Covering historical and philosophical bases of theatre and performance practices from different parts of the world, on this degree you'll investigate indigenous and contemporary performance and theatre traditions from a variety of cultural contexts. The MA in World Theatres is one of the few freestanding taught Masters programmes in world theatres and performance in the UK and globally.
The programme aims to train graduates for professional employment in a range of positions in theatre, in government settings, in the culture sector and in HE internationally that require solid intellectual preparation and knowledge of the field. Practitioners who come on the programme can use knowledge acquired to extend the articulation of their career.
This one-year full‐time or two-year part-time programme of study aims to cover the historical contexts and philosophical bases of theatre and performance practices from different parts of the world, some of which are rarely introduced in UK HE. It will thus involve the student in a study of indigenous and contemporary performance and theatre traditions from a variety of cultural, national and international contexts. From this vantage context, students will be able to compare and contrast such work critically, within and beyond a European perspective, and in turn use this perspective to consider contemporary theatre in multicultural Britain.
The main aims of the programme are:
- To introduce the student to the whole range of drama, theatre and performance practices from many areas of the world
- To allow the student scope for creative yet rigorous and critical thinking combined with cumulative knowledge
- To enhance understanding of the interaction between practice and theory in all areas of performance study
- To encourage and foster independent research, carried out through the scholarly channels of books and visual archives, as well as through access to practice, if/when available
- To provide access where possible to industry opportunities to extend their study, in particular with our new Associate Organisation, LIFT and its biennial festival of international theatre as well as its on-going programming of activities.
Contact the department
If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Professor Osita Okagbue
Modules & structure
Modules and Structure
All students on the programme will undertake four taught modules and a research project. The programme may be taken full-time or part-time for the duration of one year or two years, respectively. For full-time students, the programme runs over three terms, of which Term One is devoted to two modules and students will also be required to undertake training for research and academic writing in preparation for the Research Project. Term Two comprises two modules and the Research Project, while Term Three is devoted entirely to the Research Project.
Part‐time students have two terms in their first year of study and three terms in their second year.
Term 1 (Autumn) - World Theatre: Contexts and Practices + Contemporary African Theatre and Research Project (training for research and academic writing)
Term 2 (Spring) - Asian Theatre: From Bharata to Brecht and Eastern European Theatres and Research Project
Term 3 (Summer) - Research Project
Term 1 (Autumn) ‐ World Theatre: Contexts and Practices or/and Contemporary African Theatre
Term 2 (Spring) - Asian Theatre: from Bharata to Brecht and/or Eastern European Theatres
Term 1 (Autumn) - World Theatres: Contexts and Practices and/or Contemporary African Theatre (depending on how many were taken in Year One) and the Research Project
Term 2 (Spring) - Asian Theatre: From Bharata to Brecht and/or Eastern European Theatres (depending on how many were taken in Year One) and the Research Project
Term 3 (Summer) - Research Project
Total CATS = 180
Total Learning time = 1800 hours
Total contact time = 100 hours
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
Learning & teaching
Teaching and Assessment
Teaching is via lectures, seminars, workshops and practice sessions with our resident teaching team alongside guest lecturers and theatre companies. A mixed mode of assessments are used which can either be in the form of a written assignment or PaR submission.
Academic and Pastoral Support
The Department recognises the importance of supporting students’ learning with high quality teaching that is responsive to their individual and collective needs. The programme has been designed to be as accessible as possible to all students.
Goldsmiths also provides a range of other student support services. Students have access to the College Library, Multi-media, Audio Visual study resources and Computer Services and Language Resources and these provide a substantial means of supporting other aspects of student learning. All postgraduate students also have access to a dedicated Postgraduate resource centre, which houses a number of online resources and offers space for seminars and the informal exchange of ideas.
Support for student learning is provided by the study resources that are available in the Rutherford Information Services Building: extensive book and audio-visual collections, electronic journal and book resources such as the Alexander Press Black Drama, Asian American Drama, African Writers Series database, the computer and multi‐media equipment, Library and IT staff with expert knowledge. The Library also houses the LIFT (London International Festival of Theatre) Living Archive, an important resource for international theatre in London since 1980. All registered students also have access to the University of London libraries network.
Skills & careers
The department is home to the African Theatre Association (AfTA) and its bi-annual journal, African Performance Review. The Department of Theatre and Performance has close links with two research centres: The Pinter Centre for Performance and Creative Writing and The Centre for the Body, that each generate learning opportunities via programmes of talks, conferences and workshops. The Department runs regular extramural activities, including hosting international practitioners in the Performance Research Forum (Dis-Play) series. The department’s special relationship with the Goldsmiths Confucius Institute and its association to the Beijing Dance Academy, also contributes to the global performance practice opportunities offered. Together, these organisations provide a unique research and professional resource for students on Theatre and Performance programmes.
Expertise is provided by the Department's resident staff, most of who are not only dedicated and experienced teachers, but are also distinguished practitioners and researchers in their own right, working in national and international contexts. The Department also draws on a large pool of visiting practitioners and academics to provide a breadth of expertise and contact with current practice.
The broad range of interests combined in this programme will prepare you for a diverse range of employment and/or a portfolio of careers in theatre and performance as well as the arts industry as a whole in different socio-cultural environments:
- facilitation and animation in both mainstream, applied and community theatre contexts nationally and internationally
- administrative and support servicescultural leadershipgovernment organisations
- journalism and broadcasting (including radio, television and print journalism)
- teaching at all levels
- interpretation and translation in theatre and performance contexts
- acting, directing, design, dramaturgy
In addition, you can use this programme as a springboard for further study, either vocational or intellectual (including entry into MPhil/PhD programmes).
In short, the multiple skills – intellectual, critical and creative – developed by this programme will provide you with the flexibility of thought and approach necessary for creative insertion into the global job market.
Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.
Successful applicants will normally hold a first degree at 2:1 level or higher (or its equivalent in the case of applicants from abroad) in an arts or humanities subject.
For candidates with unrelated degrees/backgrounds, they must demonstrate a keen interest in the theatre evidenced by having previously taken part in productions as a performer, writer/critic, director or producer.
In all cases, candidates must demonstrate in their written application/personal statement and at interview that they have an interest in theoretical and analytical work and that they are also able to meet the intellectual demands of a programme designed to be theoretically challenging.
Students will be expected to engage with historical research, as well as have some awareness of how world contemporary performance and theatre involves a diversity of forms, practices and traditions.
Criteria for entry into the programme also includes independence, self‐motivation, intellectual and personal initiative, and commitment to scholarly investigation, especially investigation into performance practices.
Applicants whose first language is not English must have achieved a score of 6.5 or more in the IELTS (or equivalent) examination for written English.
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.
When to apply
We accept applications from October 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.
If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an earlier application deadline.
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.
Admission to many programmes is by interview, unless you live outside the UK. Occasionally, we'll make candidates an offer of a place on the basis of their application and qualifications alone.
Find out more about applying.