MA/MFA Creative Producing
Skilled and culturally literate Creative Producers are increasingly in demand in the arts, theatre and entertainment industries as entrepreneurs, fundraisers, project managers, curators and collaborators. These courses offer real-world creative producing opportunities within Central’s production calendar and with extensive industry partners, enabling students to build on their existing practice.
About the course
Central graduates have become successful producers, among them Sir Cameron Mackintosh and David Jubb. Students will undertake masterclasses in producing with key industry leaders and innovators, and take an active role in the organisation of events, productions and projects, underpinned by a solid understanding of the cultural industries, creative producing, and theory and research in the field.
Creative producers work with artists to create performances and festivals, run venues and companies, manage projects, raise funds and investment, and negotiate commissions. While learning, students will also gain a career head start by building a vital network of industry and peer contacts.
These courses are for those with existing theatre or art practice, who wish to develop relevant knowledge and expertise, creative entrepreneurial and project management skills.
Both the MA and MFA have been developed in consultation with leading industry partners to provide a vocational course where students can apply their learning through a diverse range of practical projects. Central is involved in many external collaborative projects, so in addition to its own production activity and commercial theatre connections, its pioneering work in the circus and site-specific theatre means excellent connections to a wide range of alternative theatre forms. Embracing the challenges of creating a sustainable business is a core part of the course and Central is proud to have been recognised by the prestigious London Chamber of Commerce’s Commercial Education Trust (CET) for its entrepreneurial activity.
In the first year of the MFA, students will join MA colleagues for most of the year, undertaking professional creative producing projects in areas such as:
- Publicity, fundraising, social media strategies
- Business modelling and innovation
- Audience development and engagement
- Theatre production and tour management
- Festival curation and organisation.
The MFA extends into the second year that engages with further specialist subject skills. Students are offered extended and sustained experience in the field, working closely with members of the related industry to establish themselves as professional practitioners. Students are encouraged to specialise in one or more directions building on the learning of the first year. The MFA second year widens the opportunities to practice knowledge within a context and framework where pertinent questions can be asked, protocols tested and new structures suggested. Students will be expected to undertake tutorials and occasional seminars, although these may be via Skype or virtual seminar facilities.
Central has selected assessment formats to reflect the needs of both industry and academia, e.g. individual and group pitches to industry panels, business plans, online presentations, conference presentations, productions, case studies, reflective essays, reports, reviews and written submissions, and a personal portfolio or dissertation.
MFA students will articulate and reflect upon their development as a professional in a substantive portfolio, that normally includes a minimum of two case studies, a two-year personal development plan and an evaluation of the work-based learning or attachment experience.
This course links with leading international arts organisations include the London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT), Prague Quadrennial, Roundhouse, Battersea Arts Centre, Hampstead Theatre and Arts Admin and it shares good practice internationally with Amsterdam Theatre school, Utrecht Theatre Faculty and Theatre Faculty Prague, as well as working closely with Stage One, the registered charity working with the commercial theatre industry to develop new theatre producers.
Recently students have undertaken to produce roles at the Southbank Centre, LIFT, Secret Cinema, Brighton Festival, Headlong, English National Opera, Emergency Exit Arts, Royal Opera House, Paines Plough, Roundhouse, Camden People’s Theatre, Secret Garden Party, Block 9 Glastonbury, Kate Morley PR, Mobius Industries, Soho Theatre and many independent and commercial producers.
Students’ work on the course means that new industry links are constantly being forged, e.g. Central’s first CET award winner, who graduated in 2014 and created a new digital festival in the Titanic Centre Belfast in May 2015.
Recent Visiting Staff
Sunita Pandya (Deputy Director of Producing and Presentation, Southbank Centre), Julius Green (Author, West End Producer), James Seabright (Author and West End Producer), Helen Marriage (Artichoke), Kate McGrath (Fuel), Farooq Chaudhry (Akram Khan Company), Tim Jones (Tim Jones Consultancy), James Bierman (Producer Michael Grandage Company), Jamie Hendry (Jamie Hendry Productions and West End Producer), Steve King (Social Business), Simon Stephens (Writer), Jo Danvers (Donmar Warehouse), Marcus Davey (CEO, Roundhouse), Katie Harper (SOLT/Stage One), Eva Liparova, Maria Ana Botelho-Neves (Social Entrepreneur), Paul Tyrer (The Booking Office), Neil Adleman (Theatre Lawyer/Partner, Harbottle and Lewis), Greg Ripley-Duggan (Producer and CEO, Ripley-Duggan Partnership), Professor Giep Hagoort (Utrecht School of the Arts) Simon Kavanagh (Kaospilots), Sarah Nicholson (Executive Director, Orange Tree), David Edmunds (DepArts).
Entry Requirements and Admissions
You should normally have an undergraduate degree in a relevant field, (drama, theatre or performance studies, for example, but other areas such as economics, politics or business studies are also relevant); applications from students of other disciplines will be considered. All applicants will be expected to have had practical experience in theatre-related areas and/or arts management. Applications for the accreditation of prior experience in lieu of academic entry qualification will also be considered where appropriate. An offer will normally only be made after interview/audition.
An MFA top-up year for those with an existing MA or PGDip in this subject is also available.
English Language Requirements
Applicants for whom English is not their first language are required to prove their English language proficiency by gaining an overall score of 7.0 in an IELTS test. We do accept equivalent English language qualifications. Applicants are advised to gain this certification as early as possible.
Interviews in London
If you are selected for an interview for a place on the Creative Producing, MA/MFA course, you can expect the following:
Applicants will usually be seen as part of a group for a three-hour session. You will remain together for much of the time and will have a chance to learn more about the course and ask questions. You will find the day quite relaxed, informal, and hopefully enjoyable.
During the morning, either in a workshop or in an interview, we will want you to think about how you would approach staging one of Aesop's Fables. These Fables exist in a number of languages and translations, and you may wish to make use of any of these. As a guide, we refer you to Mercury and the Woodman, The Wolf and the Lamb, and The Fox and the Crow. You are free to use any adaptation of these texts and in relation to this task, we ask you to:
- bring images of a non-theatre space that you could imagine staging your take on the production;
- decide upon one UK venue and one international venue of your choice.
You will have an opportunity to make a short presentation, demonstrating your current skills and experience, and suitability for the course. For this part of the interview you should prepare the following:
- a portfolio presentation of about three minutes concentrating mainly on one example of your previous work;
- influences on your practice, both artistic and entrepreneurial;
- you may also bring with you an edited portfolio of your previous work, for discussion, where you feel this is appropriate.
You should wear (or bring with you) comfortable clothing suitable for active work, and leave the day clear of other commitments.
The interview process will also give you an opportunity to find out more about the course and the School.
Each year Central hosts a number of interviews outside of the UK, with a team of tutors from Central travelling to meet applicants. The international interviews are designed to replicate the London-based interview experience in every aspect (other than a tour of our site!). See our Event Finder for listings of upcoming interview locations and dates.
Central does allow applicants to undertake a distance interview for this course. If you live abroad and are unable to attend an interview in person you may, at the discretion of the Admissions Tutor, be offered the opportunity of a distance interview. If you are selected for interview in this manner you will be contacted (normally by email) in order to arrange a suitable time for an interview. This will be conducted on Skype, telephone or by ‘live’ email exchange and will normally be based upon the material you will have been asked to submit in advance. The interview will be conducted by the Admissions Tutor in liaison with a colleague who will have sight of your submitted materials.
Visit the International Students section to view details of English language requirements for Central's courses.
Graduate employment and career pathways include:
Commissions and professional posts at the Royal Opera House, The Old Vic, Finborough Theatre, Farnham Maltings, Paines Plough, Chats Palace, High Tide Festival, Garage Arts Centre, Norwich.
Establishing production companies including two Stage One Bursary Winners; Crow and Elk productions (2013), and Robert Bradish Productions (2014).
Produced for companies, e.g. Engineer, Rhum and Clay, Forked Path or with artists, e.g. Yve Blake.
Management of new venues, e.g. StoneNest in London’s West End.
Robert F. Brandish
Graduated 2013, winner of Stage One Bursary in 2014, Independent Producer and Development Director for Orchestra Vitae.
“Anyone with a notepad, pen and calculator can probably be a producer. However, the MA Creative Producing course provides the time and space to develop a unique producing identity through research and practice. It facilitates collaboration and relationship building; I met renowned industry professionals at the forefront of the field, and equally important, developed relationships with my creative producing peers. Ultimately, without my MA in Creative Producing, I would be just another person with a notepad, pen and calculator.”