MA Directing

MA Directing is a new four year integrated Masters course which equips you with the artistic and technical skills suitable for work or for further training in theatre, film, television and radio. Working closely with BA Acting, the course gives you a deep understanding of the acting process and a common language with performers. In the latter stages of the course you will experiment and express your voice in an increasingly challenging and diverse set of contexts across different media and gain valuable experience from professional placements.

This course is part of the Drama & Performance Programme.


BA Directing Main slider image, students with camera
Image: Mark Duffield

5 great reasons to apply

You will benefit from conservatoire training in directing with Drama Centre’s distinctive approach, exploring the Stanislavsky system, German Expressionism and the legacy of Rudolf Laban

You will engage in a range of collaborations with acting, writing and design students across Drama Centre and the Drama and Performance Programme.

You will work both collaboratively and independently. Working alongside actors as part of an ensemble you will learn the importance of your creative contribution to the collective endeavour.

MA Directing is taught and mentored by highly experienced tutors who have strong and active links to the professions enabling you to benefit from their expertise and provide you with high quality professional placements during your studies.

An impressive number of world-famous directors and performers have emerged from courses at the Drama Centre London including Adrian Noble, Michael Fassbender, Simon Callow, Colin Firth, Tara Fitzgerald, Anne-Marie Duff, Russell Brand, Tom Hardy and many more


Course Leader

Anthony Clark

Course Location

King's Cross, London. Tel: +44 (0)20 7514 7023

Study LevelUndergraduate
Study ModeFull time
Course Length4 years full time
Home/EU Fee

Tuition fees for 2016/17: £9,000 per year. Please note that fees for the 2nd and any subsequent years are subject to inflationary increase.

International Fee

2016/17: £17,230 per year.

Please note that fees are subject to inflationary increase.

Start DateMonday 25 September 2017
Autumn Term DatesMonday 25 September 2017 – Friday 8 December 2017
Spring Term DatesMonday 8 January 2018 – Friday 16 March 2018
Summer Term DatesMonday 16 April 2018 – Friday 22 June 2018
Application Route


UCAS CodeW420
University CodeU65

Content and Structure

Highly vocational and intensive, MA Directing at Drama Centre London prepares you for direct entry to the directing profession while laying the foundations for a successful career in directing across different media.

Distinctive features of this Integrated Masters course include:

  • Intensive career focus as a professional director and a highly regarded mentoring scheme
  • Close links with the acting course at the Drama Centre London and collaboration with student designers, filmmakers and others from within Central Saint Martins and the University of the Arts London
  • Strong contacts with the profession, including regular visits by distinguished practitioners either as lecturers, visiting professors or directors
  • Extensive placements with theatre, film and television companies
  • A methodological approach based on the work and achievements of leading artists and teachers from 20th century European and American theatre
  • A balanced approach to repertoire, covering the classics and contemporary theatre and with a strong emphasis on the screen
  • Options for specialising in directing for either theatre or the recorded media based on a common foundation in acting
  • An option to graduate with a BA Honours degree after three years

MA Directing runs for 144 weeks full time over four years, and is divided into four Levels, (or Stages) each lasting 36 weeks (30 weeks of study and 6 of production/performance in the first three years). The whole course is credit-rated at 480 credits, with 120 credits at each Level (Stage).

Under the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications the Levels for an Integrated Masters are: Level 4 (which is stage 1 of the course), Level 5 (Stage 2), Level 6 (Stage 3) and Level 7 (Stage 4).

There is a progression point at the end of each Level and in order to progress, all units of the preceding Level must normally be passed.

The awards of Cert HE following successful completion of Year 1 and DipHE at Year 2 are normally offered if a student is unable to continue on the course. Students will be able to exit with an award of BA (Honours) following successful completion of Year 3 if unable to continue on the course. However, it is expected that students will continue through to the final Masters award.

To gain a BA (Honours) the student must successfully complete 360 credits, including 60 Level 6 credits and 60 Level 7 credits. The final award is comprised of the weighted marks from Level 6 and Level 7 credits achieved during the third year of the course.

To gain an MA the student must successfully complete an additional 120 credits. The final award is comprised of marks from Level 7 units only, weighted according to their credits.

Course outline

The course is structured as an organic process of development over four years. Each stage of the course is an essential part of this process and is a necessary preparation for each subsequent stage. All elements are therefore compulsory.

You will be required to study the core disciplines of acting, directing and rehearsal techniques to develop your own approach to directing. Many of the activities in these disciplines are concerned with ‘finding your voice as a director’. In practical exercises, in theoretical seminars, in workshops and rehearsals, you are engaged in a constant dialogue between your personal view of the creative process and inherited tradition. At first, the weight of tradition may seem burdensome - you will gradually learn to appreciate its lessons whilst striving to maintain your originality against its backdrop. 

It will be helpful to think of the Course as having a spiral structure. At the start of Stage One you begin to work through a series of relatively straightforward exercises and tasks. As the Course progresses you will find yourself regularly revisiting and returning to these; but each time you return you will be encouraged to reach progressively deeper levels of the work, which will challenge you more and more and make still greater demands on you. In this way your learning experience within the Course accumulates, gradually and steadily. You will also become increasingly able to critically and creatively reflect upon what you are doing and why you are doing it. This will enable you to analyse your work and what you are learning in more depth, so that you can confront and challenge it.

Course work upholds a methodological approach to acting while developing your ability to work as part of an ensemble.

The methodological approach is derived from the work and achievements of outstanding artists and teachers in the European and American theatre of the twentieth century. These include Konstantin Stanislavsky, Uta Hagen and Herbert Berghof, Yevgeny Vakhtangov, Bertolt Brecht, Joan Littlewood, Rudolf Laban and Yat Malmgren.

The core technical disciplines (acting, voice, body) require a process of progressive and systematic development over three years. Many of the activities associated with these disciplines, such as regular classes and daily warm-ups, are about 'tuning the instrument'. Imaginative, analytical and critical faculties call for similarly careful and progressive development.

At the heart of MA Directing is performance, a complex process of decision making and problem solving that calls for an interaction between conscious and unconscious activity, intuition and skill. All course teaching and learning activities culminate in rehearsal exercises, film shoots or plays, which are given before internal or public audiences.


Course Leader: Anthony Clark

BA Acting Course Leader: 

Associate Lecturer, Radio Directing:David Angus
Associate Lecturer, Acting: John Beschizza
Associate Lecturer, Text and Voice: Alex Bingley
Associate Lecturer, Acting and Directing for Camera: Bill Britten
Associate Lecturer, Contextual Studies: Nigel Gearing
Associate Lecturer, Acting/Year Tutor: Oleg Mirochnikov
Associate Lecturer, Movement: Liana Nyquist
Associate Lecturer, Character Analysis: Tim Robins
Associate Lecturer, Film Production: Virginia Roncoroni
Associate Lecturer, Ballet: Glen Snowden
Associate Lecturer, Visual AwarenessDylan Stone
Associate Lecturer, Acting and Directing: Annie Tyson
Associate Lecturer, Sound Creation: John White
Associate Lecturer, Voice: Emma Woodvine

Visiting Professional: Piers Haggard 
Visiting Professional: Philip Hedley 
Visiting Professional: Tim Klotz
Visiting Professional: Julie Lambden
Visiting Professional: Adrian Noble
Visiting Professional: Ben Ormerod
Visiting Professional: David Parfitt 
Visiting Professional: Sue Parrish 
Visiting Professional: Aoife Smyth 
Visiting Professional: Barbara Stone 
Visiting Professional: Agnes Treplin 
Visiting Professional: Matthew Warchus


Developing your skills

MA Directing focuses on directing for both the theatre and recorded media (film, television and radio). It provides an in-depth study of the art of the actor so that future directors will have an organic understanding of the acting process and a common language with performers. Initially the directing course is integrated with MA Acting at Drama Centre London, but subsequently students focus more specifically on subjects related to directing.

MA Directing offers you developing opportunities to work with actors:

  • in the first place, by acting alongside them and observing actors at work
  • at more advanced stages, through undertaking increasingly complex assistant director functions
  • finally, by directing fellow students in a number of projects.

These three 'pillars' of the degree course - a 'physical' approach; empathy with actors; analytical skills - are designed to empower you to be a useful director, a conduit for the author's intentions by means of the actor.

You'll also have the opportunity to collaborate with designers, musical directors and choreographers, fight directors, editors and sound engineers. In the latter stages of the course you have two opportunities for placements with a variety of theatre and television companies in London and beyond, during which you may observe not only artistic work, but also aspects of technical production, management, publicity, marketing and outreach.

In recent years placement opportunities (on BA Directing) were offered, amongst others, by:

  • The Maly Theatre, St. Petersburg
  • Jim Neason at the Irondale Theatre Company, New York
  • Colin Chambers and the Royal Shakespeare Company on Tynan
  • Declan Donnellan at the Royal National Theatre, the RSC and for Cheek by Jowl
  • Peter Gill on The Voysey Inheritance at the Royal National Theatre
  • Joanna Hogg on the film Unrelated in Italy
  • Miklos Jancso on the film Dear Julia in Hungary
  • Nancy Meckler and Polly Teale at Shared Experience
  • Theatre Royal, Stratford East
  • Di Trevis at Watford Theatre and for Quantum Theatre Company in Pittsburgh
  • Betty TV
  • Arcola Theatre, London
  • Soho Theatre

Future careers

MA Directing aims to deepen your awareness of the profession in all its aspects, including the risks and uncertainties associated with the directing life. In addition to your education and training as an director, we offer education and training for life and work through our personal and professional development programmes.

Many ex-students of Drama Centre London have become successful actors and directors, or have become professionally involved in the wider creative worlds of theatre and the recorded media.

Graduates of the Directing Course at Drama Centre London include artistic Directors of the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatres of Greece, Iran, Israel and Portugal, as well as distinguished freelance directors in theatre, film and television. More recently, graduates of the BA Directing course went on to work for leading companies soon after graduation, including:

  • The Arcola Theatre, London and the Trafalgar Studios (West End)
  • The National Theatre Studio
  • The Burgtheater, Vienna
  • Cheek by Jowl Theatre Company
  • The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield

Entry Requirements

An applicant will be considered for admission who has already achieved an educational level equivalent to passes in two subjects at GCE Advanced Level, supported by passes in three other subjects at GCSE Grade C or above.

This educational level may be demonstrated by:

  • possession of the qualifications named above;
  • possession of equivalent qualifications;
  • prior experiential learning, the outcome of which can be demonstrated to be equivalent to the formal qualifications otherwise required
  • a combination of formal qualifications and experiential learning which taken together can be demonstrated to be equivalent to the formal qualifications otherwise required.

For candidates whose first language is not English a certificate attesting to achievement of IELTS 7.5 or equivalent is required.

This course requires an interview

Entry to MA Directing is highly competitive. Selection to the course is determined by the quality of the application: this is indicated primarily in the quality of your interview and practical work.

  • Foundation Diploma in Performance (Level 3 or 4)
  • A pass in 1 GCE A level
  • Passes at GCSE level in 3 other subjects (grade C or above)


  • Passes in 2 GCE A Levels (80 UCAS tariff points normally including one single award)
  • Passes at GCSE level in 3 other subjects (grade C or above)

This educational level may be demonstrated by possession of equivalent qualifications; e.g. International Baccalaureat or High School Diploma.

Applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered if the course team judges the application demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might be demonstrated by, for example: related academic or work experience; the quality of the personal statement; a strong academic or other professional reference; or a combination of these factors.

English language requirements

All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language you will be asked to provide evidence of your English language ability in order to apply for a visa, enrol, and start your course. The standard English language requirement for entry is IELTS 7.5 with a minimum of 6.5 in any one paper, or equivalent. For further information visit the English Language requirements page.

Applicants who will need a Tier 4 General Student Visa should check the Visa and Immigration page which provides important information about UK Border Agency (UKBA) requirements.

What we look for

The Course is open equally to recent school leavers (who may have spent a year or more working, preferably in a theatre/media context) and to mature entrants with life and work experience, preferably in a performance-related context.  The course welcomes applications from mature candidates as well as those from ethnic and social groups currently under-represented in Higher Education in general and the directing profession in particular.

We're looking for potential student directors who are committed, imaginative, curious and resilient, with respect for actors and a passion for directing, and a serious approach to the art of directing in the classical tradition and for the screen. We're looking for people who are not afraid to take creative risks, who respond to stimuli and who are excited by the idea of being in an ensemble, working generously and openly with others.

Student Selection Process 

1: all applicants must submit an application form including a CV and personal statement;

2: on the strength of their CV and personal statement applicants will be shortlisted for interview.

3: Some applicants will then be recalled for a second interview and a practical directing exercise with student actors. They may also be asked to submit a portfolio of their work. 

4: You will be offered a place on the basis of how well you meet the selection criteria.

Criteria for Selection 

Your Application Form should reveal:

  • Your keen interest in theatre and/or film from CV and personal statement
  • Your understanding of the role of the theatre and/or film director
  • Your grasp of the training opportunities as outlined in the Drama Centre Course Book

 Your First Interview should reveal:

  • Your ability to respond to a particular classical text (set in advance)
  • Your ability to present yourself with confidence
  • Your ability to express your ideas clearly
  • Your engagement with the role of the director
  • Your enthusiasm for the course
  • Some knowledge of the world of theatre and/or screen
  • Your  understanding of the role of the theatre director
  • How well you grasp the training opportunities as outlined in the Drama Centre Course Book
  • Your future ambition

 Your Second Interview/Workhop should reveal

  • Your ability to respond to a particular directing task ( a contemporary, naturalistic  text set in advance)
  • Your ability to engage with actors
  • Your ability to analyse and interpret a piece of dramatic text
  • Your visual imagination

 Interview and directing advice

  • At both interviews you will be interviewed by not less than two people and a maximum of four.
  • You will be assessed on how well you have performed in the tasks set.

The interviews, will last 20-30 minutes, You should arrive in good time for your interview and should be free within about an hour of your allocated time. Refreshments can be found in the canteen or within walking distance at a range of shops, takeaways and cafes.



Home / EU applicants

Apply to MA Directing through the University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). From the UCAS home page go to 'Apply', where you'll be able to register and create a password that gives you unique access as you complete your application form.

The University UCAS code is UAL. The University code is U65. The course code is W420.

International applicants

If you are from outside the European Union, you have two options to apply for undergraduate courses:

  • Apply through UCAS
  • Apply directly to Central Saint Martins: Download the CSM International undergraduate application form [PDF, 0.5mb]  Choose this option if you are only applying to undergraduate courses at UAL. Send your application to the International Office, MA Directing, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, Granary Building, 1 Granary Square, London N1C 4AA.

Visit the undergraduate application page for full details of these options.

Study Abroad

For information on applying to Study Abroad please visit the Study Abroad section.

We're here to help

Our website includes all the information you need to successfully apply. However, if you still have unanswered questions about the admissions process, please use our course enquiry form.

The University has a dedicated team to help prepare you for your studies. For help on visa requirements, housing, tuition fees and language requirements visit the University's International section.

The Language Centre offers international students quality language training from qualified and experienced teachers. The Pre-sessional Academic English Programme is available to all international (non-EU) students who have been offered a place on a full time course at the University of the Arts. For further information visit the Language Centre website.

Deferred entry

Entry can only be deferred in exceptional circumstances. Please contact us before submitting your application if you’re considering applying for deferred entry.

What happens next?

Once UCAS has forwarded your application form to Drama Centre London you'll be sent an interview pack including instructions on how to book and pay for your interview online. The non-refundable interview fee is £50.00. Interviews normally take place between December and June. Drama Centre London seeks to audition and interview all applicants. We recommend you choose an early interview date. For more details about our interview procedure visit the auditions and interviews page.

Please bring a passport size photo of yourself for us to add to your application details and give it to the Interview Panel when you go in for your interview. You can also bring your CV if you wish to add to the data already entered, but you don't have to.

Candidates will be invited to attend a selection process that will consist of:

Stage 1 (Interview)

You begin with a 20-minute interview covering aspects of a specific play.

A recall system is used thereafter.

Please note that the recall stage may take place on a different day. Once you have completed Stage 1, the admissions office will write to you indicating whether you have been recalled or not.

Stage 2 (Recall)

If you're recalled, you'll be given a short scene from a second play as a directing exercise. After a short period of private preparation, you'll work for 15 minutes with two acting students, who'll be familiar with the scene. The panel will observe you while you direct the students. They will not expect a finished piece of theatre. This will be followed by a further interview, including what you hope to achieve by undertaking this course of study, and a detailed discussion on a piece of theatre and a film you’ve seen in the last month.

In assessing your suitability for MA Directing the admissions panels will give equal weight to your interview and your directing workshop taking into account the following criteria:

  • Imagination - visual sense; sensuous engagement with the material; analytical ability
  • Story telling - visual means; textual stresses; placement ('blocking'); build-up and resolution of tension
  • Spirit of enquiry - intellectual alertness; knowledge and experience of theatre/ film; awareness of the demands of the professional

Selection is made by a minimum of two members of staff and offers of places are based on our selection criteria as described. We keep notes about decisions made following the interview process.

Receiving results of your application

  • If you applied through UCAS the result of your application will be communicated to you via UCAS track.
  • If you made a direct application, the result will be emailed or sent by post.

Enquire about this course

If you haven’t found the information you’re looking for or want to ask us a question about this course, please fill out our enquiry form.

Make an enquiry