partners.

    Contemporary Performance Making

    This module will introduce you to the field of contemporary performance practices and methodologies. Throughout the term, you will explore a range theoretical and practical skills required to conceive, devise and produce a collaborative performance. Indicative topics of study include: interdisciplinary composition; participatory and immersive practices; site specific/responsive performance; and digital performance.


    Research Methods in Creative Practice

    • To critically assess the application of social, historical, cultural and textual research methods to creative cultural products.
    • To facilitate the development of the practical skills necessary for the implementation of a research style for creative cultural projects and related written material.
    • To integrate theory with production
    • To further develop individual production skills
    • To develop research, planning and organisational skills

    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.

    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.

  • Core Modules

    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.


    MFA Professional Platform

    This module aims to facilitate students in creating and undertaking a professional platform for their creative work. Students will have supervised industry projects or placements related to their creative practice. Students will:

    • Engage with the creative industries in a professional context related to their work.
    • Create individual professional engagement plans with their supervisor and programme leader in order to meet the learning outcomes described in this module.


    This module will:

    • Guide students to create a professional portfolio of case studies, sketches/drafts of professional project, and reflection to prepare them for presentation/exhibition/residency in a discipline-specific conference, public event or professional industry installation or internship.
    • Enable students to achieve presentation/exhibition/residency or internship in their discipline as professional creative practitioners.


    The module aims to:

    • Prepare students for the public presentation of work in collaboration with their peers and professionals in the field.
    • Further encourage informed critical reflection upon the relations between the student's own practice and the current professional context of their discipline.


    The specific nature of the professional engagement will be determined between the student and the supervisor. Options include a professional exhibition, publication, work in a professional/dissemination context with a theatre, production company or publishing company, or another route agreed upon with the named programme.

    Each student, in conjunction with the programme team, will develop an individual learning plan and contract, which will stipulate the specific professional trajectory involved in meeting the learning outcomes of the module.


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."


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.


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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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.

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.

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.

Orsolya Nagy

MA Theatre Directing student

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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.

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