ALRA Acting Schools in London & Manchester

MA in Directing

MA in Directing

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

An innovative new programme with international placement, industry mentors and cutting-edge location in the Greater Manchester theatre community.

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.

The course will be based at ALRA North, a centre of creative cultural development in the North West, creating high quality, forward thinking connections for all learners.

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.

Course fees

paying privatelywith Postgraduate Loan (tbc)
MA in Directing - University validation fee (£700) £10,000 £700

Terms Dates

Autumn Term 2018Spring Term 2019Summer Term 2019
From 18th September 8th January 23rd April
To 24th November 23rd March 13th July

Selection is made by workshop audition over two days. There are no formal entry requirements although we prefer you to have an undergraduate degree in a cognate subject.

The process of audition/interview will be over two consecutive days involving 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 over the two days. There will also be a sharing of the work created with the participant actors.

Interspersed throughout the two days will be two one-hour workshops focusing on acting, voice and movement techniques.

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.

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