Full Time Professional Training Courses

Drama Directing MA

Key Information
  • Award

    Master of Arts, MA

  • Application process

    Interview & project proposal

  • Duration

    One year (full-time)

  • Academic year

    30 September 2024 – 18 July 2025

  • Application deadline

    29 February 2024 (16:00 GMT)

    Applications for 2025 entry will open in the autumn.

Term Dates

Course Overview

This postgraduate course covers the artistic, creative and collaborative skills needed to become a confident and effective drama director, capable of leading your own projects and developing work with producing organisations. By working on realised productions staged in professional theatre venues, you will develop a sophisticated understanding of the protocols and processes involved in drama production. 

A short taster video

Course highlights

Learn your craft through specialist masterclasses led by core staff and visiting industry professionals. 

An intensive focus on learning through doing: developing your practice working on extended projects with actors and creatives in studios. 

Acquire industry know-how through assisting on a professional-standard production.

Put your skills into practice by directing a contemporary studio-scale production staged in a Bristol venue.

Build your professional network through close collaboration with postgraduate playwrights and designers, as well as acting and production arts courses across the school

Intensive focus and mentoring. 

Immerse yourself in the creative ecosystem of Bristol, renowned for its vibrant arts, theatre, film and music scene.

Course structure

Workshops, seminars and classes in the first term will introduce you to the essential skills needed to be an effective, creative and inspirational drama director. You’ll learn about dramaturgy, how to approach texts, and how to develop a concept for a production. A key feature of the course at BOVTS is that it integrates with other drama disciplines. You’ll gain a critical understanding of the acting process in ways that support actors in the creation of compelling performances and develop your approach to working with designers, playwrights and other creatives on a range of projects.

In your second term, you’ll be assistant director on one of the School’s professional-standard productions which are performed in venues across the city of Bristol. You will work alongside an established and experienced director, who will provide you with mentoring, insight and grounding in industry practices. In this role, you’ll hone your understanding of production, pre-production and rehearsal processes and will be expected to help research, contribute ideas, support rehearsals and give notes.

In your final term, you’ll direct a studio-scale production, approximately one-hour in length, which will be performed at a venue in Bristol. Starting from an allocated text, you will lead the creative process from pre-production through to realisation, bringing alive the concept for production through close collaboration with student actors, designers, stage managers and other technical creatives.

Whilst the focus of the course is predominantly on the process of theatre directing, you will also have the opportunity to practically explore the unique demands of other forms of media, including directing for audio and screen.

Launching your career

Throughout the course, we will support you in developing your voice as a creative artist and help you plan practically for the future. You will graduate with the confidence to network and communicate within the industry, capable of developing relationships, thinking imaginatively, boldly and flexibly, articulating ideas inspirationally and with a deep understanding of how to collaborate with other creatives. You will leave feeling more empowered, informed and resilient, better prepared for your next steps as a director. 

Previous graduates from the course have gone on to be highly successful freelancers, directing at the likes of Bristol Old Vic, Royal Court,  the National Theatre, the RSC, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Project Arts Dublin, Gate Theatre, Philippines Repertory, New Diorama, the Watermill Theatre and in the West End, as well as winning prestigious awards including the RTST Peter Hall Award,  the Genesis Award for Drama Directing, Equity John Fernald Award and several Michael Grandage Futures Awards. Alumni have also assistant and associate directed work at major national and international venues.  Read more about the early career successes of our recent Drama Directing graduates on our alumni pages. 

Alumni of BOVTS directing courses have also had great success in securing prominent organisational roles, including the Artistic Director at Bristol Old Vic (Nancy Medina), Artistic Director at the Donmar Warehouse (Timothy Sheader), Commissioning Editor at the BBC (James Runcie) and former Deputy Artistic Director at the Royal Shakespeare Company (Erica Whyman), award-winning director and playwright Neil Bartlett OBE. 

Testimonials

  • ‘The contact with actors was invaluable to my approach to directing.’

    Ed Viney. Freelance Director
Students relaxing outside of the School
The School is in a beautiful part of Bristol, overlooking a huge park called the Downs. We sometimes take advantage of our close proximity to the Downs during the summer term, practising fight and dance routines, or voice or singing classes! Dan Hall, BA Professional Acting student