Birkbeck, University of London

Birkbeck, University of London

Theatre Directing

This Master's degree offers a professionally recognised training for theatre directors. It is the result of a unique collaboration between Birkbeck and the National Council for Drama Training, Arts Council England, Equity and the Theatrical Management Association. The programme has been planned in close co-operation with a wide range of distinguished theatre practitioners.

Course modules

Year 1 enables you to acquire an informed experience, knowledge and understanding of the work of the professional director with key collaborators such as actors, writers and designers. You will also be introduced to the current structural and financial realities of working as directors in the industry. One term is spent at a leading drama school, learning how actors are trained for today's theatre. Intensive units with leading professionals, including members of the RSC's voice and movement departments, and leading practitioners such as Mike Leigh, Mike Alfreds, Vicki Mortimer and Simon Stephens, will concentrate on the director's relationship with the designer and the writer, and offer a practical understanding of how theatre companies and pieces of work are funded and managed. Year 2 enables you to develop your skills as a director through secondment to a theatre company (or companies). During the secondment you are given a number of opportunities to work as a director with actors and other appropriate collaborators in the creation of theatre pieces. In the final term of the degree, students reassemble as a group to acquire practical knowledge and skills that will enable them to begin their careers as independent artists. Collaborating theatre companies will be drawn from a group of committed organisations. This group currently includes: the Royal Exchange Manchester, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Sheffield Theatres, the Citizens Theatre Glasgow, Home Manchester, Birmingham Rep, the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith and Paines Plough. Modules: Course Induction (MFA Theatre Directing): Unit A; The Director and Directing: Dissertation; The Director and Production: Dissertation; The Director and the Actor: Unit B; The Director and the Author: Unit D; The Director and the Designer: Unit E; The Director and the Industry: Unit F.

Assessment methods

A combination of oral presentations with supporting material; practical exercises; the assessment of your practice as a director by peer and leading practitioners; and a final dissertation.

Sponsorship information

The government's new postgraduate loan scheme allows you to borrow up to £10,000 to cover the cost of your tuition fees, living costs or other study expenses - and you don't have to start repaying until 2019. Students on the MFA Theatre Directing can apply for a number of bursaries towards fees awarded on the basis of financial need. It is not possible to apply for these bursaries in advance of being offered a place on the MFA Theatre Directing; successful applicants will be given further details once admitted to the programme. The School of Arts also offers a number of bursaries for postgraduate students. Part-time students who are experiencing financial need may apply for assistance from the Birkbeck Alumni Fund Postgraduate Opportunity Bursary.


Qualification Study mode Start month Fee Course duration
Master of Fine Arts - MFA (PG) Full-time September 2018 GBP 14,450 per Year 1 (International) 2 Years
Master of Fine Arts - MFA (PG) Full-time September 2018 GBP 7,950 per Year 1 (Home/EU) 2 Years

Campus details

Campus name Town Postcode Region Main campus Campus Partner
Bloomsbury Campus WC1E 7HX London

Get in touch

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Key information

Department of English and Humanities
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