MA Dramaturgy

In collaboration with Leeds Playhouse - Accepting applications for September 2024.

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MA Dramaturgy at Leeds Conservatoire

Our MA in Dramaturgy is delivered in collaboration with Leeds Playhouse, and focuses on the development of new work and individual artistry through collaborative practice.

Students will work closely with the team at Leeds Playhouse, especially the Artistic Planning department and the Furnace Artistic Development programme - to develop their theoretical understanding of theatre making and the role of the dramaturg in practice.

Whether as a practitioner shaping theatre through storytelling, dance or music, or as a dramaturg in a literary department dissecting text, students will be introduced to a multitude of ways of creating new theatre.

Working with leading practitioners from across the North, students will learn the key components of storytelling, character and structure.

‘Dramaturgy’ has several definitions, due to the ever-evolving nature of how theatre is created. Students will explore them all and be encouraged to define it for themselves, leaving this MA not only with a comprehensive understanding of how things have been done, but a vision for how they want to do things in the future.

  • Starts:
  • Duration: 1 Year
  • UCAS Code: W44F
  • Study Mode: Full Time
  • Validated By: University of Hull*

Dramaturgy (49715741657 7B855a4cb5 B)

Course overview

Practical Skills for the Dramaturg

Students will learn the skills and knowledge that is necessary to work professionally as a dramaturg in the theatre industry. These include:

  • Text work, both practical and reflective. This course teaches you the various ways to approach, dissect and shape the building blocks of storytelling (structure, narrative arc and character) so that you can form your own creative practice by breaking the rules and making your own.
  • Seeing a project through from concept to performance in a range of theatrical styles, from script-work to devising to dance-led pieces, working with writers, directors, performers and other creatives.
  • Working with classics, adaptations, translations, contemporary plays and musicals, and (most importantly) new writing from both established and first-time writers to help find and finesse your own craft, process and practice through individual development of their own work.

Access to the Industry - Leeds Playhouse Partnership & Beyond

This course is delivered in collaboration with Leeds Playhouse and offers students an immediate introduction to the industry by working with leading professionals in the field, as well as taking advantage of the richly diverse theatrical community on our doorstep.

Students will work with a broad range of practitioners from literary departments and theatre companies in the development of new work, to experience the various shapes the role of the dramaturg may take whilst still focusing on their own individual area of interest (musicals, plays and dance).

Leeds Conservatoire is proud to partner with companies including Leeds Playhouse, Red Ladder, Opera North and Slung Low.

Collaborative Practice and Performance

Collaboration is an integral part of the ethos at Leeds Conservatoire.

In addition to working practically with artists from Leeds Playhouse and their partners, postgraduate students will also work collaboratively with the postgraduate community at Leeds Conservatoire, to forge creative relationships, create work and develop their craft.  

Dramaturgy students will share core modules with students from the other Theatre MAs, where they generate new work in a collaborative, student-led environment. This encourages students to work in new and interdisciplinary ways where they can find and hone their individual creative voices as artists and practitioners. Throughout the year there will be several opportunities for these developing works to be performed in a range of contexts and environments.

Specialist Facilities

Our campuses include a brand-new building at Playhouse Square, housing state-of-the-art specialist performance facilities. With a panoramic view over the city landscape, right next door to Leeds Playhouse, this £60m development contains bespoke facilities for our theatre courses, including state-of-the-art dance and drama studio spaces and music ensemble rooms.

Leeds is also rich with creative and artistic spaces which are invaluable in offering training which is embedded in the City. As an artist who is interested in developing new work you may be able to use those environments to inspire your work.

What you will study* (See Modules and Specifications)


Students will explore various methods of creative thinking and problem-solving, which will become the initial starting points for later development of new work.

Weekly sessions will focus on case studies of performers, work or artists to critically analyse how research is used in the development of new work and in the telling of personal narratives or stories.

Case studies may include practitioners such as Kate Tempest, Frantic Assembly, Pablo Helguera, Javaad Alipoor, debbie tucker green, Lin-Manuel Miranda or other contemporaries.

This work will be student-led, tailored to the student’s area of interest. Students will interrogate the role of the dramaturg by pushing the boundaries of what makes theatre through collaborative work with the other MAs.

This module aims to develop key skills in creating devised material within an ensemble setting. Actor Musicians, Actors and Dramaturgs will be encouraged to explore performance material created from personal storytelling, narrative and experiences, working in small companies on various projects.

These practical sessions will be tutor-led, where students are taken through a range of methodologies to explore producing work using various storytelling techniques.

As the students develop as an ensemble company producing their own work, they will be given the opportunity to run these small companies themselves.

Students may explore practitioners/companies such as Red Ladder, Interplay, Frantic Assembly, Kneehigh and The Pappy Show, but will adapt and tailor techniques to their personal vision and intentions appropriate to postgraduate study.

Dramaturgy students will help shape these pieces as the performers bring them to life.

Through both practical and theory-based sessions, Dramaturgy students will work with leading practitioners, theatre-makers and literary departments to build their knowledge and develop their skills for careers in script development, practical theatre-making and writing.

Students will deepen their understanding of the building blocks of performance; structure, character development, pace, tone, genre and language etc. In tutor-led sessions, students will learn the various ways to approach, analyse and develop texts, working with classics, adaptations, translations, contemporary plays and musicals, and (most importantly) new writing from both established and first-time writers.

Students will also explore the role of the dramaturg in other theatrical practices; dance, opera and puppetry. Students will then be encouraged to develop their own process and practise through individual development of their own work.

The Major Project will be developed over a term and will be a based on the student’s area of interest, culminating in a performance and/or sharing . Major projects can be in collaboration with other MA students from across the Theatre MA’s or something entirely individual.

You will be assessed at the end of each of three trimesters on the Dramaturgy and Dramatic Writing module and your Ensemble Devising module. These practical assessments will focus on putting into practice the skills received during that trimester. This may include one or more of the following: script reading, collaborating with writers and analysing and interrogating new work.

Finally, you will be assessed on your Major Project, which culminates in a production/s in the third term. This assessment will cover the Project's inception, development and performance/s, largely based upon a dissertation you will produce.

These module specifications are correct for the 2022/23 academic year. In compliance with University of Hull regulations, the conservatoire retains the right to make minor amendments and improvements to course, programme and module content year on year. This may result in minor changes to these specifications for the 2022/23 academic year.

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Drama Facilities - Playhouse Square, Mabgate and more

Our Performing Arts students benefit from bespoke new facilities in our brand new Playhouse Square building.

Teaching will take place at our St Peters Square, Mabgate and Playhouse Square buildings as well as external teaching spaces where necessary.

We are confirming teaching spaces for 2024/25, but teaching spaces in 2023/24 also included Slung Low Theatre Company in Holbeck, Dance Studio Leeds and Yorkshire Dance.

Take a look at our custom-designed studios with panoramic views over Leeds city centre.

See Performing Arts Facilities


Students from the Dramaturgy MA will be excellently placed to work in a wide-range of theatre performances and performance projects, with experience they will be able to adapt to different size and scale projects. Upon successful completion of the course students may go onto careers which may include:

Course Tutors

Students will be taught by staff who are specialists within their field and include performers, creatives, entrepreneurs and academics who work professionally in the theatre industry. All teaching staff must apply for and be granted Recognised Teacher Status by the University of Hull.

Entry requirements, fees & applying

Course Type: MA Postgraduate Degree
Duration: 1 year
Study Mode: Full Time
Start date: September
Validated by: University of Hull

Apply via UCAS Conservatoires

  • UCAS Code: W44F
  • UCAS Institution Code: L31

Apply directly to Leeds Conservatoire

Alternatively you can apply directly to Leeds Conservatoire via our MA Dramaturgy Direct Application Form.

Find out more about the application process.

  • A good honours degree in any subject, with a 2nd (2:2) classification or equivalent, usually theatre, music or theatre/music-related, but qualifications in other fields will also be reviewed and considered.


  • Equivalent professional experience may also be accepted and reviewed at application and audition stages (see our APEL process).
  • All suitable applicants are invited for interview and/or audition
  • All students requiring a visa to study in the UK must meet the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) department's English Language requirement of IELTS 6.0 with no sub-test less than 5.5.

The audition process will be in 2 stages:

  1. Textual Analysis and Personal Statement (online submission)
  2. Present an idea for a project telling a personal narrative or story (online or in person)

Find out more and read our full guidance on our Postgraduate Auditions page

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