Taught course

Performance Practice as Research

Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London · Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London

Entry requirements

You will normally have a degree or equivalent qualification in an arts-related subject and/or two years' relevant professional experience. A portfolio may be required in support of your interview. An offer will normally only be made after audition and interview. Applicants for whom English is not their first language are required gain an overall score of 7.0 in an IELTS test. We do accept equivalent English language qualifications.

Months of entry


Course content

A course designed for innovators who wish to investigate and interrogate the concepts and practices within contemporary performance. We welcome auteurs, interdisciplinary performers and makers, practitioner/researchers and those with an established practice and/or background in performance theory, who wish to take their work to the edges of their specialism(s).

Students on this course become a part of a thriving community of interdisciplinary postgraduate scholars and practitioners, working within a School-wide framework for performance practice and practice as research experimentation.

Throughout, emphasis will be placed on a reciprocal relationship between theory and practice, where one always feeds into and enlivens the other. Students interrogate, test and apply the most recent thinking and practices within their particular fields, and are encouraged to experiment and innovate by developing their own work, which is presented as part of the Brink Festival.

These courses value the particular skills and personal proposals that individual students bring to them, and the interests that they express shape the timetable and content of course units.

Both MA and MFA students start by learning key vocabularies and skill sets within theCritical Contexts and Performing Practices units before moving into the individual laboratory work in the Developing Your Disciplines unit, while concurrently joining others in the MA community in the Performing Research unit. They then go on to produce the Brink Festival as part of the Laboratory of Performance Practices unit, whilst taking advantage of a further unit on Archiving Practices offered within Central’s MA Framework.

For MA students, the last term (July to September) is undertaken as a Sustained Independent Project (SIP), where students synthesise all the learning and development through a multi-modal output within a dissertation.

MFA students return in October for their second year, provoked by their own work in the Brink Festival and with new work presented to them, they engage in an extendedMFA Sustained Independent Project (SIP). This is a supervised multi-modal thesis, gaining expertise in the various dramaturgies, modes and models of Performance as Research through the lens of the methodologies developed in their first year and others examined as part of their MFA research second year.

During the course students on the MA and MFA course might expect to:

  • Participate in workshops and seminars to investigate the relationship between the concepts and materials of performance
  • Analyse making, performing and spectatorship as interrelated activities
  • Engage and apply critical contexts and concepts
  • Explore different strategies and methods for doing research and disseminating the findings, leading towards a conference presentation
  • Undertake laboratory exploration of performance practice as a way of testing out ideas
  • Develop work towards a public presentation at Central’s Brink Festival
  • Undertake a Sustained Independent Project (SIP) culminating in a dissertation or a portfolio documenting practice-based research of equivalent weight.

Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months


full time
24 months


AssessmentWhat kind of work will I be doing? (proportionally)
Written coursework / continuous assessment30
Professional practice40

Course contact details

Admissions and Student Recruitment Office