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
Modules & structure
This is a praxis programme on which you gain 180 CATS (credits).
|Practical Study: Scenography||30 credits|
|Performance Making (A and B)||60 credits|
|MA in Performance Making Dissertation||60 credits|
|Contextual Theory||30 credits|
Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.
The Department of Theatre and Performance offers a vibrant interdisciplinary learning environment, supported by distinguished staff and outstanding facilities
Theatre and Performance
Study in a department that fuses theory and practice, where you can study diverse subjects, and benefit from our industry links. We're ranked 22nd in the world for performing arts.**
Theory and practice
We balance academic study with creative and technical practice, so you’ll explore hands-on theatre making while developing your knowledge of theatre history and culture.
We cover diverse subjects from classical texts and new writing to contemporary writing and performance, and from physical and applied theatres to multimedia/live art.
Teaching staff include distinguished researchers and professional theatre-makers.
We have international networks in the industry, with regular visits from professionals, and links with associate organisations in London including:
Our excellent facilities include a 160-seat theatre, four performance studios, new scenic workshops, sound studio, and open-access media lab. All supported by an outstanding team of technicians and scenic designers.
Find out more about the Department of Theatre and Performance.
*QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017
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:
- Julia Bardsley
- Sally Jacobs
- Graeme Miller
- Nick Parkin
- Geraldine Pilgrim
- Marie-Gabrielle Rotie
- Chitra Sundaram
- Mischa Twitchin (Shunt)
and internationally, for example:
Skills & careers
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.
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:
- Station House Opera
- Marie Gabrielle Rotie Productions
- The Clod Ensemble
- The Royal Court Theatre
- The Gate Theatre
- The Globe Theatre
- Goossun Art-Illery
- Northern Stage
- The Royal National Theatre
- The Beijing Academy
- Bernie Grant Arts Centre
- Hackney Empire
- Greenwich Dance Agency
- The Convenor’s Company
- Athletes of the Heart
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.
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.
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.
We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.
English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us.
For this programme we require:
IELTS 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing
If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.
How to apply
You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system.
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
- A personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online
- 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.
Admission to the programme is by interviews which are held in late February/March.
Find out more about applying.