MA Theatre Directing: Text and Production (Part time)

"I am reliably told (by my employer) that I was employed in the role that I am now in, partly due to my MA and the focus of its study. My job has grown extensively in the past 6 years"

In their words

Teresa Zoers, MA Theatre Direction: Text and Production


The British Archive for Contemporary Writing at UEA contains the extensive personal archive of the Nobel Laureate, Doris Lessing, and literary material from other prominent authors such as Naomi Alderman, Tash Aw, Malcolm Bradbury, Amit Chaudhuri, J.D. Salinger, Roger Deakin, Lorna Sage, WG Sebald and the playwright Snoo Wilson.

Read It


In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014), UEA was ranked joint tenth in the UK for the quality of its research in English Language and Literature (Times Higher REF 2014 Analysis) with 82 per cent of our research rated either 4* (world leading) or 3* (internationally excellent).

Kick start your directing or criticism career with one of the UK’s longest established Theatre Directing Master’s courses. You will learn from leaders in actor-training, contemporary writing, adaptation and dramaturgy.

In addition to faculty expertise, you’ll benefit from visiting professionals and theatre practitioners throughout the year, creating an unparalleled balance of philosophical, technical and practical learning.

UEA boasts a truly interdisciplinary approach, with the chance to collaborate with postgraduate students and tutors from more than one School. Whether you wish to pursue a career as a theatre-maker or director, or continue in academic research, this course is for you.


The MA Theatre Directing at UEA is one of the longest established in the UK. Each year we select only a very small number of Theatre Directing students – creating a close, collaborative environment. 

This is a highly intensive year’s work, balancing the advancement of your intellectual frames of reference for understanding modern theatre, with continual, hands-on opportunities to test and develop your practical skills. Collaboration with fellow students is key – and you’ll gain from working with undergraduate actors throughout the year.

You will have the chance to study and interrogate the canon and legacy of post-war British theatre, and pass exams qualifying you to climb the studio’s tallescope to change a lantern. You will be in constant peer-contact with acting students, sharpening your directorial skills in workshops, scene classes and productions. 

Your optional studies include world-class modules in scriptwriting, theatre and radical dramaturgies, television and society, adaptation and interpretation and post-modernism in performance.

You’ll showcase your development and learning through your final dissertation – which could take the form of a full production, a written research or creative project, or a bespoke combination of any of these.

On graduating from this MA you will be equipped, both with the skills and vocabulary, to direct actors with confidence and bring conceptual creativity to their work in the technical and plastic elements of the stage. You’ll be ready to apply for assistant director positions in major companies and to go out and make work of your own for small and medium scale venues.

You’ll also be able to critically analyse both written and performed work with dramaturgical acuity, and with insight into theatre methodologies and theatre-making practices. This makes you well placed to move into an academic or journalistic career.

Course Structure

In your first autumn semester you will be integrated into the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing in two ways. First you’ll complete a weekly studio skills course alongside first year undergraduates – including health and safety, sound, lighting and stage management. Once you’ve successfully completed this you’ll be certified to work alone in the building, at any time, by arrangement.

For your core autumn module, you’ll collaborate with second year undergraduates in their Actor and the Text module. Here you will study Shakespearean verse, Laban technique, States of Tension, Status improvisation and the fundamentals of Stanislavskian practice. Throughout this module, you’ll apply the techniques you study in class to a series of scenes, casting undergraduate students and rehearsing out of hours.

In parallel to these modules, you will take part in a weekly group tutorial, discussing both the techniques of the moment and their genesis in theatre practice and theory.

You will also work with undergraduate actors to explore post-war theatre. You will discover key theatrical approaches of the period and learn to apply them through scenework. This culminates with an hour-long, more fully realised, production. 

In your weekly tutorial you will explore wider themes of genre, theatrical style and tone, and conceptualisation. You will grow your frame of reference through guest lecturers and practitioners, some with practical workshops and others with close examination of theatre practice and philosophy. Here you may encounter Artaud, Brecht, Meyerhold, Grotowski, and writers such as Beckett or Kane, who incite a non-naturalistic energy on stage and offer an alternative view of theatrical function and form.

You will also get to choose 2 optional modules in your second year.

Following your post war production, you will choose your own practical research project. You’ll discuss your development path and choices in tutorials – and your project will take the form of a written dissertation, a public production, or a combination of the two. If you choose to do a production, this will usually take place in October at the end of your second year, allowing for a late summer rehearsal period.

Teaching and Learning

You’ll be taught by academics and practitioners, many of whom are world experts in their field. Our modules are informed by their specialisms, which means you’ll benefit from access to the latest thinking and research. The expertise of our academic staff ranges from professional actors and directors to television writers and West End playwrights.

You’ll also spend time in independent study at the state-of-the-art library, writing essays or carrying out practical work or projects. This course will give you an excellent balance of independent thinking and study skills, helping you deepen as a self-motivated learner, an expert researcher and analytical thinker.

Your accuracy and precision in analysis in your written work will be developed through self-directed study and highly responsive feedback and tutorial sessions. The MA will sharpen your time management and organisational skills, as well as your sensitivity in interpersonal dynamics.

To make sure you get the most from your studies and help you reach your full potential, our Learning Enhancement team, based in the Student Support Service, are on hand to help in the following areas:

  • Study skills (including reading, note-taking and presentation skills)
  • Writing skills (including punctuation and grammatical accuracy)
  • Academic writing (including how to reference)
  • Research skills (including how to use the library and online resources)
  • Critical thinking and understanding arguments
  • Revision, assessment and examination skills (including time management)


You’ll be assessed through coursework (which could be an essay or a directorial or scriptwriting project) and creative project results. The balance of assessment by written and practical coursework is 50/50 on average, depending on your modules.

For most modules you will test your knowledge and practical skills in practice (formative) assignments before your summative assessments, which count towards your final grades. You’ll discuss your formative feedback with your teachers as part of a deepening self-reflective journey through your studies.

After the course

Follow in the footsteps of past graduates and go into the theatre or film industries as a director or writer – or you could even start your own theatre company. Through our collaboration with the MA scriptwriters you’ll have a ready-made network of relationships and professional contacts in East Anglia and London.

There have also been opportunities in arts administration for local and national government, venue management, and the heritage and tourism sector. Or you could continue your studies with a PhD.

For inspiration and advice, the Careers Service runs an Arts and Humanities events programme, which includes alumni-led presentations and workshops.

Career destinations

  • Theatre director
  • Film director
  • Scriptwriter
  • Dramaturgy
  • Arts administrator
  • Teacher

Course related costs

Please see Additional Course Fees for details of other course-related costs.

Course Modules 2020/1

Students must study the following modules for 40 credits:

Name Code Credits


In this module you'll consider the relationship between actor training and directing, via regular workshops with professionals currently involved in the theatre industry. With them, you'll explore, experientially, what methods contemporary directors are using and where they have learnt them, paying particular attention to the traditions which flow into their work through the training that actors receive in drama schools. How each director or trainer balances physical image, text and musicality, is a recurrent question. We will also acquaint ourselves with some of the major theories of what the theatre is, or could be - those, for example, of Meyerhold, Gordon Craig, Antonin Artaud, Bertolt Brecht and Peter Brook. We will consider what playwrights themselves have contributed to a consideration of the relationship between word and image. In this context, Shakespeare, too, will be considered as an implicit 'director'. Here you will deepen your critical awareness of two modes of analysis of verse speaking which have been developed in this country since the founding of the RSC - 1) analysis in terms of speech-acts, and 2) analysis in terms of metre. We will also look for implicit stage directions in Shakespeare's texts, concerning movement and spatial composition. In parallel to this, you will be attending the Post-War module seminars and lectures, gaining a working appreciation of the Post-War canon. You will also continue the practice of your accrued knowledge, as you direct 1st year undergraduates in regular scenework. This process is assessed formatively throughout the first part of the Spring semester. At the end of the semester, this culminates in your directing an hour-long Post-War extract. Preparation for this will include selection and conceptualisation of a production-text, the editing of that text and the casting of the acting company. Weekly tutorial or workshop 3 hours, plus weekly Post-War lecture/seminars 3 x 2hours Maximum additional scene rehearsals, 6 hours Post-War production rehearsals evolve to become full-time for a maximum of two weeks during May




The module comprises two elements. One consists of a weekly three hour tutorial in which you will study various methods of directing via Stanislavski-based textual analyses and an understanding of the actor's own vocabulary for what they do. This involves comparative critiques of established practitioners such as Katie Mitchell, Mike Alfreds, David Mamet and others. This tutorial also affords the opportunity to discuss the ongoing rehearsal and presentation of scenes, which is the second, integrated aspect of the module. This second part of the module integrates our work with that of the 2nd year undergraduate actors, in a day-long weekly class called The Actor and the Text. We will be studying 'actioning', objectives, intentions, the place of research; working with verse and language, Laban's effort analyses, status games and an introduction to Meisner's training exercises and to Lecoq's physical methods. These exercises become vocabularies to be utilised in your rehearsals of scenes with the actors. The module tutor will regularly attend and contribute to these scene rehearsals, the presentations of which are summatively assessed throughout the semester. Total 12 tutor contact hours per week, plus (average) 6 additional scene rehearsal hours per week.



Students must study the following modules for 100 credits:

Name Code Credits


You will have the opportunity to produce a dissertation, which develops your own interests in greater depth in concentrated study on a topic of your choice, as approved by the Course Director or other authorised person. Several alternatives to this exist, the most popular of which is the dissertation/production, which is a minimum of an hour's length public performance, with all elements of stagecraft, technical and artistic responsibility taken by the student director and supervised by the module leader. Following the production and viva, the student will produce a 2500 word critical-reflective essay as a commentary on the aims, research and rehearsal experience of the production.




This compulsory 10 credit module is the precondition for the production/dissertation which concludes the MA. You will be asked to pitch your idea and plan for research and development of the final production/dissertation. The department will collaborate with you to ensure that the project takes shape in a way which is deemed to be both feasible and artistically ambitious.



Students will select 20 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits


How does drama work? Dramaturgy explores dramatic theory across the media of theatre, film, television and radio, and attempts to find shared principles between them. Weekly seminars will develop your understanding of dramatic structure, character, time and space, the distinction between plot and story, as well as encouraging you to examine the dramatic forms in isolation. To achieve this we'll study a range of contemporary films and plays as well as classics, dip into radio and television and draw on a body of readings and theories. You'll find that the learning will be practical and reflective, and it will have direct applications for your work in drama whether as a writer or a director. You'll also have fun, with screenings, discussion and presentations. The module will end with you writing a comparative essay that draws on what we have studied, but it can also respond to dramas you love. Some prior experience of dramatic writing is useful for this module, but a love of drama is essential.




For nearly a century television has been the dominant global cultural force. Despite newer technological innovations, such as the internet, television remains a medium consumed by billions. Its social and cultural impacts are profound, and in this module you will examine the relationships between television and society. Key to engaging with this idea is exploring the purposes to which television has been used. A highly-regulated medium, in many countries it is mandated with fulfilling social purposes, such as educating citizens or serving to bring nations together. Why has television been given these roles, when most other cultural forms haven't, and what implications does this have? You will study a wide range of television's output in order to unearth how its social purposes play out in the kinds of things it broadcasts. To do this you will explore key ideas for thinking about television's representations, such as the conventions of particular genres, or debates about realism and naturalism. You will develop skills in textual analysis, with the purpose of identifying television's social functions via its texts. The module will enable you to engage with ongoing and persistent real-world debates about the impacts of culture generally, and the purposes of television in particular. It will develop your critical and analytical skills, situating these squarely within culturally-specific debates.



Students will select 20 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits


Critical reading and creative writing collide when adapting a text for performance in another medium. The very process forces a string of questions: Is it possible to separate a story from its expression? What, if any, are the obligations owed to the source text? Must the adaptation always be 'secondary'? Can we define a 'good' adaptation? The questions only grow more interesting if we consider changes in reception and more complex when we alter era or cultural setting. This module focuses on key questions in dramatic adaptation, establishing a foundation in basic theory and then focusing on readings of source works and screenings or performances of adaptations. Seminar discussions probe the choices offered by original texts and explore the possibilities and limitations inherent in different forms. In the later sessions, you will have the opportunity to workshop an adaptation for a final project. Writers are expected to produce scripts, while theatre directors will have to option to produce a script or a performance. The module is a must for scriptwriters, but no prior scriptwriting experience is necessary as the seminars teach the basic techniques of dramatic writing. Class workshop will further develop skills in the specific dramatic forms.




Throughout the medieval and Early-Modern periods Norwich was one of England's most important cities - probably second only to London - and East Anglia one of the country's culturally liveliest and richest areas. In this module you will explore the literature of these periods in its material contexts (the region's prosperity and power may still be seen in its architecture and in the rich holdings of its libraries and museums) and ask whether there was a specifically East Anglian cultural tradition. You will explore East Anglia's rich dramatic traditions, its devotional literature and practices (in orthodox forms and in those that brush against the heterodox), and, insistently, the manner in which its literature participates in its broader social and cultural worlds. This module may particularly appeal to you if you have an interest in the cultural traditions of Norwich and East Anglia or, more generally, in the literature of place.




We are currently witnessing a renaissance in history writing. Sales of historical novels continue to rise steeply. Societies have formed; new prizes have been established. A number of eminent historians are turning from fact to fiction. What can the historical novel do in terms of reaching the past that more conventional historical accounts cannot do? Can it challenge long-told historical narratives, propose new ones or give us new vantage points? You will cross the boundaries between literature, history and creative writing to explore the possibilities (and paradoxes) of historical fiction. You'll study the history of the historical novel and read critical and theoretical essays about the writing of history alongside examples of ground-breaking, innovative or revisionist modern and contemporary historical fiction. Books studied might include for instance Mantel's Wolf Hall, Graham Swift's Waterland, Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea, Toni Morrison's Beloved and Emma Donohue's collection of short stories, The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits. You will also explore ideas around 'history of the emotions' and the 'history of mentalities'. You will present work in progress in the workshop format as you move towards the submission of either a final piece of historical fiction (short story or part of a novel) or a critical essay or a portfolio that includes both critical and creative work.




Throughout this module you will produce translations in conditions that encourage and facilitate reflection on the process and product of translation. You will be encouraged to think experimentally, not only about the forms a finished translation might take, but also about the ways in which process might be incorporated into the translation. The module has a workshop format and culminates in a series of presentations of the projects on which students have chosen to work. A series of sessions devoted to the discussion and hands-on tackling of practical problems connected with translation and the projects ahead, precede the presentations. One class meeting will take place at the Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts and another at the Special Collections of the UEA Library. Throughout the semester you will be encouraged to discuss a variety of texts, both critical and creative, that help illuminate the process and product of literary translation. You will also be invited to circulate your own bibliographies (developed in relation to in-class presentations as well as the main project) to other members of the class, and to bring to our attention any text(s) you encounter that may be of particular relevance. Your final project will engage with the process of producing literary translation, and will comprise a scholarly discussion thereof illustrated by your own translations of a more or less experimental nature. The in-process project will be presented to the class for discussion and feedback in the second part of the semester.




Are you interested in how a book is selected for publication, in how to write for an online readership, or in learning how to edit? Whether you are a writer or a would-be publisher, this module will give you an introduction to the modern publishing industry and equip you with some of the practical skills involved in the successful publication of texts. As well as becoming acquainted with the structure and economics of the contemporary publishing world, the opportunities and challenges posed by digitalisation, you will examine the process whereby books are chosen by literary agents and publishers, review principles of text and jacket design, acquire basic copyediting and proofreading skills, learn tips for publicising books online, write jacket 'blurbs' and press releases. You will also engage with the principles and practice of blog-writing, with copyright law and aspects of publishing finance. In recent years speakers such as Chris Hamilton-Emery from Salt, Philip Gwyn Jones of Scribe, Rosie Sherwood of art-publisher Elbow Room and Eloise Wales of The Literary Platform have addressed the seminars. We have examined correspondence between authors and publishers in the UEA Archive of Contemporary Writing and visited the Jarrold's Print Museum in Norwich and the London International Book Fair. Towards the end of the module you will also have to opportunity to become involved in the editing of the annual MA Creative Writing anthologies. Assessment is by formal essay OR creative-critical assignment such as a literary blog.




Do you want to write outside the box? Define your own kind of performance text beyond the constraints of conventional story-telling? Writing and Performance offers you the chance to study a range of dramatic texts and theory that explode conventions of playwriting and performance. Weekly seminars and workshops will deepen your understanding of form and practice in a variety of modes of writing: the solo play, the micro-play, site-specific writing, verbatim, 'post-dramatic' work, devised, multi-media, or hyper-naturalist. You'll explore the work of writers such as Wallace Shawn, Samuel Beckett, Suzan Lori-Parks, Tim Crouch, Martin Crimp, Caryl Churchill, Moises Kaufman, Simon Stephens, Franz Xavier Kroetz, Sarah Kane, or the ideas of Hans Thies-Lehmann. You'll read and discuss work and then explore it in your own practice - create your own site-specific piece on campus, explore self-presentation through the solo play, and experiment with 'found-text'. These writings and a short essay will make-up the portfolio of works by which you will be assessed. Writers and artists across disciplines are welcome as are theoretically-minded students wishing to work creatively.




Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules and regular (five-yearly) review of course programmes. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, there will normally be prior consultation of students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff or sabbatical leave. In some cases optional modules can have limited places available and so you may be asked to make additional module choices in the event you do not gain a place on your first choice. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

Further Reading

  • UEA Literary Festival

    The University of East Anglia's first literary festival took place in 1991 and over the last twenty five years we have welcomed a host of award-winning authors, journalists, illustrators, scientists, economists, broadcasters and more.

    Read it UEA Literary Festival
  • Home Truths

    The troubled little sister of crime fiction, domestic noir has seen an explosion in popularity in recent years.

    Read it Home Truths
  • Unlocking The Past

    How can the study of dusty manuscripts lead to the creation of interactive digital mapping tools? How does digitising globally significant medieval and early modern letters lead to donning walking gear and creating heritage trails across Norfolk?

    Read it Unlocking The Past

    Your University questions, answered

    Read it #ASKUEA

Entry Requirements

  • Degree Classification Bachelors (Hons) degree - 2.1 or equivalent
  • Special Entry Requirements Sample of work - see below

Students for whom English is a Foreign language

We welcome applications from students whose first language is not English. To ensure such students benefit from postgraduate study, we require evidence of proficiency in English. Our usual entry requirements are as follows:

  • IELTS: 7.0 (minimum 6.0 in each section and 7.0 in writing)
  • PTE (Pearson): 65 (minimum 50 in each section and 65 in writing)

Test dates should be within two years of the course start date.

Other tests, including Cambridge English exams and the Trinity Integrated Skills in English are also accepted by the university. The full list of accepted tests can be found here: Accepted English Language Tests

INTO UEA also run pre-sessional courses which can be taken prior to the start of your course. For further information and to see if you qualify please contact


Promising candidates will be invited for an interview. Unsuccessful candidates are welcome to re-apply, though not within the same academic year. Successful candidates will either be offered a place for the forthcoming academic year or a place for the following academic year (if it is felt that they need more time to develop as a director). Once the forthcoming year is ‘full’ candidates will be offered a place on our reserve list with the option of a place for the following academic year if a place does not become available. If you are living overseas, the interview may be undertaken by telephone or preferably by Skype at a mutually convenient time.

Special Entry Requirements

Applicants will need to provide a sample of written work (in English). This should be an essay, 2000 words to 3000 words long. It should be relevant to the course for which you are applying. Alternatively you could send us an essay that you have written for another purpose (eg, your undergraduate degree), or you could write something especially for this purpose. Your essay should demonstrate your ability to engage analytically, your familiarity with the conventions of academic writing, and your ability at writing in English.


The School's annual intake is in September of each year.

Alternative Qualifications

If you have alternative qualifications that have not been mentioned above then please contact the Admissions Office directly for further information.

Fees and Funding

Tuition fees

Tuition fees for the academic year 2020/21 are:

  • UK/EU Students: £7,850
  • International Students: £16,400

If you choose to study part-time, the fee per annum will be half the annual fee for that year, or a pro-rata fee for the module credit you are taking (only available for UK/EU students).

Living Expenses

We estimate living expenses at £1,015 per month.

Scholarships and Awards:

There are a variety of scholarships and studentships available to postgraduate applicants in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. For further information relevant to the School of Literature and Creative Writing, please click here.

How to Apply

Applications for Postgraduate Taught programmes at the University of East Anglia should be made directly to the University.

To apply please use our online application form.

Please note we are no longer accepting any applications for September 2020 entry. Our next intake will be in September 2021 and applications are now open. Processing for these applications will start in October 2020. 

Further Information

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances prior to applying please do contact us:

Postgraduate Admissions Office
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515

International candidates are also encouraged to access the International Students section of our website.

    Next Steps

    We can’t wait to hear from you. Just pop any questions about this course into the form below and our enquiries team will answer as soon as they can.

    Admissions enquiries: or
    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515