Taught course

Shakespeare and Creativity

University of Birmingham · The Shakespeare Institute

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Entry requirements

Preferably a 2:1 (Hons) in a relevant subject.

Months of entry


Course content

The Shakespeare Institute's newest MA has a unique focus on Shakespeare and creativity, allowing you to combine theatrical and academic study of Shakespeare’s life and work.

Relevant to actors, directors and arts administrators, as well as anyone with an interest in Shakespeare, the flexible structure of the programme allows you to tailor the course to your specific interests.

This programme combines academic, theatrical and civic interests in Shakespeare, generating a new, creative and forward-looking conversation about what Shakespeare is and can be. You will produce traditional academic written work as well as creative work, all of which will explore Shakespeare’s potential in the modern world.

You will study four core modules:


This module considers the ways in which Shakespearean language and drama bears on experience, with a view to making the experience of Shakespeare more available to contemporary Shakespeare scholarship and creative practice. It is, above all, a shared experiment in experientially alert and susceptible close reading. In a series of intensively collaborative workshops, on the special course blog and in seminars, it will dwell and linger in Shakespeare’s language and stagecraft in order to explore how its complexity produces experiential meanings, in readers, audience members and in characters. “Shakespearience” will be about reading as process rather than product, and as such, at least potentially, experientially exciting and adventurous.

Shakespeare and Creative Practice

This module will provide you with experiential knowledge that will inform the way that you interrogate and interpret performance evidence in a variety of media. Through a series of workshops and performance assignments, you will explore three different systematic approaches to performing the language of Shakespeare: the first approach is rooted in the verse and text work of John Barton, Peter Hall, Cicely Berry and Patsy Rodenberg; the second approach explores the legacy of Stanislavski in the Shakespearean work of 20th/21st century practitioners including Katie Mitchell and Mike Alfreds; the third approach brings the devising techniques of prominent physical theatre practitioners to a creative examination of Shakespeare’s text.

The Shakespeare Ensemble

In this module you will work as part of an ensemble of creative artists – actors, directors, writers, designers – exploring and testing the theory and practice of performing Shakespeare today, culminating in an assessed performance of a re-imagined Shakespearean text. The module seeks to equip students with a range of skills pertaining to creating a new piece of work - creative dramatic writing, devising as an ensemble and music in the ensemble as well as including sessions with the RSC on new writing, the ensemble, design and lighting.

Shakespeare and Society

Featuring tuition from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the new Birmingham Library (which has an important civic Shakespeare collection and premises), this module explores and tests the scope for bringing Shakespeare into the world beyond the academy and the theatre. You will undertake focused study of Shakespearean civic creativity from Garrick's 1769 Jubilee onwards before producing your own piece of civic creativity inspired by Shakespeare.

You will also choose two optional modules from a range of Shakespeare Institute modules, and complete the MA with a 15,000-word dissertation.

Shakespearience and optional modules are each assessed by one 4,000-word essay; Creative Practice, the Shakespeare Ensemble and Shakespeare and Society all combine shorter written assignments with creative work.

Explore postgraduate study at Birmingham at one of our on-campus open days.

If you can’t make it to one of our on-campus open days, our virtual open days run regularly throughout the year.

Fees and funding

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Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Postgraduate enquiry service
0121 414 5005