MA Directing

Student practising during ALRA MA in Directing, Masters in theatre directing class

Course Leader Chris Hill
Course Location Wigan, Greater Manchester
Study Level Postgraduate
Study Mode Full Time
Course Length 2 Years
Application  FREE
Awarding Body St Mary’s University, London
Validated from 2018 to 2023
  Apply Now

Directed & edited by Chris Cronin | DOP Sam Cronin


The ALRA MA Directing course is an innovative new programme which includes an international residency and individual industry mentors. Set within a cutting-edge location at ALRA North, a hive of creative activity and cultural development in the North West. ALRA North is an established and important centre of learning in the Greater Manchester theatre community.

Our Directing students will have access to resources that allow aspects of audio and film to be integrated into the performance environment.

The aim of this course is to create graduates who will change the demographic of live theatre directors in this country. ALRA will recruit 4 – 6 student directors with vastly diverse backgrounds and pair them with innovative and excellent experiences that will act as a catalyst for their forthcoming career as artists in the live performance industry.

ALRA Directors will have an insight into the craft of acting through working with the acting students and specialist tutors on their performance programmes which focus on body, voice and imagination. Students will develop an understanding of a wide variety of different practices that can be used to shape performance. 

For further information please email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • Overview
  • Entry Requirements
  • Fees & Dates
  • Admissions and Assessment
LevelProposed TitleCore/OptionCredit Value
7 The Performer C 40
7 The Performance Environment C 20
7 The Philosophy of Directing C 20
7 Producing C 20
7 Culture, Perception and Directing C 20
7 Directing Practices C 60

Module Summaries:

The Performer – Term 1 and 2.

The director’s relationship with the performer is central to the creation of new work and clarity of communication is key to its success. The aim of this module is to introduce students to core elements of an actor’s training and practice by participating in voice and movement workshops. Assessment is delivered through two industry tasks that demonstrate effective communication with individual actors.

This module is delivered over 8 hours per week for 8 weeks in Term 1 and 2, including 36 hours of individual specialist masterclasses in the first four weeks.

The Performance Environment Terms 1 and 2:

The aim of this module is to explore the different facets of the performance environment and the methods by which the director can communicate meaning and narrative to an audience.

ALRA’s MA Directing graduates should be able to communicate effecvtively with an entire production team. Therefore, this module includes classes on lighting, sound, camera work, stage management, design and costume. This module is compatible with performance work studied throughout Terms 1 and 2 and is delivered through three principal modes.

The students will take part in observational sessions on Acting for Camera and Acting for Radio (in conjunction with the BA in Acting - 4 hours per week in term 1). Alongside these classroom observations, students partake in a series of Technical Workshops examining key processes in the realisation of the sound, lighting and video components of live performance as well as design. This is delivered over 20 hours in Term 2.

The Philosophy of Directing: Term 3

The aim of this module is to develop a framework that examines each individual student’s directing process, allowing them to competently rationalise key decisions and communicate their intent clearly with creative collaborators.

Drawing on practical skills associated with the craft of directing, the student will examine what influences and interests them as a practitioner and how this applies to the process of working with collaborators such as actors, technicians, venues and funding bodies. This process will support the student in understanding their own opinions about directing and why they believe them to be true.

The module is delivered throughout Term 3 through a series of weekly day-long workshops. Particular use of technology such as b-log, v-log, podcast and social media is encouraged in this module and used in the reflective assessment task.

Producing: Term 3

Producing is delivered through 4 hours of workshops and seminars per week accompanied by regular tutorials.

The focus of the module is on creating a funding bid based around the desires of a peer, allowing the learner to deeply engage in isolated exposure to the practices associated with producing. This experience will equip the learner with the skills to produce their own work in the future. A series of experts in the various silos of producing will give weekly lectures to the students which will inform the various aspects of their assessment task.

Learners are assessed on their completition of a fundraising application and their rationale around their approach.

Culture, Perception and Directing: Term 4

The aim of this module is to experience being resident in an organisation other than ALRA North and engaging in the values and expressions of the cultures that surround the host venue. By placing the learners in a new theatrical context for two weeks, possibly in another country, cultural differences in making processes and the effect that ‘culture’ has will be addressed.

There will be three phases to the content of this module:

  • Preparing for the residency through lectures and seminars
  • Engaging in the residency over two weeks
  • Spending at least three weeks making work that responds to the experience

The focus of the module is to rationalize how the work, and responses to it, can be informed and effected by culture using a language that is idiosyncratic to the student who shows awareness of the culture they were immersed in. This module is assessed through an audio task that explores the effect of the residency upon their creative process.

The module will be delivered both at ALRA North and within the residency. All accommodation, visas and travel will be arranged by ALRA and included in the course fee.

Directing Practices: Term 5 and 6

The aim of this module is to challenge and enrich the students’ existing practice by both exploring directing processes that lie outside the students’ existing experience and giving them the space to make a performance that brings together their experiences on the course.

Students will:

  • Be placed with an industry mentor to guide them towards making their substantial piece of performance work
  • Undertake a placement at ALRA
  • Undertake an assistant director placement at a theatre venue in the North West
  • Create an independent production with a small budget to be performed in the ALRA North theatre space

This module includes two full time residencies over one or two terms which are assessed through the observation of communication to actors or the creative team. The major assessment task for this module is the rationale behind the creation of an independent production. 

Candidates will be expected to have a 2.2 at BA (Hons) in cognate subject or Entrants will have acquired experience through work or other means that enables staff responsible for admissions to be confident of the candidate's ability to succeed in the programme. This recognition of prior learning will be gathered in the form of references from recognised professionals in the field.

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).

Fees for 2020 Entry





MA Directing






Fees for 2020 Entry


MA Directing


Fees for 2020 Entry


MA Directing


Fees for 2020 Entry


MA Directing


Fees for 2020 Entry


MA Directing


Funding Information for the MA Professional Acting and all ALRA courses can be found in Fees & Funding.

Terms DatesAutumn Term 2019Spring Term 2020Summer Term 2020
From 23rd September 13rd January 27th April
To 06th December 27th March 17th July
Terms DatesAutumn Term 2019
From 23rd September
To 06th December
Terms DatesSpring Term 2020
From 13rd January
To 27th March
Terms DatesSummer Term 2020
From 27th April
To 17th July

There are no formal entry requirements although we prefer you to have an undergraduate degree in a cognate subject.

At Stage One candidates are asked to submit a short statement outlining their experience and reasons for wanting to study theatre directing. Candidates will then be interviewed based on the information they provide. If candidates are successful at Stage One, they will be invited to a Stage Two workshop day.

Stage Two will involve a practical directing task using a group of current BA Acting or MA Acting students as participants. The candidates will be observed within the directing process and then interviewed on how they felt their process evolved. There will also be a sharing of the work created with the participant actors.

Should RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) be the process of admittance for a student, they will also engage in a two-day pre-training that will involve developing skills in critical reflection and evaluation. This will be delivered as part of the induction week prior to the start of the course.

For further information please email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ALRA understands that choosing to go to drama school is a big decision. We have put together some useful information to help you through the application process and beyond.

Here is some useful information for applicants:

  • FAQs

  • Next Interview / Audition Dates

  • Audition Guidelines

    Auditions Guidelines

    For information on Free Auditions please see this page.

    • Your Audition
    • Audition Format

    For Acting Courses

    There are new guidelines for 2020 entry, set out below:

    Each applicant is asked to prepare three audition pieces.

    • a contemporary monologue (from a play written post 2000)
    • a piece of poetry OR spoken word OR a second contemporary monologue (this piece should be contrasting from your first and can but does not have to be self-written)
    • a classical monologue (this can be Shakespearean/Jacobean/Elizabethan or an equivalent text that may be from cultures other than western classical text but contain elements of rhythm and poetry

    Please make sure you have read the whole plays your monologues come from and that it works as a stand-alone speech, not requiring input from another character.

    Ensure that you:

    • Prepare and learn your pieces thoroughly
    • Choose pieces that are close to you in age
    • Do not use props or costume
    • Use only your natural accent
    • Wear clothing that's easy to move in (i.e. no tight jeans/skirts etc.)

    ALRA is assessing you on the following qualities and abilities throughout the day: 

    • Truth, focus and concentration
    • Potential to express thought and feeling through text, movement and voice
    • Openness and responsiveness to others, imagination and creativity
    • Ability to take direction

    For further help and advice, please see our FAQ Audition Advice Videos

    ALRA offers various provisions for access to our full-time courses for applicants:

    • Auditions, Interviews & Workshops at ALRA North & South Campus
    • Workshops & Auditions at Private Outreach  Venues
    • Auditions, Interviews & Workshops at Regional UK Venues
    • Preliminary Online Assessments for International Students
    • Auditions, Interviews & Workshops at International Venues
    • Collaborative Partnerships

    ALRA follows the ‘Auditioning and interviewing for Dance & Drama Code of Practice’ as detailed on the CDMT and EFA websites.

    Audition Days (All Acting Courses)

    Selection is made by audition that takes place over one day. Applicants will be considered based on performance of text, vocal and physical suitability and individual interview.

    The day will consist of two stages.

    Stage 1 all applicants will perform their two contrasting contemporary audition pieces (see Your Audition tab above).

    At this point the panel will consider all applicants and decide who will progress to the next stage.

    Stage 2 applicants will participate in a workshop, perform their classical monologue and finally be invited to interview.

    There are opportunities to talk to staff and students throughout the audition process.

    Audition Day Format

    This is a rough format of how a typical audition day runs.*

    Stage 1

    • 9.00 – 9.30: Arrival and Registration
    • 9.30 – 10.15: Warm Up
    • 10.15 – 11.15: Audition Piece One
    • 11.30 – 12.30: Audition Piece Two

    Stage Two (for applicants who progress onto this stage)

    • 1.00 – 2.00: Workshop
    • 2.00 – 3.30: Audition Piece Three
    • 3.30: Interview

    *Please note that the times given may vary, dependant on numbers. 

    Audition Results

    ALRA operates an Equal Opportunities Policy: all candidates will be assessed on their potential to meet the demands of the course and considered entirely on the basis of merit. Those showing the most aptitude at audition will be considered for Dance and Drama Awards.  

    The audition panel for all full-time courses are run by Course Leaders, Lead Tutors and Senior Staff members, final selection is completed by the Principal and Registrar.

    Successful applicants will have demonstrated a significant degree of talent, ability, preparation, aptitude and commitment as well as the ability to make a positive contribution to, and benefit from training with ALRA. 

    Audition results are usually processed and sent out via email as well as available on the Audition Management System within ten working days of the date of audition. ALRA always aspires to inform applicants of the audition result within this timeframe but during busier times results can take longer and we ask for patience and understanding in these circumstances.


    Feedback from Auditionees

    • Thank you for the opportunity, and for providing a thoroughly enjoyable experience... even if I don't get a place I have loved the experience.
      Natasha Davidson
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  • Fees & Funding

  • International Applications

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ALRA's Notable Alumni
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Reasons to study at ALRA
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    ALRA is a leading conservatoire drama school with a reputation for training hard working, fully-rounded professional actors.
  • ALRA’s acting training includes includes specialist instruction in stage, film, TV, audio, comedy, voice and movement and is supported with contextual studies to prepare for work.
  • ALRA is a leading conservatoire drama school with a reputation for training hard working, fully-rounded professional actors.
  • ALRA has built strong relationships within the industry and our showcases and productions are directed and attended by agents, directors, casting directors, writers, producers and our own inspiring Alumni.
  • ALRA’s resident teams are dedicated, talented professionals with a wealth of knowledge and experience and a passion for teaching. Our students are supported in all aspects of their studies.
  • ALRA’s reputation of securing opportunities for students grows each year and our Alumni are working in the West End, Regional and Touring Theatre Productions, as well as in Film, TV and Comedy both in the UK and beyond.
  • ALRA recruits a comparatively small number of students each year so that everybody has our full attention and feels part of the school from the moment they arrive.
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Awarding Bodies

St Mary's University |Accredited Arama Course

Institutional Accreditations

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