School of Humanities and Performing Arts

ResM Theatre and Performance

This research masters programme will enable you to become an innovative, confident and well-prepared researcher in an area of 20th century or contemporary theatre, live art, popular or interdisciplinary performance. You’ll benefit from close guidance while studying the topic of your choice through creative practice, textual or archival research.

We will help you to ground your work in current debates, approaches and theories, equipping you with the advanced skills, knowledge and methodologies to excel in performance research.

Thumb student loan white

Postgraduate loans

You may now be eligible for a government loan of up to £10,280 towards the cost of your masters degree.

Find out more about your eligibility for a postgraduate loan

Key features

  • Become an independent, forward-looking, creative theatre and performance researcher, able to engage in, and respond to, the challenges of the contemporary world.
  • Advance on a well-supported route that enables you to progress from undergraduate studies to doctoral level research in an environment that tests the boundaries, definitions and potential of performance and theatre.
  • Acquire a sophisticated range of subject specific and transferable research skills through seminars and workshops.
  • Focus on a specific research project in theatre and performance under the guidance of a supervisory team.
  • Work in our dynamic, state-of-the-art performance centre, The House.
  • Work in a department that places equal value on practice-led and traditional methods of research and their expression.
  • Pursue a masters degree while in employment. The contact hours for the part-time ResM programme make it possible for you to work part time while you study - you don’t even need to live locally.
  • Engage with Plymouth’s vibrant theatre and performance scene which includes Theatre Royal Plymouth, Plymouth Arts Centre, Plymouth Fringe and the Barbican Theatre, alongside performances and events hosted by the department itself.

Course details

  • Taught modules
  • The ResM can be studied either full or part time. You will study the modules 'Researching Performance' and 'Research in the Arts and Humanities' and attend individual tutorials with your supervisor and regular research seminars, leading to either a written thesis or one combining critical writing with creative/professional practice. We may also agree together that you should take other or additional modules or engage in specific training opportunities.

    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.

    • MARE700 Research in the Arts and Humanities

      This module provides students with research skills training and a critical awareness of different methodological approaches in the arts, humanities, cultural industries and associated fields, to enable them to make appropriate choices in their own research. It is designed to complement and support individual research projects carried out by students.

  • Independent research
  • After completing your taught modules, you will continue with independent research, guided by your thesis supervisor. Throughout this time spent working towards your thesis, you will be considered a full member of our research community and completely supported until you successfully complete your degree.

    Dependent upon your performance in the first year, you may apply to transfer directly into our PhD programme after 12 months (full time) or 24 months (part time), instead of submitting a ResM thesis.

  • Thesis and assessment
  • Your thesis will be 25000 words in length (or the equivalent if it includes practice). It may be assessed entirely through written work, or through a substantial practical project that addresses particular research questions and is accompanied by an extended contextual essay. We’re pleased to support research that is embedded in and conducted through a professional performance practice. 

    You will also participate in a viva voce, or oral examination. This will form part of your examination process and normally takes place between one and three months following submission of your thesis or its written elements.

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 area of study appropriate to your project proposal (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

Please visit tuition fees for postgraduate research for information about fees. The ResM Theatre and Performance is in Band 2 for fees purposes.

If you are a full time student, you will pay full time fees for one year. If you have not submitted your thesis by the end of this period, then you may pay for an optional six month 'writing up' period (that is, half of the 'writing up' fee indicated on this page).

If you are a part time student, you will pay part time fees for two years. If you have not submitted your thesis by the end of this period, then you may pay for an optional one year 'writing up' period.

You are responsible for meeting all of the costs related to your own research project, beyond the resources available in the department.

This programme is eligible for a postgraduate loan.

How to apply

Proposal and application process

Application is by project proposal and evidence that you are prepared to successfully complete this project.

Your proposal must provide a suitable basis either for a written submission of 25000 words, or creative and/or professional practice plus a contextual essay of at least 12500 words.  Your proposal should be 500 words maximum and accompanied by a recent sample of critical writing (maximum 3000 words), which may be from a previous course.

Proposals for research that is practice-led must be accompanied by a DVD, portfolio of work or links to online documentation that indicate your readiness to pursue the project. It should take the admissions team no longer than 30 minutes to view all the visual material that you provide.

These will be used to determine both your aptitude for the programme and the suitability of your proposed project, as well as available supervisors. We will also consider the ability of the department to support your research project with resources appropriate to your needs. 

Please attach your project proposal and sample of critical writing to your application form as separate documents. In the 'personal statement' section of the application form, please include a brief statement explaining why you have chosen this course and what you feel you can offer our postgraduate community.

All applicants will be interviewed, either in person or by Skype/telephone, prior to being accepted onto the ResM Theatre and Performance programme.

The Doctoral College is available to answer any queries about our ResM programmes and any other postgraduate research degrees (such as MPhil/PhD).

Make sure that you clearly indicate at the top of your application form you are applying for the ResM.

If you would like to discuss your application please contact the programme leader, Professor Roberta Mock.

ResM features

  • ? World-leading expertise in practice-led performance as research methodologies as well as co-authored and collaborative performance research.
  • ? You can focus almost entirely on an individual research project of your own choice.
  • ? Largely self-directed with tutorial guidance and clear milestones and expectations.
  • ? Includes taught modules (60 credits), that must be passed to develop and evidence your research skills.
  • ? Prepares you specifically to be a researcher in performance studies or the performing arts, to do an extended research project within a professional context, or to do a PhD.
  • ? If you are making exceptional progress, you can progress directly into our PhD programme without having to complete the masters.
  • ? Flexible submission date - between 12-18 months full time or 24-36 months part time - meaning you can be examined when you feel ready.

Programme focus

With an emphasis on cross-disciplinary, innovative practice and an array of specialisms on offer, our ResM Theatre and Performance provides a nurturing environment in which to progress your career and pursue specific research interests. We particularly welcome proposals for postgraduate research projects in the following areas of our expertise: 

  • performance and the body
  • performer training
  • walking practices and site-specific theatre and performance
  • directing, collaborating and devising processes
  • intercultural performance
  • popular theatre practices (including comedy, circus, neo-burlesque)
  • physical theatres
  • live art, avant-garde, radical theatre and performance
  • women’s theatre and performance practice
  • queer theatre and performance
  • critical theory and performance
  • theatre and religion 
  • cultural identities in performance.

 

The difference between undergraduate and postgraduate study

The main difference I’ve noticed since making the step to postgraduate is the independent study I have. The great part about this is it means that you get to research and study what interests you and the modules just facilitate your interests.

Nathaniel Turner, ResM Theatre and Performance

Read more at Nathaniel's blog

People

The House

Experience our stunning resources for students and researchers in the new 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

Visit the PEP Facebook group

Careers

Since we began our Research Masters programme in Theatre and Performance in 2007 (first as a MRes and now as a ResM), our graduates have gone on to an array of careers including professional performance makers and interdisciplinary artists, funded doctoral study, and teaching in further and higher education.

Many choose to combine these areas as a portfolio career of teaching, performance-making and further research.