Theatre Studies Q+A for postgraduate applicants

This is the abridged transcript of the Live Q&A for postgraduate Theatre Studies applicants (20 June 2018). The discussion was moderated by two Senior Lecturers from Theatre Studies: Dr Vicky Price and Dr Simon Murray.

Dr Vicky Price: Hi everyone! Thank you for joining us for the Theatre Studies web chat. My name is Vicky Price and I'm the convenor of the MLitt Playwriting & Dramaturgy programme and the MLitt Theatre Studies programme, and would be happy to answer any questions you might have about our Masters programmes.

Dr Simon Murray: Hello. I'm Simon Murray and I welcome any questions you may have on the MLitt in Theatre and Performance Practices.

Reading lists and contact time

Student: Hello all! Is it too early to ask about reading lists and contact time?

Dr Simon Murray: You will be getting full information in a month or so to prepare you for joining us, and you will receive some advance reading then. Courses tend to be in 3-hour blocks and will include seminars, lectures, laboratories, and workshops. On top of this, you will have tutorials with tutors and will present work in progress to them as individual students or in groups. Typically, you will be doing 4 or 5 20 credits courses and a 60-credit dissertation where you work with a supervisor.

Work placements

Student: I am going to be attending the MLitt Theatre Studies in September and was wondering about the different types of work placements that could be available and when they will be taking place within the academic year?

Dr Vicky Price: For the MLitt Theatre Studies, you would work closely with the placement convenor to talk about what area of theatre practice you are interested in and what sort of placement you would like to undertake. We currently have students undertaking placements with National Theatre of Scotland, the Citizens Theatre, the Tron Theatre, Short Attention Span Theatre, and the Traverse theatre, to name just a few. It might be that you're interested, for example, in undertaking a placement in the area of assistant directing, or festival management, or a more dramaturgical placement.

The placements take place at different times in the year depending on the project with the placement host - the majority of placements, though, take place over the Easter period or during the second semester or Summer period.

External theatre companies

Student: Will the students have some opportunities to practice outside school, like in some theatre companies which has membership with Glasgow?

Dr Simon Murray: You will make work which, at different stages of the year, will be performed to fellow students and sometimes with guests and the general public. A work placement allows to join a company or organisation and shadow different people. Normally you would not perform with such companies. We have very strong links with all the Glasgow theatre companies and one course, Shaping Futures, asks to make a presentation and an imaginary bid to one of three companies.


Student: Are there any scholarships still available?

Dr Vicky Price: I'm afraid the deadline for our SFC funded places has now passed. But it's definitely worth keeping an eye on the University's scholarships page to see what other opportunities may come up and to explore different funding streams which you may be eligible to apply for.

Differences between programmes

Student: What is the big difference between the Theatre Studies and the Playwriting & Dramaturgy programmes? I am with the Dramaturgy programme and also would we be working with the Theatre Studies students?

Dr Vicky Price: The MLitt Theatre Studies programme is made up largely of optional courses which means that you can tailor the programme to your individual needs and interests. You would take two core courses for this programme - Research Methods and the dissertation/Individual Research Project. You would select five optional courses from a pool of elective courses. The MLitt Playwriting & Dramaturgy is very different in that it is a little more fixed and focuses specifically on supporting you in developing your script writing and on the history and practice of dramaturgy. Both programmes are really great and have lots of opportunities to work closely with practitioners and include the opportunity to undertake a placement.

Workshops and seminars

Student: What kinds of workshops and seminars will the students take? I am very interested in puppetry, visual media, and physical theatre.

Dr Simon Murray: In the Contemporary Devising course, you will do various workshops around devising using your own bodies as a source of theatre language, objects, written material, voice and musical instruments (if students can play any). In the Independent Practice course, you will do a weekend devising workshop with the course tutor, Graham Eatough. How many workshops you take will depend on the courses you chose. For much of the Theatre & Performance Practices your work is - obviously - practice based.

Overlap between programmes

Student: Is there much course interaction/overlap between [the Theatre Studies and the Playwriting & Dramaturgy programmes]?

Dr Vicky Price: Yes, there are lots of opportunities for students on the three different programmes to interact. You will all take the Research Methods course in the first semester, and several of the other courses (e.g. Contemporary Devising Practices and Debating Dramaturgy 2) are shared between the programmes too. Additionally, we often hold workshops with guest practitioners which students from the three Masters programmes can sign up for, and we hold a regular research seminar series for all our PG students which involves a guest scholar and/or practitioner talking about their current project, often followed by a chat.

Specialising in playwriting or dramaturgy

Student: At which point would it/should it be apparent which strand someone *should* pursue?

Dr Vicky Price: In terms of the strands, do you mean at what point you choose to specialise in either playwriting or dramaturgy? If so, I can confirm that you can tailor the programme to explore both playwriting and dramaturgy. You will be asked at the end of the second semester whether you wish to choose either the placement course or the Playwriting 2 course in terms of your course selection for semester 2. And you can use the Independent Research Project (dissertation) as an opportunity to select an area that you're particularly wanting to focus on/develop further - for example, you might decide to do a practice-as-research dissertation in which you could write another play and accompany this with a critical reflection on the practice work.

Number of students and class sizes

Student: How many students will take this course in the academic year of 2018-2019?

Dr Simon Murray: Difficult to know at this stage. This year we had 17 and I think [next] year it will be slightly less (because of Brexit) and probably between 10 and 15. In some courses you will double up with students from Playwriting and Dramaturgy - e.g. Research Methods and Debating Dramaturgy Two - in which case there will be between 20 and 30.

Student: May I ask about course and department numbers and what formal collaboration opportunities there may be? I'm looking forward to meeting people.

Dr Vicky Price: We typically have between 12-16 students on the MLitt Playwriting and Dramaturgy programme. In terms of collaboration opportunities, do you mean with peers? If so, there are different opportunities throughout the programme to work collaboratively with fellow students in many of the individual courses - e.g. Contemporary Devising Practices and Debating Dramaturgy 2. It's also possible to undertake a collaborative project as part of your Individual Research Project. There are also lots of opportunities to collaborate on extra-curricular practice projects too - for example, in the School of Culture & Creative Arts we have a Creative Practices Fund for PGT students.

Student: How many students are in the Theatre Studies MLitt programme? How large should we expect our class size to be?

Dr Simon Murray: For MLitt Theatre Studies cohort there are normally between 6-8 students, but you will be joining up with other students on the courses you chose and so this all depends on the nature of the course. Practice based courses are normally capped around 16, whilst more academic or theoretical ones may have between 10 and 30. It all depends and it’s difficult to predict accurately now.


Student: How often will we have a performance on the stage during the year?

Dr Simon Murray: Again, depends on which optional course you chose. But typically, between 5 or 6 performances to an audience across the year. 

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