Theatre & Performance Studies




Part Time, Full Time

| Admissions status: Open
Unique opportunity to pursue interests in Theatre and Performance Studies in the heart of London. Rigorous theoretical inquiry complemented by the opportunity to engage hands-on in performance. Ideal basis for a PhD in the field or further work in the arts.

  • Unrivalled location at the heart of London allows students regular access to a wide range of theatre and performance events, including performances, seminars, and research centres.
  • Dynamic intellectual community offered by King’s College London and surrounding institutions, supplemented by regular invited artist and academic speakers or artist residents.
  • Core modules providing a strong foundation in theatre and performance studies, plus the opportunity to create an individualised course of study through selected options.
Student destinations
Graduates may go on to work in arts practice and related industries, including museum, curatorial, and archival work; production; dramaturgy; journalism; performance; and theatre and performance-related arts management and administration. Graduates may also pursue further research in the field at doctoral level.
Programme leader/s
Dr Lara Shalson, Programme Convenor,
Awarding Institution
King's College London
Credit value (UK/ECTS equivalent)
UK 180/ECTS 90
One year FT, two years PT, September to September
Strand Campus. Some projects may take place on non-campus locations.
Year of entry 2015
Offered by
Faculty of Arts & Humanities
Department of English
Closing date
The deadline for applications is 11 September 2015 for 2015 entry. Note that funding deadlines may be earlier. Applications will be considered subject to availability of places, so we encourage you to submit your application as soon as possible. International applications are now closed to allow sufficient time for visa processing.
Approximately 8 FT, 4 PT
PT Home: £4,260 (2015)
PT Overseas: £8,520 (2015)
FT Home: £8,520 (2015)
FT Overseas: £17,040 (2015)
Contact information
Postgraduate Admissions Team, Admissions Office
tel: +44 (0) 20 7848 2569
fax: +44 (0) 20 7848 7200
Email Website

Ideal for prospective students who have recently completed an undergraduate degree in Theatre, English or related fields, or spent time engaging in performance practice or work in related industries. The programme invites considered reflection on performance and performativity, emphasising close reading, research, and interdisciplinary approaches to theatre and the arts.


The programme offers students the opportunity to study theatre and performance studies in a dynamic research environment in the heart of London. From avant-garde drama to political action, queer performance, live art, dance, cultural tourism, and the spectacles of the West End, students will be introduced to a range of theatre and performance theories and practices in an expanded field.

Students will take a core module in Theatre and Performance Theory, which will provide them with systematic understanding and critical awareness of current problems and new insights in the field, and the ability to critically evaluate current research and advanced scholarship in the discipline. Students will also take a core module in Theatre and Performance Research Methods in the second semester, which will provide them with the research skills and techniques needed to undertake advanced research and scholarship in the field, and enable them to evaluate and critique various methodological approaches to practice-based and scholarly research.

In addition, students take two option modules. Offerings in Theatre and Performance Studies include modules focused on current productions in London, practice-based research, histories of Live Art, and dramaturgy. Students may also choose optional modules from across the Department and Faculty in areas that intersect with theatre and performance studies.

Finally, a 15,000 word dissertation supervised by an academic member of staff will provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to undertake advanced research in the field in an area of their choice. While acting as a “terminal” MA, providing excellent preparation for a range of careers in the arts and education sectors, this programme will also provide students with a robust preparation for doctoral research in theatre and performance studies.

More information can be found on the MA Theatre and Performance webpage.

Core programme content
Semester 1
  • Theatre and Performance Theory (required)
  • One optional module

Semester 2
  • Theatre and Performance Research Methods (required)
  • One optional module

  • Dissertation (required)


Indicative non-core content
  • Performance Lab
  • Performance and Live Art
  • Guided Study: Performance in London/London in Performance
  • Special Topics in Theatre and Performance Studies: Dramaturgy
  • Optional module in the Department of English and Faculty of Arts and Humanities.

Lectures, seminars, and optional workshops; essays; dissertation; lab-based research projects (as relevant); independent study; tutorials.

More information on typical programme modules.
NB it cannot be guaranteed that all modules are offered in any particular academic year.

Teaching staff: TBC
Module code: 7AAEM668
Credit level: 7
Credit value: 20
Semester:  Semester 2 (spring) 

This module introduces you to advanced scholarly research and writing practices in the fields of Theatre and Performance Studies, with an emphasis on language, historiography, ethnography, and performance-as-research, as well as performative writing. Questions that shape this module include: how and what do we see when we consider performance events in theatres or city spaces? How do we record, analyse, and disseminate these events? What frames (institutional or discursive) shape our objects of our analysis? What ethics, aesthetics, and politics of space, archives and print cultures determine our access to and understanding of the contours of theatre and performance?

Module code: 7AAEM667
Credit level: 7

The dissertation is compulsory for all students on the MA in Theatre and Performance Studies. The main component of this module is the completion of a 15,000 word dissertation (worth 75%) and a 4,000 word Critical Survey (worth 25%). Additional compulsory dissertation workshops will prepare students in research skills, in accordance with English Department practice.
Teaching staff: Dr Lara Shalson
Module code: 7AAEM669
Credit level: 7
Semester:  Semester 1 (autumn) 
Assessment:  coursework 

This module investigates major strands of critical inquiry in theatre and performance studies, introducing students to a range of critical writings, from foundational texts in the discipline to some of the most recent work being done in theatre and performance studies today. At the same time, it considers the interactions of performance theory with other theoretical and disciplinary approaches including speech act theory, feminist and queer theory, anthropology, postcolonial theory, visual art theory, ethics, and others. By the end of the module, students will have a strong foundation in theatre and performance theory and will be acquainted with a range of critical debates concerning the nature of performance as an aesthetic and cultural form, and as a facet of everyday life.

Teaching staff: Professor Alan Read
Module code: 7AAEM673
Credit level: 7
Credit value: 20
Semester:  Semester 1 (autumn);  Semester 2 (spring); 
Assessment:  coursework 

This module provides a critical introduction to theatre in London for post-graduate students. The course examines the production of current theatre and performance in the city with an emphasis on staged performance backed up by selected critical and creative texts. Alongside these artistic acts students will be introduced to ways in which the city of London itself is a landscape of continuous performances, ceremonies and events with institutions such as the Royal Courts of Justice, the Lord Mayor’s Show and the Freud Museum all worthy of close attention for the way they operate through means of performance.
Teaching staff: Dr Lara Shalson
Module code: 7AAEM670
Credit level: 7
Credit value: 20
Semester:  Semester 2 (spring) 
Teaching pattern: 1 x two hour seminar weekly
Assessment:  coursework 
1 x 1,000 word essay (mid semester, 20%);
1 x 3,000 word essay (end semester, 80%)

This module addresses intersecting histories of performance and live art practices of the past fifty years, including Happenings, Body Art, Performance Art, and Experimental Theatre. In this module, students will consider how various media and art forms - including theatre, painting, sculpture, film, and photography - come together in live art practices. We will engage closely with the formal, political, and theoretical challenges posed by live art, including issues of spectatorship, duration, embodiment, liveness, ephemerality, and documentation, and consider the ways in which different discourses emerging out of the visual arts, theatre, and performance studies variously frame and understand live art practices. By the end of this module, students will have an awareness of the history of live art as it has emerged over the past half century in relation to movements in theatre and the visual arts, including familiarity with a range of key artists and live art works. They will have the skills to interpret and analyse performance and live art works, including being able to place them within a broader historical and theoretical context.

General entry advice

An undergraduate honours degree with minimum 2:1 classification (or overseas equivalent - US applicants should have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.3), in Theatre, Performance Studies, English or related fields. Strong interest and/or engagement in performance practice an asset.

Enhanced criminal conviction check
Occupational Health clearance required?

To apply for graduate study at King's you will need to complete our graduate online application form. Applying online makes applying easier and quicker for you, and means we can receive your application faster and more securely.
King's does not normally accept paper copies of the graduate application form as applications must be made online. However, if you are unable to access the online graduate application form, please contact the relevant admissions/School Office at King's for advice.


Your application will be reviewed by the Admissions Tutor, who may consult with additional staff members. You may be invited for a short 15-minute interview (in person or by telephone). We aim to process all complete applications within four to six weeks although this may take longer in February, March and over holiday periods. Applications are considered and offers made on a rolling basis, but the final deadline for applications is 15 June. Applications submitted after this deadline will be considered only if there are places available.


Applicants must submit:

  • An official transcript;
  • Two letters of reference, at least one of which must come from an academic source;
  • A personal statement describing the applicant's trajectory and reasons for applying to the course;
  • And one writing sample of approximately 4,000 words.

The writing sample should consist of:

  • Preferred: one academic essay (approximately 4,000 words) that shows engagement with both primary and critical sources;
  • Alternatively, we will consider a collection of shorter writing, totalling approximately 4,000 words. This should include a 1,000-word commentary on a key critical text (e.g. article, book chapter, book) that is relevant to your research interests.

Within the online application portal, the writing sample should be added as an attachment to your personal statement.

Sources of funding and awards may be available for Home/EU and Overseas students through the College or other awarding bodies. Please consult the postgraduate prospectus ( or your home embassy for further information. Students may also self-fund their degree.

Student profiles

Theatre & Performance Studies MA
I chose King’s because of it’s world-leading research reputation in my subject area and because the course allowed for both high level research and exciting industry opportunities that are not available outside the MA – as part of my course I’ve been interning at the National Theatre Archives, which has shaped my research, and given me some amazing experiences working on exhibitions. This has given me skills and experiences for work which I would never have gained otherwise.

One of the best things so far is how dedicated the teachers are to the students – it’s wonderful to be taught by someone who’s not just an expert in the field, but who is also genuinely interested in supporting you. Having the freedom to pursue what I’m most interested in and be led by my own independent research has been excellent: this year I’ve written about performance anthropology, tackling current and important topics such as the Jimmy Savile scandal.

Researching at postgraduate level is incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. Because of the research facilities at King’s I’ve also been able to take a class from the Medical Humanities MA, and the exchange of knowledge has been hugely valuable to my research. The possibility of taking classes in other departments was a major factor in choosing King’s – the research community beyond my MA course is a fantastic, diverse and interesting body to be a part of. By the end of my first term I’d already had the opportunity to give a paper at one of King’s man research conferences!

The combination of research and industry experience in my MA has meant I have built up the skills I need for both research and industry! I hope to go into the cultural industry to gain more experience, but would also like to return to King’s to do a PhD at a later point. My MA has been crucial to building up the skills I need for my career, it’s prepared me for both further research and industry which is hugely valuable in this age of austerity. I also received a bursary which has been pivotal for supporting my studies, taking some of the financial pressure away so that I can take on additional internship opportunities and focus on my research.
Theatre & Performance Studies MA
I moved to London for three months to study abroad as an undergraduate, when my focus started to shift from acting to academic work. In those three months I fell in love with London, and the London theatre, and promptly started looking at universities in London to do my graduate work.


When I found the Theatre and Performance Studies MA at King's I instantly knew that it was the programme for me. King's offered the reputable research environment I was looking for, and the MA specifically offered the opportunity to take a guided study module and intern for a term. And just as exciting, both offered, from my first correspondence, knowledgeable and welcoming teaching and departmental staff.


Now that I have begun my study, I am consistently impressed and awed by both the opportunity I have to participate in various Theatre and Performance Studies seminars and lecture groups across the city, and by the knowledge and opportunities at home at King's


The exposure I have had to various working artists in the classroom, through the Performance Lab module (a term-long workshop in performance making run by currently working artists and King's teaching staff) and the guided study internship have been invaluable in my growth as an academic and performer. The Theatre and Performance Theory module has challenged me to hone analytical performance thinking skills which will be important in my future career, as a university researcher and professor.

Theatre & Performance Studies MA
Having studied English Literature for my BA at King’s, I was very keen to continue my postgraduate studies within an institution that had fostered my academic career and stimulated my interest in Theatre, the Visual Arts and Performance throughout my undergraduate degree.

The interdisciplinary nature of the MA in Theatre and Performance Studies was the primary reason I choose this postgraduate programme. My academic interests lie at the cross-sections of a diverse range of disciplines, including performance, the visual arts, art history, philosophy, architecture and geography.

It is King’s where I feel my research interests are met and furthered. The range of both academic and practical approaches that forms the teaching experience of the Theatre and Performance MA affords an assorted and exciting environment for learning. The excellent academic setting of the MA is facilitated by the outstanding teaching staff within the English department and specifically those teaching on the MA in Theatre and Performance. The teaching staff and the visiting artists make the MA in Theatre and Performance Studies a truly exceptional postgraduate programme to be undertaking. Their varied research interests and backgrounds reflect the diversity of the modules and areas of research offered throughout the course.

From the practice-based Performance Lab taught by some of the countries most exciting artists to a heavily theoretical, philosophically based Research Methods module to courses in Performance Theory, Live Art and Performance Art to an internship module, this MA offers a stimulating and rewarding array of research areas and modes of inquiry.

Currently, I am studying my Masters part-time, which has been an extremely successful option for me personally; allowing me time to truly digest the reading materials on the course and form my own research interests and questions. Studying part-time also provides me with the opportunity to work at the Tate Galleries; this helps me to fund my studies and also further my understanding of working in an arts-based institution. Most importantly, undertaking part-time studies allows me to continue and further my own performance work that focuses on gallery-based performance and installation.

The location of King’s in the centre of London also presents an unrivalled position at the heart of London’s performance and art scenes; endowing my studies with a sense of cultural and creative importance. I also enhance my postgraduate studies through taking advantage of the variety of talks, symposiums and research seminars offered at other London institutions; this would not be as richly generative for my thinking if I were not situated in London. The location of King’s also provides great potentials for future employment within the arts and further postgraduate study. I cannot recommend this course highly enough; it is undoubtedly equipping me with the skills I need to hopefully undertake a PhD and develop my own performance work.
Theatre & Performance Studies MA
King's seemed the best place for me for three main reasons: the breadth of interdisciplinary approaches to studying theatre and performance theories and practices; the scope of research interests and expertise shown by the academic tutors and visiting artists and the combination of practical and academic teaching. The small class sizes also enable a supportive tutor/student dynamic in the well-equipped space of the Anatomy Theatre which enables students to develop work and share ideas in a creative environment.


Having previously engaged with applied and community theatre practice as an undergraduate at Central School of Speech and Drama, I wanted to expand my theoretical and academic knowledge of performance work on a broader scale.


I'm doing the MA part-time in order to continue working as a freelance practitioner. I work as a drama and digital arts facilitator for C&T Theatre Company, and in an adolescent psychiatric unit. I'm also lead vocalist in a band writing and performing music. Understanding the theory and research methods behind theatre and performance studies feeds my creative practice as a drama practitioner and musician. Likewise, my performance practice is constantly being fuelled by the ongoing discovery of new areas of study, which in turn complements my academic engagement.


I received an Innovation Scholarship to help fund my maintenance and tuition fees, without which I would have been unable to study. The scholarship has meant that I can afford to spend time researching and further enhancing my study without financial worries.


After graduating I hope to develop my own performance practice combining live performance and music. The various modules on offer to choose from, such as Performance Lab, Guided Study and Performance and Live Art, will undoubtedly equip me with the skills required to feel confident in applying this practice to further experimentation within the field.

Theatre & Performance Studies MA
I chose to return to King's for graduate study as it's an exciting place to be. The quality of the teaching is high and the class sizes are small, so being fully involved with the course and pursuing your own interests comes naturally. There is an intimate, growing Performance community at King's which I feel a part of and there are loads of opportunities to go to performance seminars across London.


Outside the course I'm learning to break dance with the King's Dance Society, I go out every week salsa dancing and at the weekends escape London with my local cycling club.


I fund my living costs working part-time at the LSE and I'm planning to work full time over the summer to pay my fees for next year - it just about works!


After the programme I would like to continue my academic studies alongside building a creative career. The MA is giving me a brilliant foundation for a PhD and helping me to build invaluable connections and experience for the future.

Theatre & Performance Studies MA
As I knew King's from my BA, it was an obvious choice for me to continue my studies here; I was well aware of the high quality of teaching and research in the department. It is, without a doubt, the best located place to be studying Theatre & Performance – right in the heart of London, with incredible opportunities to experience and take part in the cultural and academic life of the capital.


I feel that I've gained a solid grounding in the theoretical approaches to theatre and performance, and as someone without a background in performance of any kind, investigating performance as research has had a huge and productive effect on my practice.


Having started out the year feeling very uncomfortable with performing even just in front of my classmates, my confidence has developed to the point that I will be presenting a performed panel at Performance Studies International in Leeds this summer. I supplement my teaching at King's by regularly attending research seminars at other London institutions, giving me unparalleled access to some of the most cutting-edge thinking in the field.


I'm hoping to stay at King's to do PhD research into the links between performance studies and non-philosophy, utilising the skills I've developed during the past year of MA study and working under the same staff who have supported me so effectively during this stage of my education. I would absolutely recommend the course both to those hoping to continue studying and to those looking to find work in the arts industry.