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Central Saint Martins

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MA Directing

Start date
September 2019
Course length
4 years full time
UCAS code

Applications closed 2019/20
Applications for 2019/20 entry to this course have now closed. Visit the ‘Courses with places available’ page for a full list of UAL courses that are open for application.

A Drama Centre course at Central Saint Martins. Unique in this country, MA Directing is a four year integrated Masters course.

Embedded within a comprehensive Performance Programme, and working alongside CSM’s highly prestigious BA and MA Acting Courses, it will equip you with the artistic and technical skills to work in a range of different dramatic media including, theatre, film, television, and radio.

This course is part of the Performance Programme.

Great reasons to apply

  • MA Directing is taught by experienced tutors who have strong and active links to the creative industries.
  • You will engage in a range of collaborations with acting, writing and design students.
  • You will be supported to find two quality professional placements.
  • Your training will be informed by influential methodologies including the distinctive approach to the Stanislavsky system that was developed originally by Drama Centre London
  • An impressive number of graduates are working in the theatre and film industries, both in Britain and internationally.

Open days

More information

Drama Centre London

Course overview

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.

Course units

In Year One as well as taking specialised classes in Directing theory and practice you will learn the essential skills of the actor through a series of practical classes in acting, voice, movement, movement psychology and ballet. You are expected to show the same level of engagement and commitment as your acting colleagues.

You will study the work of particular practitioners, as well as plays and performances in their historical and cultural context. You will always be encouraged to assess this work through the prism of your own time.

In Year Two you will examine the role of the director as an author, and concentrate on the structures that sustain storytelling and not narrative performance. You will continue participate in practical classes in acting and movement psychology. You will begin to explore the relationships and collaborations directors have with other artists such as designers, and composers. This work will advance your understanding of the director as a collaborative practitioner who must respond to as well as inspire their creative partners. You are introduced to the disciplines of acting and directing for the camera and begin to acquire practical skills in relation to film and television production.  You will also undertake your first assistant directorship and professional placement.

In Year Three you develop your interpretative skills and control of your creative resources, through rehearsal exercises, radio drama recordings and film shoots. You will continue to study plays and performance in specific context and to write critically about the work that you are seeing in theatre and film. You will be supported in the writing of an adaptation for the stage of approximately 45 minutes. This process will advance your skills in dramatic writing as well as providing an excellent opportunity to explore questions of structure and form in relation to adaptation for the stage.  You will produce and present your own production in the Studio Theatre and Assist on a Graduation Show.

In Year Four you will advance your thinking and practice through a series of complex academic and artistic challenges. You will develop key skills for the producing of your work including training in fundraising and marketing. You will also be mentored in the practice of directing within educational contexts, a key source of employment for early career directors. You will begin the complex journey of taking the skills you have learned and experimenting with their application to refine your own voice as a director. you are prepared for professional life.

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.


David  Angus

David Angus

Lecturer in Radio Drama, Performance; Lecturer in Recorded Voice, BA Acting

Alex  Bingley

Alex Bingley

Lecturer in Voice, Drama and Performance

Course Leader: Anthony Clark
Associate Lecturer, Acting and Directing: Aoife Smythe
Associate Lecturer, Contextual Studies: Tamsin Stanley
Associate Lecturer, Film Direction and Production: Michael Bray
Associate Lecturer, Radio: David Angus
Associate Lecturer, Visual Awareness: Dylan Stone
Associate Lecturer, Analysis: Ben Askew
Associate Lecturer, Character Analysis: Mathew Wernham
Associate Lecturer, Acting/Year Tutor: David JacksonOleg Mirochnikov
Associate Lecturer, Movement: Liana Norton, Glenn Snowden 
Associate Lecturer, Voice: Janis Price, Jonathan Dawes, Alex Bingley
Associate Lecturer, Sound Creation: John White

How to apply

Opportunities for all

We are committed to making university education an achievable option for a wider range of people and to supporting all of our students in achieving their potential both during and after their courses.

We welcome applications from people with disabilities. If you have a disability (e.g. mobility difficulties, sensory impairments, medical or mental health conditions or Asperger’s syndrome) we strongly encourage you to contact us on or +44 (0)20 7514 6156 so that we can plan the right support for you. All enquiries are treated confidentially. To find out more, visit our Disability & Dyslexia webpages.

Entry requirements

The standard entry requirements for this course are as follows:

One or a combination of the following accepted full level 3 qualifications:

*          2 A Levels at grades C or above

*          Pass in Foundation Diploma in Performance (Level 3 or 4) and 1 A Level at grade C or above

*          Access to Higher Education Diploma

*          Or equivalent EU/International qualifications, such as International Baccalaureate Diploma

And three GCSE passes at grade 4 or above (grade A*-C).

Entry to this course will also be determined by interview and practical work.

English Language Requirements

IELTS level 7.5 or above, with at least 6.5 in reading, writing, listening and speaking (please check our main English Language requirements webpage).

APEL - Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning

Exceptionally applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered. The course team will consider each application that demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by:

*          Related academic or work experience

*          The quality of the personal statement

*          A strong academic or other professional reference

*          OR a combination of these factors.

Each application will be considered on its own merit but we cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

Selection criteria

We select applicants according to potential and current ability in the following areas:

  • Expressivity and the ability to communicate articulately
  • Creative engagement with actors and the group
  • Ability to understand and analyse dramatic texts
  • Imagination –visual sense; sensuous engagement with the material
  • Story telling – understanding of narrative devises, character, visual means of expression, textual stresses, build up and resolution of tension
  • Spirit of enquiry – artistic and cultural curiosity and engagement; knowledge of the world of theatre and screen
  • Balance between emotional and intellectual engagement
  • Knowledge of theatre and/or screen
  • Knowledge and experience of the demands and realities of the profession.

What we are looking for

MA Directing 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.

We are 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 are 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.

Making your application

Applications for 2019/20 entry for this course are now closed. Applications for 2020/21 entry will open in Autumn 2019.

For EU applicants concerned about Brexit, please see our dedicated page: Brexit Information for Students.

You should apply though Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) and you will need the following information:

University code:          U65

UCAS Code:                 W420

We do not consider applications for Year 2, 3 and 4 Entry for this course.

Central Saint Martins does not accept applications for deferred entry. You should therefore apply in the year you wish to study.

Application deadline

We recommend you apply by 15 January 2019 for equal consideration.  However this course will consider applications after that date, subject to places being available.

Applications for 2019/20 entry for this course are now closed. Applications for 2020/21 entry will open in Autumn 2019.

There are three ways international students can apply to an undergraduate course at Central Saint Martins:

You can only apply to the same course once per year whether you are applying via UCAS, UAL representative or using the UAL online application system. Any duplicate applications will be withdrawn.

For further advice on how to apply please visit the UAL International Application page.

If you are applying via UCAS you will need the following information:

University code:          U65

UCAS Code:                 W420

We do not consider applications for Year 2, 3 and 4 Entry for this course.

Central Saint Martins does not accept applications for deferred entry. You should therefore apply in the year you wish to study.

Application deadline

We recommend you apply by 15 January 2019 for equal consideration. However this course will consider applications after that date, subject to places being available.

Immigration history check

Whether you are applying online via UCAS or through a UAL representative or direct application you will need to complete an immigration history check to establish whether you are eligible to study at UAL.  If you do not complete the check we will not be able to proceed with your application.

After you apply

Communicating with you

After you have successfully submitted your application, you will receive an email confirming we have successfully received your application and providing you with your login details for the UAL Portal.  We will request any additional information from you, including inviting you to upload documents or book an audition, through the portal.  You should check your UAL Portal regularly for any important updates and requests.

What happens next


The interview lasts approximately 20 minutes and will include aspects of a specific play.  You should bring with you to interview a copy of your CV.

If you are successful you will be invited to Recall.  Do note the recall will take place on a different day.


If you are recalled, you will be given a short scene from a second play as a directing exercise. After a short period of private preparation, you will work for 15 minutes with two acting students, who will 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 have 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.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the final outcome of your application through UCAS track.

Fees & Funding

Home/EU fee

£9,250 (2020/21).

Tuition fees for undergraduate degree courses have been set at £9,250 per year for full-time study. This applies from the 2018/19 academic year, subject to changes in the law. Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students, in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Please visit our Undergraduate tuition fees page for more information.

International fee

£22,920 (2020/21).

Additional costs

In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. Please read the information on our additional costs page.


Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.

Scholarship search

Careers and alumni

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.

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
  • The Orange Tree Theatre
  • Finborough Theatre
  • Ivo Van Hove
  • Katie Mitchell

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
  • The Royal Shakespeare Company

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