Jessica Bowles is course leader of MA/MFA Creative Producing at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
What makes this programme popular with students?
The combination of a dynamic postgraduate community and the opportunity to practically apply ideas is what attracts people most. MA/MFA Creative Producing could be described as an 'accelerator programme' - while you could learn to produce on your own, Central students can build brilliant networks and work with leading professionals. These contacts will forever stand you in good stead.
The course is designed to maximise the benefit of studying in London. The very intensive first term establishes your producing and introduces you to London's cultural landscape, so that you understand what really motivates you.
What does the programme involve?
Whether you're a one-year MA or a two-year MFA, you then put that learning into practice in a professional setting - either on a placement, or by developing your work in collaboration with one of the many production- or performance-based MA students.
Students build their momentum and confidence throughout, practically applying entrepreneurial and management theory. For one-year MA students, this builds towards a final independent project that best fits your ambitions as a producer. This can be a creating a show, compiling a portfolio or writing a dissertation.
MFA students have a second year in which to develop their professional profile through industry attachments. These can take place anywhere in the world. In the three years since the programme's development, MFA students have worked in Hong Kong, Athens, Prague and New Orleans.
What facilities are available to students?
Central has great theatre facilities and, perhaps more importantly, students who are specialists in design and production management. Opportunities to develop collaborations are therefore all around you.
What industry links does the programme have?
We have excellent industry links, and regularly visit theatres and meet key players in London's arts organisations. These include Sunita Pandya, deputy director of producing and presentation at the Southbank Centre, who leads a core component on producing. All of this allows you to build your knowledge of the capital's theatre scene.
All placements are negotiated by the student, as this ensures a better match. Examples from 2016 include the Donmar Warehouse, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, Cameron Mackintosh, Les Enfants Terribles, The Vaults and
the London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT).
How does the programme prepare students for employment?
We start the conversation about your career at the admissions interview, as the development of entrepreneurial skills is integral to the course. You'll apply these skills in a wide range of ways, including pitching new business ideas to expert industry panels and undertaking research interviews with key industry figures from your chosen field.
What do graduates do?
Graduates become independent producers for established theatre companies or develop their practice in arts management for a wide range of organisations, including Headlong, the Royal Opera House and Neil Eckersley Productions.
What qualities are you looking for in prospective students?
We want a really diverse and self-motivated group, people who are willing to share and learn from each other. While we'd expect that you've done some form of curation or production work, we've also had some very successful students from business and legal backgrounds.
Generally speaking, applicants will have completed a degree - but the only essential is that you're open-minded and passionate about producing.
Finally, why should students choose this programme?
Central stands at the forefront of training and research in the dramatic arts. Graduate employment statistics are among the highest in our sector, and our research has recently been assessed as world-leading.
What's more, the MA and MFA Creative Producing course sits in the heart of a postgraduate community which is robustly engaged with shaping the future of our disciplines.