The Arden School of Theatre

MA Directing (Musical Direction)

Leaflet Code: CR60225FT


This course is for students looking to develop their creative talents as a Theatre Director. Students will discover new techniques, such as pedagogical approaches and theory for voice and harmony coaching, as well as develop an understanding of the wider aspects of being a creative, such as marketing, research, and production management.

A unique aspect of this course is the industry mentorship model, whereby each term the student will be supervised by a different industry mentor. This will enable the student to achieve a high level of personal, as well as subject-specific, development throughout the MA; it will also facilitate the undertaking of specialist projects within the modules offered on the course.

The course is broken down into three parts.
1. Approaches
In the first trimester, students will focus on new skills and approaches, such as research methodologies, rehearsal techniques, marketing and production management. The students will contextualise these new skills within their own disciplines and areas of interest.
2. Collaboration
In the second trimester students have the opportunity to engage in their practice in a collaborative, supportive environment. In the module ‘Developing New Work’ students will also develop an understanding and appreciate of current critical debates surrounding theatre and the compositional process. They will gain further insight into the craft of directing by undertaking an ‘assistant musical director’ role on a live brief on one of our many undergraduate projects with a professional Musical Director.
3. The Professional
In the final trimester students will apply the knowledge and understanding learnt in the previous trimesters into one large-scale project, taking responsibility for all aspects from pre-production onwards. This will culminate students presenting their work to a public audience and invited industry audience, providing opportunities to network and garner footage for their future portfolios.

  • City Campus Manchester
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • September 2023

Awarding Partner:

Sheffield Hallam University

All staff on the programme are current working professionals with a vast experience of professional theatre work, from regional theatre to West End.

• Level 6 qualification at a 2:2 or above in a relevant subject

Professional experience will be considered in the application process. Students should also present strong musicianship skills such as keyboard, conducting, and/or vocal technique.

Final Major Project (Directing Musicals) (60 credits)

Year 1: Assistant Director (30 credits)

Year 1: Developing New Work (30 credits)

Year 1: Marketing (20 credits)

Year 1: Rehearsal Techniques (20 credits)

Year 1: Research for Creatives (20 credits)

The teaching and assessment methods will vary throughout the course.
They include the following:

• Supervisor Observation of rehearsals and feedback sessions.

• In-house placements and mentorship with senior practitioners within the team.

• Traditional lectures where the lecturer provides students with a framework for reading and independent study.

• Small group tutorials and seminars where key issues and artistic concepts can be explored and discussed in more depth. Students are expected to play a full part, and occasionally, to lead these discussions.

• Professional workshops where students will diversify their craft in their chosen field.

• Production meetings, where students will observe professional communication skills and gain an understanding of working theatre relationships.

• Independent study based on directed reading from textbooks and academic journals.

All the books required for the course are available from the library. However, you may choose to buy some of the core textbooks for the course and/or a laptop which is highly recommended. Estimated costs for a laptop/desktop are £300.

Materials are provided online and assignments are submitted electronically. However, you might also wish to print other documents.

Campus printing costs start from 5p per page.

All students are subject to UCEN Manchester’s Terms and Conditions from the date they accept an offer to study here, full details of which can be found here. The UCEN Manchester Admissions Policy and Procedure can be found here.