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Course information

Length

1 year full-time or 2 years part-time

Course overview

This unique international laboratory programme brings diverse individuals into collaborative research, acknowledging the challenges of creating original, performer-driven theatre in today's complex, globalised culture.

In over 3 decades there has been a creative surge in hybrid live performance worldwide. This has been the work of solo artists, ensembles, auteurs and performer-directors across creative fields, who have redefined boundaries and stretched the artistic and social imagination into new spaces, both literally and figuratively.

Within the vibrant environment of Goldsmiths, and with all the stimulus that London offers culturally, practising or emerging practitioners develop compositional, critical, technical and management skills and strategies for forging independent and self-motivated careers. Our graduates work as practitioners, teachers and cultural leaders worldwide.

On the programme you will conceive, research, construct and deliver your ideas and articulate what motivates these. Teaching is rigorous and interdisciplinary. You study with distinguished international artists as well as scholars within a praxis ethos where theory informs creativity and vice versa. The emphasis throughout is on encouraging collaboration across disciplines and cultures, and on contextualising practice within its social, political and architectural environment.

Physical training, scenographic/environmental exploration and hands-on introduction to technologies (lighting, video and sound) support composition and artistic experimentation. You identify your own practice within the historical and contemporary field, and write critically and creatively. You archive your practice digitally, and on graduation will have developed a portfolio of projects. You are guided on professional development by the Live Art Development Agency (LADA) and the Institute for Cultural and Creative Entrepreneurship (ICCE) at Goldsmiths.

The programme enjoys a wide international professional network of organisations, commissions, venues and festivals of benefit to students. You study both at Goldsmiths and ArtsAdmin. Click here for a full list of artists associated with the programme as permanent and guest tutors.

"The MA in Performance Making at Goldsmiths attracts artists from all over the world seeking to develop their skills, creativity, pragmatics and independence. Taught by distinguished professionals, it encourages original, collaborative research into new forms, new imperatives and new contexts for live performance. As such it makes an invaluable contribution to the culture of performance."

Lois Keidan, Director: Live Art Development Agency, London

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact the Department of Theatre and Performance Office

What you'll study

This is a praxis programme on which you gain 180 CATS (credits).

Core modules

Module title Credits
  Practical Study: Scenography 30 credits
  Performance Making (A and B) 60 credits
  MA in Performance Making Dissertation 60 credits
  Contextual Theory 30 credits

Download the programme specification for the 2018-19 intake. If you would like an earlier version of the programme specification, please contact the Quality Office.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

Entry requirements

You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least upper second class standard in a relevant/related subject. 

You might also be considered for some programmes if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.

International qualifications

We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score of 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

Fees, funding & scholarships

Find out more about tuition fees.

Additional costs

The Department of Theatre and Performance provides students with budgets for all practice-based exercises, which students manage as part of their learning. Students also receive free printed readers for most lecture seminar classes. On this basis, there is no essential additional cost to students on our programmes.

Funding

Find out more about funding opportunities for home/EU applicants, or funding for international applicants. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

You may be eligible to apply for funding from the AHRC.

How to apply

You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system. 

Read our FAQs about the application process and the programme.

Before submitting your application you’ll need to have:

  • Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments
  • The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic copy of your academic reference
  • personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online

          Please see our guidance on writing a postgraduate statement

  • If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory)

You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.

Please note: applications are only processed after 31st January. Candidates are interviewed by the programme director by Skype from February onwards and the results are processed very quickly. If you need an earlier interview due to scholarship applications, please contact the Admissions Team. 

When to apply

We accept applications from October until 30 January for students wanting to start the following September. 

We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place that is conditional on you achieving a particular qualification.  Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available.

Selection process

Admission to the programme is by interviews which are held in late February/March.

Find out more about applying.

Student work

Staff

Programme convenor

Additional contributors

In addition to the academic staff within the Department of Theatre and Performance, the programme has a number of additional contributors.

Artists contributing to the programme from the UK include:

and internationally, for example:

Careers

Skills

You will become conversant, confident and skilled in a range of methodological practices as well as compositional strategies for independent theatrical, dance theatre and live art creation.

Your critical and analytical skills in interpreting artistic practice will be tested in a range of verbal, written and oral ways. Your study of your own body as a creative instrument will be complemented by learning the principles of scenography and film narrative.

You will research intellectually and produce theoretically informed writing. You will learn to contextualise your own practice and interests in the contemporary field of performance both in the UK and internationally, and to articulate such practice.

Overall you will learn how to research, construct and deliver your ideas performatively and how to advocate your own projects to producers, venues, funders and other agencies.

Careers

Graduates work in a wide variety of professional contexts globally as commissioned performance makers, directors, project leaders, programmers, teachers and academic researchers.

The programme has launched international production companies and collaborations whilst the many organisations employing them include:

And a range of international commissions and festivals including Edinburgh Festival and Brighton Fringe.

What some of our alumni are doing now

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths

Research

The Performance Research Forum (PRF)

The Performance Research Forum is a meeting ground between contemporary practitioners, researchers, students and staff in Goldsmiths as well as the general public via a programme of cutting edge talks, events and performances. A PRF event might be the sharing of a work-in-progress, a platform for decoding an unfamiliar form, or the opportunity for an artist to show and discuss their work with the audience.

The PRF offers two programmes per year. These reflect the breadth of our department’s curriculum at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels: embracing as we do Live Art, multi media and dance theatre alongside the theatre as a literary form. Crucially, it emphasises our attention on focusing our work beyond western cultural traditions to reflect the cultural diversity of our students and the city in which they are studying.

Performance Research Events, teaching and learning:

The PRF is used by Goldsmiths staff and students in various ways:

  • as totally extra-curricular
  • as part of specific under or post-graduate research
  • as material from which to write assignments

Highlight performers from the PRF series have included:

  • Karuna Karan (trainer of Peter Brook’s actors for the Mahabaratha
  • Franko B (body artist)
  • Ron Athey (body artist)
  • Kira O’Reilly (body artist)
  • Sally Jacobs (scenographer)
  • Steve Paxton and Yvonne Rainer (dance)
  • Raimund Hoghe (Pina Bausch’s long-term collaborator)
  • Alida Neslo and La Ribot (Surinamese theatre artists)
  • Ko Murobushi (Butoh artist)
  • Graeme Miller
  • Kazuko Hohki
  • Jonathan Stone
  • Chitra Sundaram
  • Marie Gabrielle Rotie
  • Geraldine Pilgrim
  • Cindy Oswin
  • Tim Etchells (Forced Entertainment)
  • Mischa Twitchin (Shunt)
  • Liz Aggiss
  • and the eccentric and brilliant grande dame of performance theatre Rose English.

What our students say

Paula

"It is a unique programme that is as international as it is interdisciplinary."

"Having always been around the world of performance, with training in stage management and film production, and a career in arts administration and video production, I began to develop my own creative practice as a spoken word artist. 

It was after four years of producing and touring my own solo work that I felt a desire to broaden my practice and find different approaches to creating. I also wanted to explore use of scenographic elements and to be less reliant on text. 

I wanted a programme where I could learn by doing, and learn as much from my cohort as from the professional tutors present. The MA in Performance Making at Goldsmiths has been exactly that. It is a unique programme that is as international as it is interdisciplinary (that is to say very). In one intensive year it brings together a vibrant community of artists of varied talents and disciplines, unified by their shared passion for expressing themselves performatively. 

At the start of the programme I was very honoured to receive a bursary from the London-based writer's development agency Spread The Word in support of my writing. I was selected as one of six writers who they felt were stretching the boundaries of what spoken word is. After the last year I definitely feel like my work fits more squarely under this umbrella term of ‘performance’."

Hannah

"When researching postgraduate options London - with its vibrant creative scene - and Goldsmiths - with its excellent reputation - seemed like natural choices."

"I started the MA in Performance Making as a practicing visual artist. I studied Fine Art for my undergraduate degree and afterwards spent several years developing my practice and showing my work in galleries throughout Ireland including the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the Douglas Hyde Gallery. I had always been interested in performance but felt limited by my lack of physical training and experience.

The MA in Performance Making offered many valuable learning experiences both inside and outside of the classroom. Highlights included a three day workshop with Steve Paxton, as well as the chance to see a preview of Franko B’s Because of Love performance during its development.

Without doubt the most beneficial element of the the MA in Performance Making is the diversity of the cohort. Meeting, sharing and collaborating with performers from across the world and from a variety of training backgrounds was invaluable in terms of its impact on my practice. I was privileged to work alongside dancers, actors, cultural theorists and artists from places as diverse as Chile, Palestine, Germany, Iran and Brazil.

Since graduating I have gone on to co-found the performance collective The Honest Crowd, with five of my MA collaborators. In this capacity we have presented our final show piece Glasshouse in the Battersea Arts Centre and are continuing to work closely with The Basement in Brighton through a series of residencies to develop Glasshouse further and premiere it at the Brighton Festival in May 2013. As with most practitioners my practice is supported by my part-time job and even in this respect my ties with Goldsmiths remain as I now work in the Careers Service on campus."

Raz

"I get to reflect on and theorise my professional output as a maker."

"When I first inquired about great places in London for performers and theatre makers to do an MA in, I looked for a programme that will not make you sit in a class all day and would still challenge you with theory, ideas and research tools. The MA in Performance Making at Goldsmiths kept coming up. I found here exactly what I was after. I am privileged to spend this year with not only a highly professional innovative and insightful faculty, but with a remarkably varied group of co-students, from almost every possible background. The work of an architect classmate makes me question elements in my own work I was never aware of. I get to reflect on and theorise my professional output as a maker. This inevitably leads to new unexpected lines of new work with which I can immediately experiment on the course and get feedback for. It's truly great."

See more profiles for this programme

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