MA Stand Up Comedy
Postgraduate Drama and Theatre studies at Kent has a very strong reputation for research and supervision in contemporary performance processes, applied performance and European theatre.
The wide-ranging interests of our international team of leading and emerging researchers (from the UK, Australia, Malta, Greece, Germany and other countries) also include research strengths in Shakespeare, 18th-century theatre, multimedia performance, and in the history of comedy and popular performance.
Our distinctive focus at Kent is on theatre as practice, whatever the topic, area, mode and methodology of research, and we encourage postgraduate students to make use of our close links and contacts with local, national and international (especially European) theatre companies, venues, schools and artists, both for research and to encourage professional postgraduate development.
Our flagship area of ‘Practice as Research’ has so far attracted a range of researchers and professionals, including the co-directors of Ridiculusmus, performance artist Kazuko Hohki, and many others working in areas from physical theatre to visual performance and cross-disciplinary projects.
This taught MA programme offers a unique opportunity to study the theory and practice of stand-up comedy at postgraduate level. The University of Kent has a long history of teaching and research in comic performance, and the Templeman Library houses the British Stand-Up Comedy Archive.
You will learn how to write and perform your own material, reflect on your work, and engage with theories comedy through workshops, seminars and supervision. Stand-up relies on a dynamic interaction between performer and audience, and for this reason live performance is a central part of the teaching strategy. You will perform regularly for audiences of up to 200 people throughout the year, developing your performance skills, honing material and increasing your understanding of this vibrant form of popular theatre.
The theoretical aspects of the programme culminate in a practice-as-research project in which you explore ideas about comedy and comic performance through both traditional academic research and creative practice.
There is a strong emphasis on professional practice, with students performing open mike spots in established comedy clubs in the UK and beyond, as well as organising their own shows. Regular teaching staff include Dr Oliver Double, a former stand-up who has published widely on comedy and popular performance. In addition to this, we have guest lectures, workshops and master classes from professional comedians, including the seminal alternative comedian Tony Allen.
Assessment is through performances, portfolios and essays.
The School of Arts’ award-winning Jarman Building offers professional standard drama facilities, along with social spaces and a dedicated centre for postgraduate students.
Additional facilities across the Canterbury campus include two theatres; the 113-seat Aphra Theatre (a courtyard-type gallery theatre space) and the Lumley Theatre, which is a flexible and adaptable white room space. Drama students also benefit from an additional rehearsal studio, a sound studio, a theatre design suite and an extensively equipped construction workshop.
The University’s Templeman Library is well resourced in our subject area and houses special collections of 19th-century manuscripts – playbills, programmes, prints and other theatre ephemera – theatrical biography and the history of the stage in the 19th and 20th centuries. It also has particular strengths as a research resource in English Renaissance drama, Russian and French theatre, and British theatre since 1900. We also house the Jacques Copeau Archive and the British Grotowski collection.
Conferences and seminars
We have strong links with organisations such as the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR) and the Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA), and encourage postgraduates to present work within national and international conferences. Also, we run regular research seminars, workshops, and performance-related events led by members of staff, students, and invited experts and practitioners.
An upper second-class honours degree or better, usually in a relevant humanities subject. In certain circumstances, the School will consider candidates who have not followed a conventional education path or who may have relevant experience in the industry. These cases are assessed individually by the Director of Graduate Studies.
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