Covering historical and philosophical bases of theatre and performance practices from different parts of the world, on this degree, you'll investigate indigenous and contemporary performance and theatre traditions from a variety of cultural contexts. The MA in World Theatres is one of the few freestanding taught Masters programmes in world theatres and performance in the UK and globally.

The programme aims to train graduates for professional employment in a range of positions in theatre, in government settings, in the culture sector and in HE internationally that require solid intellectual preparation and knowledge of the field. Practitioners who come on the programme can use knowledge acquired to extend the articulation of their career.

Programme Aims

This one-year full‐time or two-year part-time programme of study aims to cover the historical contexts and philosophical bases of theatre and performance practices from different parts of the world, some of which are rarely introduced in UK HE. It will thus involve the student in a study of indigenous and contemporary performance and theatre traditions from a variety of cultural, national and international contexts. From this vantage context, students will be able to compare and contrast such work critically, within and beyond a European perspective, and in turn use this perspective to consider contemporary theatre in multicultural Britain.

The main aims of the programme are:

  • To introduce the student to the whole range of drama, theatre and performance practices from many areas of the world.
  • To allow the student scope for creative yet rigorous and critical thinking combined with cumulative knowledge.
  • To enhance understanding of the interaction between practice and theory in all areas of performance study.
  • To encourage and foster independent research, carried out through the scholarly channels of books and visual archives, as well as through access to practice, if/when available.
  • To provide access where possible to industry opportunities to extend their study, in particular with our new Associate Organisation, LIFT and its biennial festival of international theatre as well as its on-going programming of activities.

Modules and Structure

All students on the programme will undertake four taught modules and a research project. The programme may be taken full-time or part-time for the duration of one year or two years, respectively. For full-time students, the programme runs over three terms, of which Term One is devoted to two modules and students will also be required to undertake training for research and academic writing in preparation for the Research Project. Term Two comprises two modules and the Research Project, while Term Three is devoted entirely to the Research Project.

Part‐time students have two terms in their first year of study and three terms in their second year.

Full-time students

  • Term 1 (Autumn) - World Theatre: Contexts and Practices + Contemporary African Theatre and Research Project (training for research and academic writing)
  • Term 2 (Spring) - Asian Theatre: From Bharata to Brecht and Eastern European Theatres and Research Project
  • Term 3 (Summer) - Research Project

Part-time students

Year One

  • Term 1 (Autumn) ‐ World Theatre: Contexts and Practices or/and Contemporary African Theatre
  • Term 2 (Spring) - Asian Theatre: from Bharata to Brecht and/or Eastern European Theatres

Year Two

  • Term 1 (Autumn) - World Theatres: Contexts and Practices and/or Contemporary African Theatre (depending on how many were taken in Year One) and the Research Project
  • Term 2 (Spring) - Asian Theatre: From Bharata to Brecht and/or Eastern European Theatres (depending on how many were taken in Year One) and the Research Project
  • Term 3 (Summer) - Research Project

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

Skills & careers


The department is home to the African Theatre Association (AfTA) and its bi-annual journal, African Performance Review. The Department of Theatre and Performance has close links with two research centres: The Pinter Centre for Performance and Creative Writing and The Centre for the Body, that each generates learning opportunities via programmes of talks, conferences and workshops. The Department runs regular extramural activities, including hosting international practitioners in the Performance Research Forum (Dis-Play) series. The department’s special relationship with the Goldsmiths Confucius Institute and its association to the Beijing Dance Academy also contributes to the global performance practice opportunities offered. Together, these organisations provide a unique research and professional resource for students on Theatre and Performance programmes.

Expertise is provided by the Department's resident staff, most of whom are not only dedicated and experienced teachers, but are also distinguished practitioners and researchers in their own right, working in national and international contexts. The Department also draws on a large pool of visiting practitioners and academics to provide a breadth of expertise and contact with the current practice.


The broad range of interests combined in this programme will prepare you for a diverse range of employment and/or a portfolio of careers in theatre and performance as well as the arts industry as a whole in different socio-cultural environments:

  • facilitation and animation in both mainstream, applied and community theatre contexts nationally and internationally.
  • administrative and support services cultural leadership government organisations.
  • journalism and broadcasting (including radio, television and print journalism).
  • teaching at all levels.
  • interpretation and translation in theatre and performance contexts.
  • acting, directing, design, dramaturgy.

In addition, you can use this programme as a springboard for further study, either vocational or intellectual (including entry into MPhil/PhD programmes).

In short, the multiple skills – intellectual, critical and creative – developed by this programme will provide you with the flexibility of thought and approach necessary for creative insertion into the global job market.

Entry requirements

Successful applicants will normally hold a first degree at 2:1 level or higher (or its equivalent in the case of applicants from abroad) in an arts or humanities subject.

For candidates with unrelated degrees/backgrounds, they must demonstrate a keen interest in the theatre evidenced by having previously taken part in productions as a performer, writer/critic, director or producer.

In all cases, candidates must demonstrate in their written application/personal statement and at the interview that they have an interest in theoretical and analytical work and that they are also able to meet the intellectual demands of a programme designed to be theoretically challenging.

Students will be expected to engage with historical research, as well as have some awareness of how world contemporary performance and theatre involves a diversity of forms, practices and traditions.

Criteria for entry into the programme also includes independence, self‐motivation, intellectual and personal initiative, and commitment to scholarly investigation, especially investigation into performance practices.

Applicants whose first language is not English must have achieved a score of 6.5 or more in the IELTS (or equivalent) examination for written English.

Equivalent qualifications

We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

English language requirements

If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us.

For this programme we require:

IELTS 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing.

If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

How to apply

You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system.

Before submitting your application you’ll need to have:

  • Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments,
  • The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic copy of your academic reference,
  • A personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF or completed online,
  • If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory).

You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.

When to apply

We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September.

We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place that is conditional on you achieving a particular qualification.

Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available.

If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an earlier application deadline.

You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least upper second class standard in a relevant/related subject.

You might also be considered for some programmes if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.

Selection process

Admission to many programmes is by interview unless you live outside the UK. Occasionally, we'll make candidates an offer of a place on the basis of their application and qualifications alone.

Program taught in:

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This course is Campus based
Start Date
1 - 2 years
7,520 GBP
Programme fee 2018-2019: Home/EU - £7520; International - £15340
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