COVID-19 update: This course will start online and continue on campus later. Read more

What will I learn?

This MFA Theatre Directing offers professionally recognised training for theatre directors. The result of a collaboration between Birkbeck and the Arts Council England, Equity and UK Theatre, the programme provides a unique opportunity to work with theatre actors, writers and designers, while being introduced to the structural and financial realities of working as a director in the industry.

You will spend time at a leading drama school, learning how actors are trained for today’s theatre. Intensive units with expert professionals, including noted practitioners such as Mike Leigh, Mike Alfreds, Vicki Mortimer, Natalie Abrahami and Lyndsey Turner, 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.

You will then further develop your skills as a director through secondment to a theatre company where you will have the opportunity to assist on at least three productions; collaborators include the Royal Exchange Manchester, Birmingham Rep, Leicester Curve, HOME Manchester, Octagon Theatre Bolton, the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith, HighTide and the Unicorn.

CAREERS AND EMPLOYABILITY

Recent graduates have directed productions at prestigious theatres including: the National Theatre, the RSC, the Royal Court, English National Opera, the Almeida, the Young Vic, the Lyric Hammersmith, the Gate and in the West End. Others have established their own companies, such as Coney, Curious Directive, Upstart and Yes, Yes, No, No.

Many graduates have directed at regional theatres, including Sheffield Theatres, the Royal Exchange Manchester, Leeds Playhouse and Nottingham Playhouse, and many have assisted on productions at the RSC, the National Theatre, the Globe, the Old Vic, the Young Vic and in the West End.

Others have won awards, such as the 2014 Olivier Award for Best Director, the James Menzies-Kitchin Award (the JMK) in 2012 and 2015, the Regional Theatre Young Directors Scheme (RTYDS) Award, The Stage Debut Award in 2019 and The Stage Award for Best Fringe Theatre.

Which department am I in?

Birkbeck, University of London

Study options

Full Time (2 years)

Tuition fees
£16,020.00 (US$ 22,042) per year
Students are charged a tuition fee in each year of their programme. Tuition fees for students continuing on their programme in following years may be subject to annual inflationary increases.

This is a fixed fee
Start date

Expected September 2022

Venue

Birkbeck, University of London

Malet Street,

Bloomsbury,

United Kingdom,

WC1E 7HX, England

Entry requirements

For students from United States

For entry onto a Master’s Degree, most US students would need to have completed a Bachelor’s degree with at least a 3.2 GPA (for courses requiring a 2:1); students from highly ranked institutions may also be considered with a GPA of 3.0/4.0. For courses requiring a 2:2, a GPA of 2.8 is required; The terms below are used to recognise students with particularly high GPAs: Cumulative GPA 3.9 (alternative name: Summa cum laude); Cumulative GPA 3.7 (alternative name: Magna cum laude); Cumulative GPA: 3.5 (alternative name: Cum laude). Applications are considered on an individual basis and students may be admitted to Master's programmes with a lower level degree if they have work experience relevant to the degree applied for.

For international students

Either a second-class honours degree (2:2) or above from a UK university (or a directly comparable qualification from a non-UK university), together with some significant experience of professional or professional-level theatre; or an undergraduate- or postgraduate-level diploma from a recognised UK drama school (or a directly comparable qualification from a non-UK drama school), together with some significant experience of professional or professional-level theatre (normally three years); or extensive professional experience. If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.

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