School of Humanities and Performing Arts

MFA 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. You’ll also undertake a major placement with a theatre/performance company or arts organisation to enhance your professional development.

Join Plymouth Conservatoire

This programme is delivered through Plymouth Conservatoire - a unique collaboration 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

Join us in September or January

This programme offers you the option to start your studies in either September 2020 or January 2021.

Careers with this subject

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 undertake a major placement with a theatre/performance company or arts organisation to enhance your professional development.

Graduate destinations include freelance opportunities as actors, performers, directors and workshop leaders; theatre and performance community practitioners or researchers; creative producers; entrepreneurial and business-related activites; and further postgraduate studies (such as PhDs). 

Key features

  • Take advantage of our stunning, new, multi-million pound, purpose-built performing arts facility, The House.
  • 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.
  • Undertake a major placement with a theatre/performance company or arts organisation that will enhance your professional development and inform your studies and creative practice.
  • 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. 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. This programme includes a major placement with a theatre/performance company or arts organisation where you’ll advance your professional development and gain valuable experience that will enrich your studies and creative practice.
    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.

    • 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.

  • Final year
  • Core modules
    • 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.

    Optional modules
    • MAPR701 Placement: Workplace Cultures and Environments

    • MAPR703 R&D: Engagement with the Cultural Industries

      This is an independently-led module in which students are asked to engage in the R&D (Research and Development) process of a cultural event in close relationship with one (or more) external organisation(s). This is an `outward-facing¿ module in which students continue to develop their own practice through the planning and organisation of a cultural and/or artistic project.

    • MAPR704 Documentation, Dissemination and Critical Reception

      In this module students will explore strategies of documentation, dissemination and critical reception. Students will use the material emerging of the process of production of a cultural event (originally designed by them) in order to explore its `afterlife.¿ Students will be required to engage with archival and documentation processes, as well as setting up the basis for the critical reception of the event they created for those audiences who did not witnessed it first hand

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 4945

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 

We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding

EU applicants should refer to our dedicated Brexit webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

Home/EU (full time 180 credits)​  International (full time 180 credits)
£7,725 £14,000
Home/EU (placement 60 credits) International (placement 60 credits)
£900 £900
For more information about our fees and funding please visit:

Postgraduate scholarships for international students

We offer several scholarships for international students who wish to study postgraduate taught (PGT) degree programmes.

Find out about the postgraduate scholarships available to you as an international student 

How to apply

When to apply

Most of our taught programmes begin in September. Applications can usually be made throughout the year, and are considered until programmes are full. 

Before you apply

Familiarise yourself with the information required to complete your application form. You will usually be required to supply:
  • evidence of qualifications (degree certificates or transcripts), with translations if not in English, to show that you meet, or expect to meet the entry requirements
  • evidence of English language proficiency, if English is not your first language
  • a personal statement of approximately 250-400 words about the reasons for your interest in the course and outlining the nature of previous and current related experience. You can write this into the online application form, or include it as a separate document
  • your curriculum vitae or résumé, including details of relevant professional/voluntary experience, professional registration/s and visa status for overseas workers
  • proof of sponsorship, if applicable.
If you require further information take a look at our application guidance.

Disability services

If you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by University of Plymouth, please visit our Disability Services website. 

International students

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email

Submitting an application

Once you are happy that you have all of the information required you can apply using our online postgraduate application form (the blue 'Apply now' icon on this page).

What happens after I apply?

You will normally receive a decision on your application within four weeks of us receiving your application. You may be asked to provide additional information; two academic/professional references, confirming your suitability for the course; or to take part in an interview (which in the case of overseas students may be by telephone or video conference) and you will be sent a decision by letter or email.

We aim to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. Our Admissions and Course Enquiries team is 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 would like any further information please contact the Admissions and Course Enquiries team:

Telephone: +44 (0)1752 585858

Admissions policy

More information and advice for applicants can be referenced by downloading our Student Admissions Policy Prospective students are advised to read the policy before making an application to the University.

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.

Scholarship opportunities for international students

Postgraduate Taught International Student Scholarship

This scholarship will be offered automatically providing you meet the eligibility criteria. A separate application will not be required.

Scholarship value: £2000 off your tuition fees in year one.

If you are studying a full-time two year postgraduate taught degree, to recognise continual academic achievement, you may also receive: 10% off the successive year's tuition fee, if an overall grade of 60% or above is maintained.

To be eligible you must achieve the equivalent of a good UK 2:1 degree classification and meet our standard English Language requirements.

International Academic Excellence Scholarship

An application must be submitted to be eligible for this scholarship.

Scholarship value: 50% off your tuition fees in year one.

If you are studying a full-time two year postgraduate taught degree, to recognise continual academic achievement, you may also receive: 50% off the successive year's tuition fee if an overall grade of 70% or above is maintained.

To be eligible you must: have an outstanding academic record, meet our standard English Language requirements, have an unconditional/conditional offer letter from the University of Plymouth and complete a scholarship application form.

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.

*A loan of up to £10,906 was available from August 2019, please be aware the loan amount may change annually depending on when you start your course.

Welcome to your own purpose built theatre:

The House

The University of Plymouth committed £7 million to building The House, a purpose built theatre on campus – and now the teaching home to Plymouth Conservatoire. 

A state-of-the art building, built to the very highest technical and sustainable specification, this award winning facility is a fully-accessible building with a 200-seater auditorium, a studio theatre and rehearsal spaces.

Come in to The House

<p>The House stage</p>
The House stage
<p>The House stage viewed from above</p>
The House stage from above
<p>The House studio</p>
The House studio
<p>Roland Levinsky Building room 307</p>
Roland Levinsky Building room 307
<p>Roland Levinsky Building room 306</p>
Roland Levinsky Building room 306
<p>Roland Levinsky Building room 308</p>
Roland Levinsky Building room 308

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

Follow P.E.P on social media