Theatre and Performance MA

Discover creative and critical contexts of performance through the exploration of theoretical and practical performance skills. This course is ideal for developing independent artists or researchers, and for professionals who wish to reinvigorate their practices.

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This course has a particular emphasis on supporting original practice which is responsive to the interests of a contemporary audience and our lived reality. Concurrently, it draws on the rich historical contexts and practices of both popular and experimental theatre and performance, reflecting on the past to better understand the future of these dynamic fields.

Specialist areas within the team include devising; performer training; live art; popular theatre; immersive, interactive and participatory theatre; documentation; writing for performance; intermediality; adaptation, community theatre; and solo and collaborative performance making. Interdisciplinarity and collaboration are key to the ethos of the course, and you are encouraged to get involved in a wealth of extra-curricular and creative/research activities at DMU.

The course has also been developed to maximise on DMU’s long-standing relationships with local, national and international organisations, theatre/performance companies, practitioners, and scholars. 

Key features

  • You can exit the course with a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate award depending on the credits you have successfully achieved.
  • Study a range of theatre and performance practices and their related contexts, enabling you to develop your own skills, style and areas of interest.
  • Explore innovative creative, critical and conceptual models and ideas, taught by our internationally recognised staff who are practising artists and scholars.
  • DMU is recognised as a Centre for Excellence in Performance Arts with exceptional facilities providing specialist studios and rehearsal spaces designed specifically for learning activities in theatre and performance.
  • Gain opportunities to work with industry or artist/researchers through our local, national and international connections and opportunities.
  • Our programme is designed to develop you to achieve your personal goals; whether it is to become a teacher or performer, start your own company, or pursue doctoral study. 

Talk to our course team

If you would like to find out more about how this course can help you achieve your career ambitions, send a message to our course team [Dr Harriet Curtis] who would be happy to chat to you. Alternatively, you can register for our next postgraduate event or call our course enquirers team on +44 (0)116 2 50 60 70  / WhatsApp: 0797 0655 800.


B4 History We Danced draws upon rave culture, prehistoric cave paintings and asks what moves people to dance.


DMU offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships and bursaries to help you realise your academic ambitions.

International Scholarships

Find out about available scholarships and country specific fee discounts for international students. 


More courses like this:

Fine Art MA

Choreography MA


DMU has been shortlisted for the Postgraduate Award in the 2024 Whatuni Student Choice Awards (WUSCAs), as voted for by students.

  • UK
  • EU/International

Duration: One year full-time. Two years part-time.

Start date: September 2024

Fees and funding: 

2024/25 tuition fees for UK students: £9,435 per year.

Find out more about course fees and available funding.

Additional costs: Here at DMU we provide excellent learning resources, including the Kimberlin Library and specialist workshops and studios. However, you should be aware that sometimes you may incur additional costs for this programme.

Duration: One year full-time

Start date: September 2024

Fees and funding: 

2024/25 tuition fees for EU and international students: £15,800

Find out more about course fees and available funding.

Additional costs: Here at DMU we provide excellent learning resources, including the Kimberlin Library and specialist workshops and studios. However, you should be aware that sometimes you may incur additional costs for this programme.

Entry criteria

Typical entry requirements 

You should have the equivalent or above of a 2:2 UK bachelor’s honours degree in a related subject, such as Drama, Performing Arts, Theatre Arts or Visual Arts. 

If you have other professional qualifications and industry experience we will consider your application on an individual basis.


Non-standard applicants will be invited to attend an interview.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language an IELTS score of 6.0 overall with 5.5 in each band (or equivalent) when you start the course is essential.

English language tuition, delivered by our British Council-accredited Centre for English Language Learning, is available both before and throughout the course if you need it.

Structure and assessment


Course modules

Teaching and assessments


Core modules

Block 1: Methods and Innovations

This module is designed to expand your knowledge and application of practical and research methodologies in theatre and performance at an advanced level. Through research-engaged teaching, you will be introduced to current innovations in performance making/ training, scholarship and knowledge exchange. In the first part of the module, a series of workshops, lectures and seminars will offer a range of principles, practices and processes that you might usefully draw upon to model your own creative and critical investigations and activities. The specialist programme team will share their expertise in techniques emerging from both well-established and burgeoning areas of interest within theatre and performance. Practical methodologies may include but are not limited to improvisation, devising, systems for rehearsal, performer training, popular performance, adaptation, live art, writing for performance, stand-up comedy, and intermedial practice.

Assessment is through an individual or collaborative project, e.g., extensive studio practice; performance; workshop(s); presentation; critical reflection; case study analysis; developed critical analysis of theory and practices (70%) and an individual viva (30%).

Block 2: Perspectives and Provocations 

You will explore and analyse a range of twentieth and twenty-first century provocative practices and theoretical and philosophical perspectives. You will be introduced to and will hone your understanding of exciting theoretical perspectives, which might include germinal and recent debates and ideas concerning gender and sexuality, abjection, phenomenology, the grotesque body, critical race studies, and space and time. You will explore and critically consider a range of provocative, difficult or challenging cross-disciplinary performance practices, which may include sex positive and gender fluid practices, bloody and messy performance, anti-racist practice, and intermedial performance. The contexts and perceptions that have positioned these practices as difficult, challenging or provocative will be interrogated. You will develop your ability to examine and analyse these practices through the theoretical perspectives explored, supported by careful research and clear and original argumentation.

Assessment is through a lightning talk or provocation (20%) and a presentation (80%).

Block 3: Audiences and Documentation

You will investigate and analyse different models of engaging with audiences of theatre and performance, and documenting experiences, processes, and practices. You will be introduced to different approaches to and critical considerations of audience engagement, which might include participant-spectatorship and immersive theatre; technologically engaged performance and audience experience; community engagement and performance co-creation; theatre historiography and archives; and popular or contemporary performance and its audiences. You will also consider who the audiences for your own work might be and will participate in ‘artist survival’ activities around identifying and reaching your audience(s), documenting your practice, pitching for funding, and preparing grant applications.  

Assessment is through a presentation (20%) and either a practical project or a research project (80%).

Block 4: Creativity and Collaboration

You will be introduced to several different models of creative partnership and practices of collaboration/co-creation. A wide-ranging and interdisciplinary context for this work will be provided to enable you to contextualise your own work in a critically informed manner. At the core of the module is the placement or negotiated project. You will devise a creative portfolio plan in negotiation with the module leader, in which you will be required to choose a structure that allows you to demonstrate reflective engagement with the placement or project. There will be several different strands within the module and the creative portfolio plan will clarify the chosen path and format of the final submission:

  • Own negotiated placement
  • Placement at a partner organisation such as Curve or as part of DMU research projects
  • Collaborative performance – a written or practical project that explores collaboration/co-creation. This might be a group project or a written project that explores specific case studies/methodologies in collaborative performance.  

Assessment is through a creative portfolio (100%).

Blocks 5 and 6: Take one from the following:


The dissertation provides the opportunity for sustained, independent work in an area related to the course. The topic may be developed from one of the taught modules; or may be linked to issues touched upon only peripherally in class.  Your dissertation should contain an element of originality - some will yield new insights from primary research, in others originality will emerge from the nature of engagement with existing scholarly work and the attempt to offer new readings, analyses or challenges to established authorities. The methodology may also be original - for example, a multidisciplinary approach to the topic. 

Assessment is through a viva (20%) and written dissertation (80%).

Practice as Research

The Practice as Research module provides the opportunity for sustained research and the development of an independent project in an area related to the course. The topic may be developed from one of the taught modules; or may be linked to issues touched upon only peripherally in class. Your Practice as Research projects should contain an element of originality – some will yield new insights from primary/embodied research, in others originality will emerge from the nature of engagement with existing scholarly work and the attempt to offer new readings, analyses or challenges to established authorities. The methodology may also be original - for example, a multidisciplinary approach to the topic. 

Assessment is through a viva (20%) and a practical project (80%) (the style of presentation will depend on the form of practice).


Note: All modules are indicative and based on the current academic session. Course information is correct at the time of publication and is subject to review. Exact modules may, therefore, vary for your intake in order to keep content current. If there are changes to your course we will, where reasonable, take steps to inform you as appropriate.


Teaching strategies include staff-led workshops, lectures, seminar discussions, talks, theatre visits/field trips, and thought laboratories. The structure of the programme moves students from a more taught experience in Blocks 1, 2 and 3 to a greater blend of taught and independent study in Block 4; and finally, to a more fully independent study in Blocks 5 and 6 (full time students).

Assessment is through ongoing coursework and there are no timed exams. Types of assessment include performance, presentation, performative/practical demonstration/workshop, creative portfolio, and written commentary/essay.

Contact hours

In your first two terms you will normally attend around 12 hours of timetabled taught sessions including lectures, tutorials and workshop and studio sessions each week, and be expected to undertake at least 23 hours of independent study each week. Your third term will be pre-dominantly self-directed (including meetings with your supervisor), during which you can expect to undertake 35 hours of independent study each week.



Facilities and features

This is my moment.

Performance facilities

Recognised  nationally as a centre for  excellence in performance arts, DMU  has outstanding courses, teaching and  facilities. Our  Performing Arts Centre for Excellence  (PACE)  building provides  sector-leading spacious studios,  rehearsal rooms  and fully equipped  performance spaces.  There are further performance spaces  in  our  Campus  Centre and The Venue@DMU, a purpose-built space created to host events, performances and celebrations.

All of our spaces can be transformed to turn your ideas into a reality. Your creative work is supported by expert technicians and you can book rehearsal space and equipment such as digital video cameras, sound recording equipment and editing suites.

Take a look at our stunning showcase of the PACE building and facilities at

More flexible ways to learn

We offer an equitable and inclusive approach to learning and teaching for all our students. Known as the Universal Design for Learning (UDL), our teaching approach has been recognised as sector leading. UDL means we offer a wide variety of support, facilities and technology to all students, including those with disabilities and specific learning differences.

Just one of the ways we do this is by using ‘DMU Replay’ – a technology providing all students with anytime access to audio and/or visual material of lectures. This means students can revise taught material in a way that suits them best, whether it's replaying a recording of a class or adapting written material shared in class using specialist software.



The home of  De Montfort Students' Union, (DSU) our Campus Centre offers a welcoming and lively hub for student life. Conveniently located at the heart of campus, it includes a convenience store, a Subway and a Starbucks. Here you can find the DSU-owned charitable accommodation service Sulets and DSU’s shop, SUpplies, selling art supplies, stationery and clothing, and printing and binding services. The building is also home to the DSU officer team. 

Opportunities and careers

Find the people who will open doors for you

DMU's award-winning careers service provides guaranteed work experience opportunities DMU Careers Team

Careers and employability

We want to help you develop skills that are based on real-world experience. Our Careers Team, are on hand to support you with finding placements, volunteering opportunities, CV writing skills, research opportunities and much more.

DMU students are encouraged to pursue their entrepreneurial spirit and the Enterprise Team can help you explore your business idea, business growth, the option of freelancing or being self-employed. There are lots of events, workshops, one-to-one consultation opportunities and enterprise competitions that you can get involved in to progress in your chosen career path. 


DMU Global

This is our innovative international experience programme which aims to enrich your studies and expand your cultural horizons – helping you to become a global graduate, equipped to meet the needs of employers across the world.

Through DMU Global, we offer a wide range of opportunities including on-campus and UK activities, overseas study, internships, faculty-led field trips and volunteering, as well as Erasmus+ and international exchanges.


Previously, students have participated in an exchange with Sapienza University in Rome, Italy, sharing research and experiences with other postgraduate students in dance and drama. Students have also engaged with international artistic practices at the Utrecht Spring Dance and Theatre Festival where they worked collaboratively with students from the University of Utrecht and took workshops with professional international artists.



Graduate careers

Our graduates  are creative, entrepreneurial practitioners who are able to  respond to the  ever-changing  demands of performance practices and the creative industries. Many of our graduates build careers as independent artists and freelance choreographers, or land roles with creative companies and arts organisations, including:

  • Marketing and communications manager for UK Young Artists
  • Associate director at the Lichfield Garrick Theatre
  • Choreographer at MoveOn Dance Fusion Founder of performance dance company Near Miss
  • Curator of performance art festival Little Wolf Parade

The strong focus that we place on research means that this course also provides  an excellent stepping stone to  study at PhD level, which can lead to exciting opportunities. For instance,  PhD student Sophie Swoffer recently organised a conference ‘Cracking the Established Order: Practice-Based Research in Academia’, and was invited to guest edit a special edition of the practice-based journal, The International Journal of Creative Media Research.

Graduate, Aundre Goddard, praises DMU for providing him with the platform for his career as Creative Director at Berzerk Productions. He said: “the Drama community was amazing and the modules provided me with the building blocks for what I’m doing in my career now. The lecturers draw out the latent curiosity that you have to explore, experiment and try new things.”

Take your next steps