School of Humanities and Performing Arts

MA Performance Training

Are you an emergent theatre and performance maker wishing to advance your career as a practitioner, instructor or critic? Hone your performance skills and enhance your knowledge of performance training processes. You’ll develop the confidence and ability to understand and analyse the nature of performance within a thriving artistic and research community. We’ll help you realise your potential through a deep level of practical investigation, experimentation and discovery.

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Join Plymouth Conservatoire

This programme is delivered through Plymouth Conservatoire - a unique partnership between the University and Theatre Royal Plymouth, providing training and professional experience that will set talented students apart in today’s arts and creative industries.

Plymouth Conservatoire

Key features

  • Take advantage of our stunning, new, multi-million pound, purpose-built performing arts facility, The House.
  • Choose to study full time over one year, or take the flexible two-year part-time pathway to fit in with your career plans or other commitments.
  • Work in a vibrant interdisciplinary arts and research community where you’ll mix with staff and students from across the arts faculty creating opportunities for collaborative performance and practice-based research. This includes colleagues from areas such as theatre and performance, dance, music and creative writing.
  • Benefit from mentorship and teaching by highly skilled practitioners and scholars.
  • Make use of the close links we have fostered with leading theatre companies and professional artists while you’re with us, and gain extra experience that will open up your career prospects. 
  • Engage with Plymouth’s vibrant theatre and performance scene with The Arts Institute, Theatre Royal Plymouth and Barbican Theatre Plymouth, alongside events and workshops arranged by the department itself. In the past visitors have included included Action HeroLow ProfileJohn NettlesWildworksLone TwinEarthfall and Robert Lyons.

Course details

  • Programme overview
  • You’ll take a series of modules taught through lectures, workshops and seminars. You’ll explore the larger implications of training in/for performance and specialise in a specific training of your choice (such as acting, live art or performance-making training). You’ll be offered support and mentorship from experienced staff and visiting practitioners. Staff expertise and research is in performance training, live art, improvisation, integrated performance practice, digital performance, contemporary cross-cultural performance, site-specific performance, somatic movement practice, and articulating practice as research. You’ll acquire a more sophisticated ability to reflect critically on performance practice, allowing you to realise your potential as a practical scholar. You’ll also work, with the guidance of your supervisor, to produce an artistic and/or academic thesis on a subject of your choice, underpinned by relevant research, analysis and critical reflection.
    Core modules
    • MAPR700 Researching Performance

      This module introduces the resources, practical skills and methodologies specific to research in performance (including theatre, live art, crossform performance, etc.). It will consider a range of concepts and theoretical frameworks that are relevant to Performance Studies including practice as research, critical writing, analytical approaches and documentation.

    • MAPR702 Final Major Project

      Within the framework of defined programme outcomes and with supervisory guidance, students will produce an independently managed artistic and/or academic project underpinned by relevant research, analysis and critical reflection.

    • MAPT704 Training Processes: Doing

      The module will introduce the students to a series of psychophysical/somatic techniques, methods and approaches used by actors, dancers and/or performers in contemporary performance practice. Emphasizing the corporeality of the performer, the module questions the uses and understanding of the body in performance thus encouraging the students to explore its larger ideological, social, economical and political connotations.

    • MAPT705 Training Processes:Making

      A praxis module, in which students interrogate the histories, cultural contexts, methodologies and strategies of visual, body-based performance practices. In addition to skills acquisition, the students' practical exploration and application of current crafting methodologies will encourage an engagement with the broader debates around the political/ideological exigencies of self-authored materials and their adoption as a part of a contemporary practitioners' training 'tool-kit'.

    Optional modules
    • MACH703 Choreography Lab 2: Choreographic Process and Development

      This module will focus on exploring choreographic strategies and devising processes, which serve to challenge and extend students¿ existing knowledge base and creative practice. Through choreographic workshops, studio base assignments and dance analysis, students will receive teaching and mentorship to enable them to develop their choreographic imagination and a distinctive choreographic voice.

    • MAPT703 Philosophies of Training

      A seminar based, research focused module in which students digest and analyse critical theory and philosophy in relation to varied training practice. In addition to skills acquisition, engagement with a form of training is also regarded as a means of self-development and improvement, and this is perhaps the emergent ideology of the contemporary. Students will learn about the historical and ideological components of training regimes and examine the politics, ideologies and concepts that define the notion and activity of training.

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

MFA MA Performance Training Programme Specification 2017 18 4944

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Entry requirements

You’ll need a good 2:1 or first class honours degree in an appropriate subject (e.g. theatre and performance, drama, dance, live or fine art, performance writing, etc.) or equivalent (for instance, you may have studied something else as an undergraduate but have established an artistic practice since then).

You will also need to provide evidence that you are ready to pursue the project you propose in your application. This will take the form of a sample of critical writing, and if relevant, documentation of relevant creative or professional practice.

If English is not your first language, you must have proficiency in written and spoken English (normally a minimum test score of 6.5 for IELTS, or equivalent). Given the nature of the programme, you’ll be expected to read and engage with complex theoretical texts and debates for which fluency in English is essential.

English language requirements

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2018 2019
Home/EU £8,000 To be confirmed
International £14,000 To be confirmed
Part time (Home/EU) £450 To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances.

Alumni loyalty reward for postgraduate study

From September 2018, the University applies a discretionary alumni reward where alumni meet certain criteria on particular postgraduate taught courses.

  • a 20 per cent discount on home/EU tuition fees
  • or a £2,000 discount on international tuition fees.

PGCE programmes, Master of Architecture, MEng, ResM and postgraduate research degrees are not included in this reward.

For further details, and contact information, please review our alumni discount policy.

For more information about our fees and funding please visit

How to apply

Applying for postgraduate taught study

The University aims to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. Our Postgraduate Admissions and Enquiries team are on hand to offer help and can put you in touch with the appropriate faculty if you wish to discuss any programme in detail. If you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by University of Plymouth, please visit our Disability Services website. Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email

If you would like any further information please contact the Postgraduate and Enquiries team:

Telephone: +44 (0)1752 585858


Submitting an application

Apply for postgraduate study using our online postgraduate application form.

Alternatively you can download a copy of the application form to be submitted by hand, by post or via email with accompanying attachments.

Additional guidance information can also be downloaded on how to fill in the postgraduate application form.

Applying for postgraduate research study

The University aims to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. The Doctoral College is available to answer any queries on our postgraduate research degrees.  If  you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by University of Plymouth, please visit our Disability Services website. Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via

If you would like any further information please contact the Doctoral College:

Telephone: +44 (0)1752 587640


Submitting an application

Apply for postgraduate study using our online postgraduate application form.

Alternatively you can download a copy of the application form to be submitted by hand, by post or via email with accompanying attachments.

Additional guidance information can also be downloaded on how to fill in the postgraduate application form.

Welcome to Plymouth Conservatoire

Experts from the University of Plymouth and Theatre Royal Plymouth work together to give you training and professional experience that will set you apart in today’s arts and creative industries. 

Get the very best, up-to-date industry expertise, research and teaching practice as well as unrivalled access to professional opportunities.

Postgraduate loans

You may now be eligible for a government loan of over £10,000 to help towards the cost of your masters degree.

The loans will be available for both taught and research masters programmes across all disciplines and subject areas.

Find out more about your eligibility for a postgraduate loan.

Hannah Hawkey - graduate profile

The course gave me the courage to be authentic. It focused me in on what I’m passionate about. Who I am and what I can offer to the world. The confidence and knowledge I gained during my MA gave me such a solid foundation to build on.

Find out more about Hannah's story

Jonny Rowden - graduate profile

The course at University of Plymouth taught me to be inquisitive and critical and to push myself, yet be patient and reflective.

Find out more about Jonny's story

The House

Experience our stunning resources for students and researchers in the performing arts building, The House.

Benefit from our £7 million dynamic four-storey production house and specialist learning and research environment.

Explore the House

Performance. Experience. Presence (P.E.P) research group

Sharing interests in embodiment, experience, training and cultural representation, our research manifests through creating and analysing performance. We encompass researchers of theatre, dance, live art and interdisciplinary performance practices.

Our PEP Talks series of research seminars is scheduled throughout the academic year and research students organise their own conferences and events.

Learn more about the work carried out by PEP, our theatre, dance and performing arts research group