Taught course

Theatre Criticism and Dramaturgy

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 at least two years' relevant professional experience. An offer will normally only be made after interview/audition. Applicants for whom English is not their first language are required to gain an overall score of 7.0 in an IELTS test. We do accept equivalent English language qualifications.

Months of entry


Course content

This unique theatre and performance studies Masters course offers routes to careers in theatre dramaturgy and criticism. Students will study theatre in London and experience the diverse theatre offerings of the city whilst developing their critical practice and scholarship.

The cultural hub of London is the venue for MA Theatre Criticism and Dramaturgy. The programme balances theoretical study of theatre and performance with the development of diverse skills in dramaturgy and criticism. Graduates can apply this in academia and throughout the creative industries.

Engaging with theatre and performance practice of the past and the present, and attuned to the economy and ecology of the landscapes in which it takes place, students on this course embrace Central’s unique status as a conservatoire and a University of London college, a vibrant setting fostering the international theatre practice and scholarship of the future.

Students on this programme take six units followed by a final independent unit. Each unit is self-contained, focusing on a specific aspect of theatre and performance.

Units may include:

  • Reviewing Performance
  • Shakespeare in London
  • Archiving Practices, Practising Archives
  • Critical Contexts
  • Performing Research
  • Cultural Landscapes.

Each unit is intensive and, where appropriate, is delivered with the participation of relevant experts (e.g. theatre journalists, arts managers, academic specialists) or in partnership with cultural organisations. Students have the opportunity in the third term to take a unit hosted by another MA programme.

Learning opportunities include seminars and lectures, classwork, independent research, group work, and field study in and around London or other cities.

At various points, students on this course will work collectively with students from across Central’s Masters portfolio, emerging theatre practitioners and scholars with a range of specialisms.

Students can develop their particular research interests and professional profile in the final unit, the Sustained Independent Project (SIP). This unit, taking place following the summer term, gives students a chance to work intensively in a specific area, with tutoring and support from the programme leader and tutors. Students determine their own focus in conjunction with programme tutors, and projects may be scholarly interventions or critical reports relevant to theatre-sector issues and concerns.

At all points, learning combines critical reflection and the development of specific skills relevant to theatre criticism and dramaturgy, with a focus on appropriate outputs and practices.


This MA is assessed in a range of formats and the School is keen to foster a wide range of assessment strategies.

Students produce critical work and outputs relevant to theatre sector contexts, including visual presentations, conference papers, essays, reports and reviews. In some cases students are assessed on small-group projects.

The SIP may take the form of a dissertation or a portfolio, depending on the subject matter and the student’s focus.

Information for international students

Central holds international auditions/interviews in New York, San Francisco, Sydney, Santiago, Sao Paulo, Singapore and Bogota. Please see Central’s website for details. To book an place please email admissions@cssd.ac.uk. If you are unable to attend in person, you may be offered the opportunity of a distance audition/interview.

Fees and funding

AHRC, Career Development Loans, Graduate Loans, or Professional Studies Loans.

Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months
part time
24 months


AssessmentWhat kind of work will I be doing? (proportionally)
Written coursework / continuous assessment70

Course contact details

Admissions and Student Recruitment Office