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MA Theatre Directing is a unique collaboration with the award-winning Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond.

Please note: we are not currently accepting applications for Theatre Directing.

Why study Theatre Directing?

Our Master's degree in Theatre Directing - run in collaboration with the multi-award winning Orange Tree Theatre - is designed to explore the art and techniques of theatre directing within the context of contemporary theatre making.

The programme is predominantly housed at The Orange Tree in Richmond, enabling students to embed their practice in the working life of this award-winning theatre. Modules are taught by both academics and theatre directors with the assistance of professional actors in the practical classes.

The programme is both academic and vocational. It aims to provide an advanced understanding of theatre production processes within a context of both contemporary theatre making and the dramatic tradition. It further aims to develop students’ craft skills and technical abilities in order to prepare them for a career in theatre directing.

The programme is aimed both at graduates who wish to advance their understanding of theatre practice in order to develop their work to a professional standard and at theatre professionals who wish to formalise their experience with a course of study and a qualification.

Why St Mary's?

Directing workshops explore rehearsal techniques, script analysis, performance, design and technical aspects of production. A key module focuses on directing as a career. There is a particular emphasis on the study of the working relationship between the director and the performer.

At the end of the programme students will direct a professional production, directing a professional cast and technical crew as part of the Orange Tree Directors Festival. This year the Festival attracted much industry interest – London’s top pick in industry newspaper, The Stage. The End of Hope, written by David Ireland and directed by Max Elton is currently enjoying a 5 week transfer at Soho Theatre in London.

Previous graduates have found assistant and associate directing work with all of the major companies, including the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, Out of Joint and the Royal Court.

The Drama department has three fully equipped studios and a large theatre for rehearsal purposes. Technical and administrative staff support the programme throughout the year and students are provided with a production budget for their end-of-year production.

Key facts

  • Unique collaboration with Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond
  • Course culminates in a Directors Showcase at the Orange Tree Theatre
  • The 2017 Directors Showcase was selected as 'Festival of the Week' by The Stage
  • Modules in Directing for the Community as part of the Orange Tree Theatre's extensive learning and participation programme
  • University setting gives tailored personal support to our students

Course content


  • Artistic Collaboration (placement of no less than 100 hours) 
  • Business of Directing (lecture/seminar 3 hours per week) 
  • Contemporary Theatre (lecture/seminar 3 hours per week) 15 credit 
  • Directing Actors (workshop 3 hours per week) 
  • Directing in the Community (placement of no less than 100 hours) 
  • Final Production (tutorials and rehearsal feedback) 
Please refer to the programme specification document for a summary of the programme.

Career opportunities

Previous graduates have found assistant and associate directing work with all of the major companies, including the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, Out of Joint and the Royal Court. The module 'The Business of Directing' deals directly with how a young emerging Director would mount their own production or find opportunities beyond the course.

The Careers Service has more information on graduate careers and part-time work available during your course.

How the degree is taught

Teaching methods

Teaching on the programme is split between the Orange Tree Theatre and St Mary's campus. This can be practical workshop sessions in directing actors, or seminar sessions looking at the business of directing and the context within which new and exciting theatre can be produced.

All sessions are delivered by industry professionals connected to the field ensuring relevance of the course content and developing future graduate networks.

Assessment methods

Assessment takes various forms. The two lecture seminar courses are assessed by 4,000 word essay, two of the modules have practical exercises and Directing Actors is assessed by a rehearsal exercise using professional actors in a scene of your choice.

Most of the assessment, however, is focused on the final production. Students are required to produce and direct a full-scale production with professional actors at a London fringe venue.

In order to qualify for the degree of Master of Arts, students will be required to accumulate all 180 credits. 60 credits will qualify students for a postgraduate certificate and 120 credits for a postgraduate diploma.


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Fees and funding

2018/19 fees

  • Home/EU: £15,000
  • International: £15,000

2019/20 fees

  • Home/EU: £15,000
  • International: £15,000

The UK Government has confirmed that EU applicants starting in 2019 or 2020 remain eligible for 'home fee status' and can access financial support.

Part-time fees

Part-time students will be charged for the modules undertaken per academic year. Module prices are calculated as a percentage of credits against the total credits and cost of the degree.

Tuition fees are subject to an inflationary increase each year, meaning if your course runs over more than one academic year you may pay an increased fee per module for each subsequent year of study. Tuition fee increases for returning students will be capped at the higher of 5% per annum or the rate of Consumer Price Index inflation in the United Kingdom.


A non-refundable deposit of £500 is required for Home/EU students to confirm their place.

A non-refundable deposit of £500 is required for Home/EU students to confirm their place.

For guidance about financing your studies, including information about government-funded loans, please check out Fees & Funding section.

International Students should check their eligibility for our International Scholarship.

Alumni discount

A 10% tuition fee discount is available for our alumni (undergraduate and PGCE) planning to study this Master's degree. Those studying for a PGDip of PGCert are not eligible for the discount.

Additional costs

Further information