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MA Experimental Theatre Practice

There are diverse and new ways in which the artist's body might ‘perform’, placing the body at the centre of a cutting edge artistic/creative discourse, and placing media and innovative processes in dialogue with it. You'll explore contemporary performance practices, collective, non-hierarchical theatre structures and the multi-faceted performer.

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Explore contemporary performance practice

Entry requirements

An undergraduate degree at 2.1 or above

Or alternative, appropriate experience in the field

UCAS code Apply direct to Marjon

Duration One year full-time or two years part-time

Course Summary

Experimentation sits at the heart of MA Experimental Theatre Practice. You'll be offered the creative time and space to further hone your skills as a practitioner who makes and creates, performs, directs, writes and produces.

You'll generate and develop a series of experimental performance pieces, with the invitation to work in new ways with different forms, materials, and media - both digital and analogue. In addition, you'll reflect on how this supports you in the generation of avant garde theatre making, performance and directing.

To deepen your understanding there are opportunities to write alongside practical making processes. You'll be encouraged to explore embodied experience and the semiotic and/or phenomenological encounters involved in a creative process; and you'll develop the ability to confidently artuiculate this.

The flexibility of MA Experimental Theatre Practice offers an invitation to performers from a range of performance based disciples and genres, such as acting, theatre and musical theatre, drama, dance, performance studies and more. This prompts a vibrant cross-pollination of performer techniques, skill, speciality and approach to making.

Students will engage with off-campus work, and have the opportunity to work alongside a diverse range of audiences. Options for practice research specialisms may include (but are not limited to) the post dramatic, autobiograpy, improvisation, choreograophy, performance art, and live art.

MA Experimental Theatre Practice at Marjon invites you to open up to different ways of being and methods of making, with your industry level creative practice taken into the city, and beyond.

Why this course at Marjon?

Workshop somatic development, performer presence, conceptual framing, and theatre building with professional practitioners

Develop process strategies and daily practice, and work with your peers in models of collective practice

Explore and debate current trends and tropes in visual culture and body/identity politics

This course is perfect if you're curious about

Do you envisage theatre in ways that don't exist yet?

Do you find yourself unrepresented on 'stages' in the centre of cultural production?

Do you wonder why theatre and applied theatre are two different genres? Shouldn't all theatre be 'relevant'?

Are you stimulated and inspired by different points of view from your own?

Would you like to be developing your own practice in dialogue with other practices, diverse from your own?

Do you want to explore contemporary performance practices across Europe?

What might you become?

Our partnerships ensure that students can be supported appropriately and effectively towards employability in settings matched to their interests, including both industry-related, as well as in other sectors.

This course, in its study of performance and the experiential body, conceptually, culturally and socio-politically gives the student a wide range of employment possibilities Our graduates, therefore, are likely to engage in any of the following:

  • Freelance/independent artist/producer/innovator in a range of contexts
  • Further study at PhD level within the local region or further afield
  • Entry to postgraduate teaching programmes, either primary or secondary (with a performing arts specialism)
  • Sector-related research, archive, curation, dramaturgy work across the arts
  • A range of policy writing, strategy, fundraising related employment
  • Public speaking within creative industry settings and beyond

We also envisage that our students are likely to have a number of careers in their life times and it will therefore be critical to develop their transferable and practical skills as much as possible, to ensure they are suited to the ever-changing demands of industry and have the capacity to deal with the certainty of uncertainty and the inevitability of change.

Modules for this course

Course Snapshot

Begin with a series of immersive workshops taught by visiting professional practitioners, providing a range of input; somatic practice, performance technologies, site specificity and performance building (not limited to or exclusively). This practical work is underpinned by a module which focuses on academic and intellectual research and debate. In the second phase the course shifts to looking at concepts and conceptual development and focusing on your own relationship to practice where you will apply strategies of daily studio based practice working along side your peers. You'll share practice and work collectively to give and receive feedback. The course culminates in a project proposal and you will work independently with supervision to realise your project ambitions.
Dr Sharon Smith - Course Leader


1st Year

Embodied practice
Identify, develop and position your practice through taught workshops by professionals. Explore body in relation to context/site/place. And the performer-spectator relationship. Place the body at the center of your research to extend and strengthen your theatre making.
Research and contexts
A forum for presentation and debate. How does theatre critically engage with socio-politics, the politics of the performing body and diverse audiences? How does theatre feeds back, intervene and influence understanding of bodies and self-expression?
Developing practice
You will develop a studio-based practice. Working alongside fellow students in a ‘work-show-tell’ structure, you will be invited to respond to a range of ‘proposals’ which agitate, challenge, develop and strengthen your creative strategies encouraging experimentation and testing your ideas in practice.

Fees and funding

Fees UK students: £6,500

Fees for International students: £12,000

Teaching and assessment

How will you be taught?

Teaching combines professional workshops, seminars, one-to-one supervision and independent research.

How will you be assessed?

Assessments cover the process, production and presentation of live work, lecture-presentations, written assignments and vivas.

Course leader

Dr Sharon Smith

Sharon's interests are ‘performance presence’ and the practice of improvisation. She is a core member of the internationally renowned performance collective Gob Squad, who devise and tour a wide range of collaborative performance work.

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Kate Massey-Chase


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Kate is an experienced Performing Arts teacher. She is passionate about social justice and the use of drama and theatre for social and political purposes, and as a platform for individual or social change. She is currently researching the use of theatre in mental health contexts.

Dr Natalie Raven

Co-Programme Lead for Performance

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Natalie is a performance artist with over 10 years professional experience in industry, presenting and exhibiting her work across Europe and North America. She is a specialist in performer training, working with students across Acting, Musical Theatre, and Performing Arts in Education programmes to deliver a blend of strength & conditioning, yoga, and physical theatre technique. She teaches and researches feminist performance; sex, gender, and the body in performance; and contemporary performance making technique.

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