MA Directing

An innovative programme including an international residency and industry mentorships, designed to create driven, diverse artists who will change the demographic of directors in this country and beyond. You will work across a broad range of disciplines and immerse yourself in the drama school environment.

Course Leaders TBA
Course Location Wandsworth (London), Wigan (Greater Manchester)
Study Level Postgraduate
Study Mode Full-time
Course Length 2 years
Awarding Body Arts University Bournemouth* from 2023 (*subject to validation)

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From 2021 the ALRA MA Directing course will run at both ALRA North and South; established centres of HE learning, creative activity and cultural development in the North West and in London. We aim to recruit up to 6 student directors per campus from diverse backgrounds and pair them with experiences that will act as catalysts for their careers as artists in the live performance industry. You will develop an understanding of an eclectic variety of practices that can create and shape performance. You will gain invaluable insight into the craft of the performer by working alongside training actors and specialist tutors on ALRA’s performance programmes.

The Performer
You will be introduced to core elements of an actor’s training and practice by participating in voice and movement classes, alongside acting students. You will also have individual specialist masterclasses.

The Performance Environment
Develop the skills to collaborate effectively with a production team through classes on lighting, sound, camera work, stage management, design and costume. The module is interlinked with the performance work you study and you will also observe sessions on Acting for Camera and Radio.

The Philosophy of Directing
The aim of this module is to develop a deeper understanding of your directing process. You will explore which approaches to making work influence and interest you as a practitioner and how these inform your process of working with collaborators such as actors, technicians, venues and funding bodies.

The focus of the module is on creating a funding bid, allowing you to deeply engage in the thinking and practices associated with producing. You will have weekly lectures to support your learning and will be assessed on your completion of the funding application and your rationale around your approach.

Culture, Perception and Directing
Complete a two week residency at an arts organisation, engaging in its values and cultural environment. Immerse yourself in a new theatrical context to explore the effect that culture has on how you make your work.

Directing Practices
Challenge and enrich your existing practice by exploring new directing processes and making your own work. This module includes Assistant director Placements both at ALRA and a professional organisation.


Assessment is bespoke to your learning and is realised in multiple ways: you will make blogs, v-logs and podcasts, deliver presentations, lead workshops, give notes, make work both individually and as a group and answer questions on your choices and beliefs during Viva Voces, giving you varied and creative ways to express yourself.


Throughout the course ALRA will provide opportunities and encourage you to make industry connections in preparation for your professional career. You will also be encouraged to collaborate with your fellow students across all courses.

You will be connected with an industry mentor to guide and support you as you make your final piece of performance work. This will be performed in the ALRA theatre space for invited industry guests.

Candidates will be expected to have an undergraduate degree in a cognate subject or have acquired experience through work. We actively encourage applicants who offer equivalent professional experience as an alternative to qualifications.

You should be 18 years old on enrolment (by mid-September/first day of Induction). We also welcome older students, especially those who are thinking about a career change.

If English is not your first language you must be fluent in English (You may be asked for proof of this We need a level 6.5 in the IELTS (International English Language Test System).

Selection is made by audition. Find out more here.

Funding information for the MA Directing and all ALRA courses can be found in Fees and Funding.

Fees for 2021 entry
MA Directing North
MA Directing South

Please note that the MA Directing is a two-year course and the fees details above are per year.

Year 1
Term 1
Term 2
Term 3
27th Sept 2021

10th Dec 2021
10th Jan 2022

25th March 2022
25th April 2022

15th July 2022
Applications for the MA Directing course for September 2022 entry are now open. If you cannot make the dates currently open on the application system, please get in touch with us at

Apply via the Apply page and submit all of your details.

Important: there is no application fee for the MA Directing course.

Once we receive all of your details, we’ll be in touch with what you need to do next.

In the next stage of the application, you will need to provide 500 words on your interest and experience in directing/theatre and your CV. You will then be contacted to participate in an online meeting which will include a directing task and an interview.

The directing task will be explained prior to the meeting date and is designed to explore communication as well as investigate the applicant’s artistic concept. This task will be presented, then artistic rationale of the task will be discussed with the Course Leader and other senior members of faculty.

At interview, applicants will demonstrate sufficient potential to develop their personal creative process within the field of directing. The applicant will discuss their reasons for wanting to take the course and their experience which demonstrates aspects of the relevant work.

Academy of Live and Recorded Arts