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Birkbeck, University of London: Text and Performance

Institution Birkbeck, University of London View institution profile
Department English, Theatre and Creative Writing
Telephone 0203 907 0700
Study type Taught


MA Text and Performance is a highly distinctive degree delivered by one of the most exciting and impactful departments in the UK. Taught by world-leading academic researchers, artists and industry professionals, you will explore the dynamic relationship between text and performance through a combination of:

  • writing for and about theatre and performance

  • theatre practice

  • performance-making

  • academic study.

This postgraduate degree is ideally suited to those interested in learning about or working in theatre and performance, the live arts, digital and screen arts and an array of other career paths.

This degree is offered in association with Camden People’s Theatre and guest artists, enabling you to develop highly employable skills from a professional theatrical context, including access to invaluable industry resources and career development opportunities.

In the studio and workshop, we use voice, movement, playwriting, directing and dramaturgy techniques to create new theatre and performance. In lectures and seminars, we examine historical, philosophical and theoretical materials and ideas to understand contemporary theatre and performance and the ways in which they are shaped by current concerns and traditions and legacies. You will also have opportunities to engage with digital, visual and screen art practices and some students choose to make digital artworks, including films, for their dissertations.

This unique course is supported by the creative and critical interests of Birkbeck staff and the theatre-making expertise of associate artists that include Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre Fellows. Learning from theatre professionals, you will develop skills that enable you to generate innovative theatre and performance and to work in the creative industries. You will also develop research skills, supported by the Graduate Research in Theatre (GRiT) seminar series, which will support you in pursuing further study, including PhD research.


  • Birkbeck was ranked 2nd in the UK for its English Language and Literature research in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework.

  • Student projects are tutored by a combination of faculty and visiting artists. Visiting artists also provide masterclasses, workshops and public talks programmed at Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre.

  • Recent visiting artists include: Dickie Beau, Bourgeois and Maurice, Stockard Channing, Karen Christopher, Tim Crouch, Anna Himali Howard, Myah Jeffers, Ed Kemp, Mel Kenyon, Namsi Khan, Rachel Mars, Simon Nelson, Gbolahan Obisesan, Anthony Simpson-Pike, Andrew Upton, David Eldridge and Brian Logan.

  • We offer informal, unassessed creative enhancement opportunities alongside your studies. Graduate Research in Theatre is a postgraduate reading group run by Birkbeck's Centre for Contemporary Theatre. You can also show work in progress as part of Scratch Night, programmed as part of the School of Arts summer festival Arts Week.

Careers and employability

This course uniquely combines the practical and academic exploration of theatre and performance, which means you will graduate equipped with a broad range of highly employable skills, ideal for entering the creative industries or undertaking further academic study. Graduates can also find ongoing support via the Birkbeck Theatre Alumni network, which is dedicated to creating networking opportunities for graduates of Birkbeck’s theatre programmes, and celebrating their achievements.

Our graduates can be found following a wide range of exciting career paths, including in:

  • academia and education

  • theatre and performance practice

  • film, media and the creative arts

  • arts leadership, administration and outreach

  • journalism

  • advertising and marketing

  • public relations

  • policy and strategy for political organisations, charities or NGOs

  • publishing.


Birkbeck, University of London



Birkbeck, part of the University of London, offers nearly 300 taught and research postgraduate programmes across arts and humanities, business and economics, law, science and social science. As an evening teaching specialist, Birkbeck offers its taught postgraduate courses between 6-9pm, with some courses available through distance learning. As with undergraduate courses, postgraduates can study full-time or part-time.

Home to 44 research and specialist institutes, Birkbeck is the sixth largest provider of taught postgrad courses for UK and EU students - some 44% of its 11,000-plus students are on postgrad programmes. Around 90% of its academics …

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