Drama

Degrees
  • MPhil/PhD Drama
  • MPhil/PhD Performance Practice
  • MA by Research Drama
Degree typesTypes of research degrees explained
DurationDegree duration details
LocationExeter (Streatham)
Study modesFull time and part time Study mode details
Distance-based research is available for the MA by Research in Drama
Start date September, January or April

Research overview

Drama at Exeter is an internationally-renowned centre for practice, research and teaching, and offers a supportive and stimulating environment for postgraduate research and practice, welcoming students from around the world. Academic staff research interests are diverse and include international performer training; contemporary performance practices; theatre for cultural development and social change; British Asian performance; dramaturgy, playwriting and adaptation; site-specific performance; theatre historiography; theatre and wellbeing; activism and political performance; nineteenth century popular culture and performance; physical and dance theatre; street arts; diaspora and transnational theatre; environmental humanities; live art; theatre and sound; voice studies; music as performance; eighteenth-century performance; medical humanities; early modern theatre; gender and theatre-making.

The Drama research webpages provide more comprehensive details about current research projects. Details on individual staff research interests and publications can be found on the Drama staff profiles pages.

Research strengths include:

  • the relationship between theory and practice (praxis) between actor and character
  • the politics of Shakespeare and English drama
  • dramaturgy and writing for performance
  • actor and performer training
  • vocal practice
  • gender and performance
  • ancient Greek performance
  • the theory of performance and interculturalism
  • political and popular theatre
  • applied theatre in the community
  • performance art, new media, and bioart
  • theatre and music / music theatre
  • site-specific and site-sensitive performance
  • auto-performance and autobiography
  • theatre and mental health
  • Eastern European theatre
  • theatre and religion

Staff also support research into theatre direction, acting, and playwriting.

Research centres

Many members of staff and research students are involved with one of the Department's three research centres:

Many Drama staff are also involved with the College's Centre for Intermedia, which promotes advanced transdisciplinary research in performance and the arts through collaborations between artists, academics and scientists from a range of disciplines.

MPhil/PhD Drama

The Department has always insisted on the importance of practice, and interest in research through practice is strongly welcomed. This might include a major interest in theatrical direction, performance, or playwriting associated with written study in the dissertation for drama.

MPhil/PhD Performance Practice

The MPhil/PhD in Performance Practice offers you an opportunity to extend and reflect on your creative performance practice. The area of study is entirely dependent upon your expertise, and could include playwriting, acting, directing, physical theatre, dance theatre, music theatre, or music performance.

The major part of your PhD will be a series of creative projects designed to interrogate the research objectives of your chosen practice. Each creative project will be accompanied by an analytical commentary of normally no more than 10,000 words. Normally, the written commentaries and introductory material for a PhD in Performance Practice extend to 40,000 words.

MA by Research Drama

The Master of Arts by Research in Drama is a research degree that offers you the opportunity to pursue a research project of your choosing. The degree programme is intended both as an award in its own right or as a progression route to a PhD. You will complete an extended dissertation on an area of your particular interest, informed by a critical awareness of the current issues in the discipline, supervised by academic staff. The Masters by Research degree is assessed by a written dissertation of up to 40,000 words.

Examples of PhD thesis titles

Examples of PhD thesis titles researched by Drama students at the University of Exeter.

  • Consciousness and character
  • Re: constructing the natural: a trajectory of Bodies, Landscapes and Technologies
  • Contemporary Acting in Ancient Hellenistic (Greek) Drama
  • Engaging with Theatrical Presence
  • British Asian feminist contemporary plays
  • Authenticity within practice for the playwright-director
  • Theatre as development (Uganda)
  • Audience Immersion: Environment, Interactivity, Narrative in the work of Punchdrunk
  • The traditions and functions of trance possession found in Thai contemporary rituals as a tool for personal and social efficacy
  • Rasa aesthetics and contemporary drama in India and The Diaspora
  • The representation of performance aesthetics in "Xingju" (New Theatre) in post-war Taiwan (1945-1970)
    Performative walking
  • The Discussion of Theatrical Issues within The Modern Western Plays and Its Influence on The Egyptian Drama
  • Oscar Wilde and visual theatre
  • Classroom-based drama
  • Feeling the way towards an embodied understanding of performative play and intention in contemporary dance theatre; What is the role of the performer?
  • 'Encounters with Jacques Derrida and Emmanuel Levinas in the theatre and beyond: an exploration of ethics, structure and subjectivity through the work of Jerzy Grotowski'
  • Applied theatre + domestic violence
  • The process of adapting Shakespeare for performance by small casts in contemporary British theatre
  • A phenonenocogial/existential analysis of 'being in the moment' according to the teaching of Sanford Meisner
  • The theatre of Gunduv Kalic
  • Black theatre in Britain
  • Taking Apart A Radical's Approach:  Charles Marowitz and Shakespearean Adaptation
  • Drama: Small scale touring theatre in the South West region
  • Afro Brazilian rituals as a source for actor training
  • Modernity and tradition in Thai Ukay performance
  • From Hypertext to Performance
  • Drama and urban regeneration
  • Theatre arts and body-consciousness in space in Taiwan
  • Narrative and practice: Interdisciplinary qualitative study of embodied practices
  • Bright to dark consciousness in pyschophysical actor training
  • The performance of heritage
  • Contemporary Italian theatre

Facilities

Why study for a Humanities PhD

Hear from staff and postgraduate research students as they explain what makes Exeter a unique place to study at a postgraduate level. View full size.

The Drama Department at Exeter offers a supportive and stimulating environment for postgraduate research, welcoming students from all parts of the world. The Department is situated in new, attractive buildings on a modern campus, in quiet surroundings which nevertheless are close to the major facilities of a beautiful and friendly city. Whatever your area of study in the wide field of theatre - performance, theory, writing for performance, criticism, analysis, historiography - you will have access to expert specialist supervision and excellent practical resources, and be able to rely upon support and stimulus from fellow students and members of staff. The Department has a lively tradition of research and creative activity, and by choosing to come to Exeter you will contribute to that impressive reputation.

The cultural region of the South West embraces Bristol and Plymouth as well as Exeter; all three cities have professional theatres, arts centres, and music performance venues. Local facilities include the Exeter Northcott Theatre, Phoenix Arts Centre, The Bike Shed and the University itself. The Old Vic Theatre and the Arnolfini in Bristol are nationally famous centres for the arts. Your studies will benefit from the wide range of exciting performances available in the city and in the surrounding region.

We have invested nearly £4 million in our industry standard drama facilities providing a superb environment for learning and research.

This includes eight large studio spaces (six are fully technically equipped and four have sprung floors), three sound recording studios, state-of-the-art computer facilities for lighting and sound design, two digital media suites for the creation of DVD video and audio to document practice, and workshops for set construction, costume and prop-making.

MPhil and PhD students benefit from a 24-hour postgraduate research student computer suite.

Careers

We are committed to ensuring you receive high quality research supervision to maximise your potential and prepare you for a rewarding career.

Postgraduate students have access to the wide range of support offered by our Career Zone. In addition, postgraduate research students can access our Postgraduate Researchers' Programme, which covers a range of topics to help you to succeed during your research degree and to act as a springboard for your research career.

Graduate destinations

Below are some examples of initial employment titles and employers of Drama postgraduates who have studied with us in recent years. Please note that, due to data protection, the job titles and organisations are listed independently and do not necessarily correspond.

Initial Job Titles of Drama Postgraduates
Actor
Assistant Director
Assistant Practitioner
Associate Lecturer in Drama
Drama Facilitator
Educational Assistant
Freelance Arts Practitioner
Freelance Trainer and Applied Dramatist
General Manager
Lecturer
Publishing Trainee
Social Activities Co-Ordinator
Teacher
Initial Employers of Drama Postgraduates
Millennium Forum Theatre
Municipal and Regional Theatre of Veria
Oily Cart
Thammasat University
Theatre Royal
University of Exeter
University of Portsmouth
Volkstheater Wien
Yoda Press

Entry requirements 2018

MPhil/PhD Drama
or MPhil/PhD Performance Practice

Students applying to enter directly into the MPhil/PhD programme would normally be expected to have a Masters degree with Merit or equivalent in Drama, Theatre Practice or a related subject, or other relevant qualifications such as a doctorate in another subject.

If you are an international student, please visit our international equivalency pages to enable you to see if your existing academic qualifications meet our entry requirements.

Applying for MPhil/PhD study

You may wish to read our general advice for PhD applicants, which give tips on how to put together a successful research degree application.

Applicants for research programmes are also advised to visit the College's webpages to check for specific advice. Here you will be able to find out about staff research interests and make preliminary enquiries about supervision. We advise that you do this before applying.

Masters by Research Drama

We usually require you to have a good upper second class degree in Drama, Theatre or a related discipline area.

Requirements for international students

If you are an international student, please visit our international equivalency pages to enable you to see if your existing academic qualifications meet our entry requirements.

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic)

Overall score 7.0 with a minimum score of 6.5 in the writing component and all other sections no less than 6.0.

TOEFL IBT*

Overall score 100 with minimum scores of 25 for writing, 21 for listening, 22 for reading and 23 for speaking.

Pearson Test of English (Academic)

65 with no less than 58 in all communicative skills.

Other accepted tests

Information about other acceptable tests of linguistic ability can be found on our English language requirements page.

Pre-sessional English

Applicants with lower English language test scores may be able to take pre-sessional English at INTO University of Exeter prior to commencing their programme. See our English language requirements page for more information.

Finance: fees and funding

Tuition fees per year 2018/19

  • UK/EU: £4,400 full-time; £2,200 part-time
  • International: £16,400 full-time

Current available funding

Contact us

College of Humanities
Postgraduate Administrator
Phone: +44 (0)1392 725306
Web: Enquire online

Examples of PhD thesis titles

Examples of PhD thesis titles researched by Drama students at the University of Exeter.

  • Consciousness and character
  • Re: constructing the natural: a trajectory of Bodies, Landscapes and Technologies
  • Contemporary Acting in Ancient Hellenistic (Greek) Drama
  • Engaging with Theatrical Presence
  • British Asian feminist contemporary plays
  • Authenticity within practice for the playwright-director
  • Theatre as development (Uganda)
  • Audience Immersion: Environment, Interactivity, Narrative in the work of Punchdrunk
  • The traditions and functions of trance possession found in Thai contemporary rituals as a tool for personal and social efficacy
  • Rasa aesthetics and contemporary drama in India and The Diaspora
  • The representation of performance aesthetics in "Xingju" (New Theatre) in post-war Taiwan (1945-1970)
    Performative walking
  • The Discussion of Theatrical Issues within The Modern Western Plays and Its Influence on The Egyptian Drama
  • Oscar Wilde and visual theatre
  • Classroom-based drama
  • Feeling the way towards an embodied understanding of performative play and intention in contemporary dance theatre; What is the role of the performer?
  • 'Encounters with Jacques Derrida and Emmanuel Levinas in the theatre and beyond: an exploration of ethics, structure and subjectivity through the work of Jerzy Grotowski'
  • Applied theatre + domestic violence
  • The process of adapting Shakespeare for performance by small casts in contemporary British theatre
  • A phenonenocogial/existential analysis of 'being in the moment' according to the teaching of Sanford Meisner
  • The theatre of Gunduv Kalic
  • Black theatre in Britain
  • Taking Apart A Radical's Approach:  Charles Marowitz and Shakespearean Adaptation
  • Drama: Small scale touring theatre in the South West region
  • Afro Brazilian rituals as a source for actor training
  • Modernity and tradition in Thai Ukay performance
  • From Hypertext to Performance
  • Drama and urban regeneration
  • Theatre arts and body-consciousness in space in Taiwan
  • Narrative and practice: Interdisciplinary qualitative study of embodied practices
  • Bright to dark consciousness in pyschophysical actor training
  • The performance of heritage
  • Contemporary Italian theatre