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MA Performance and Environment

Create performance for environmental change

Create performance for environmental change

MA: 1 year Full Time, 2 years Part Time

Bishop Otter Campus (Chichester)
  • Build an ecologically-engaged artistic practice using site-specific theatre, contemporary performance, applied arts, and art activism
  • Work with professional partners to develop real-world connections between performance and environment
  • Learn from industry experts, theatre practitioners and artist-researchers
  • Utilise our strong industry links with national events, venues, and festivals
MA Performance and Environment

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Develop a practice that responds to environmental politics

MA Performance and Environment is an exciting programme that lets you put environmental politics at the heart of your creative practice. Studio based learning and collaboration with local partners support the development of a portfolio of performance projects through a variety of artistic forms.

Explore ecological philosophy

Students explore performance as a form of ecological thinking (Morton); creating a site-specific practice that responds to ecological contexts.

The course foregrounds artists and practices that engage with ecological philosophy; de-stabilising anthropocentrism and troubling the concept of ‘nature’. Students will work alongside external partners, developing a performance practice within specific locations of ecological interest.

Learn from experienced and expert theatre practitioners and artist researchers

Our team of internationally reputed theatre and performance artists, practitioners, and researchers are here to help support your practical and personal growth, as you join an artist-led theatre-making department.

Join a community of theatre-makers with strong industry links

Join our vibrant and collaborative community of artists, practitioners, and performers, with strong links with venues and regional, national, and international festivals.

Access our range of excellent theatre resources and spaces

Our range of performance and rehearsal spaces and resources ensure that you have access to everything you need to support your creative practice.

On this course you will:

  • Build an ecologically-focused artistic practice.
  • Produce a portfolio of performance projects through applied arts practices, site-specific performance, contemporary performance and art activism.
  • Work with local partners to create innovative performance projects that directly engage in environmental contexts to affect social change.
  • Join a vibrant and connected environment and community for making contemporary theatre and performance.
  • Utilise our strong industry links with national events, venues, and festivals.
  • Learn from our experienced team of contemporary theatre experts.
  • Use our range of excellent performance and rehearsal spaces and resources.

The Course

Shape your individual and collaborative practice

Throughout the course, you will engage in a selection of both core and specialist modules that develop your knowledge of theatre-making and performance.

Core modules

  • An introduction to postgraduate study and research methodologies
  • Practice-led Research and Development project, including a written dissertation

Specialist modules

  • Ecological Performance Practice
  • Eco-Ethical Engagements

Both modules are year long, in-person, and complimented by intensive residences in the spring and summer semesters.


This list is indicative and subject to future change.

Research Methodologies 1

This module engages with critical and theoretical approaches that may well have been encountered at undergraduate level. These strategies will prove necessary in critically examining the student’s own practice in later modules as well as enabling them to interrogate the work of contemporary arts practitioners.

Students will be involved in the process of assessment, using the module criteria, and will also be required to evaluate their own learning on the course. Tutors and theatre practitioners will introduce case studies of contemporary work and research strategies, and as the module progresses students will use an increasing range of theoretical and practical skills to critically examine these models. Students will undertake a range of assessment tasks and will receive formative advice and comments intended to assist them in completing these tasks successfully.

Research methodologies will focus on research into modes of practice, in documentation, in self-assessment, audience / spectator surveys and so forth as well as providing the broader cultural landscape of practice as research. There are 3 core aims:

  • learn about (PG) critical thinking, analysis, and academic writing
  • learn about (PG) research in The Arts: key methods and methodologies (tangible arts research models and templates/approaches)
  • Apply learning to case study project

Research Methodologies 2

This module will emphasise independent research leading up to the Developmental Project (Dissertation). Students will select an area of investigation in the arts related to cultural identity and contemporary performance with the advice of tutors and fellow students. This module is designed to facilitate students’ development as researchers through the formulation and realisation of a self-directed research project into theoretical research into their own practice with reference to the work of other theatre practitioners. Students will be expected to contextualise their work in the light of contemporary developments in arts practice, arts research and cultural identity.

 This module will take the learning from Research Methodologies 1 and deepen and develop this in relation to the students own artistic practice. Radical, innovative, and current modes of research and study will be investigated relating to the students’ own practice. A refinement and deepening of (students) methods and methodologies will be encouraged and will be applied to their learning and analysis of their own work in relation to the themes of culture and identity that they are interrogating.

Practical Research Project / Dissertation

This module is the core intellectual research activity pursued and, as such, serves as the dissertation module.

This module also intersects critically with other modules throughout the duration of generating, defining, and refining researched ideas, culminating in the individual praxis.

As a ‘hub’ module, it is designed to be broad enough to compliment and support any topic/subject-specific methodology from ‘spoke’ arts programmes, but to serve and build on the wider learning experience, it employs 2 key approaches: Practice-led-Research in the Arts, and a traditional ‘thesis’ exercise.

Developmental Project engages you with an independently driven research processes in practice and reflexive engagement on critical/cultural development to inform a critically engaged written dissertation.

Ecological Performance Practice

A performance-making module. You will conceive, produce and present a new, public-facing, performance, driven by your distinctive approach to performance and (the) environment.

Medium, duration, and presentation format is negotiable and concomitant with your critical and practical interests and ideas. You will be given the opportunity to engage with local partners with specific relationships to the management and preservation of local ecologies.

In this module you will produce a public-facing performance work, and companion publication (an “artist’s book”), which documents and contextualises the project’s critical and creative practice, process, and outcome.

Eco-Ethical Engagements

This module explores how ecological theory can be used to innovate contemporary performance-making praxis. The course emphasises politically and ethically engaged performance practices through creative analysis of contemporary cultural concerns and political events. In these terms, approaches to performance, ecology, and ethics will be developed through refining unique qualities in research-driven approaches to critical and creative praxis.

This module integrates and deepens skills and knowledge in ecology, environmental politics, and protest, preparing students for a range of (graduate) roles in climate action, sustainability, ecological awareness, and related fields such as theatre, arts and sustainability, outdoor arts, policy advising, event management, and self-employment trajectories.

Theatre at the University of Chichester

The Theatre department at Chichester is rooted in contemporary theatre and performance practice. Our programmes are predominantly practical, underpinned by cultural studies and practice-led research. All programmes are designed to be flexible with options to study full-time, part-time, and blend taught and independent research approaches.

We are an artist-led theatre-making department and we are particularly suited to people (emerging or established) looking to define and/or refine their professional practice, artistic identity and portfolio.

In all aspects, our focus is on new work and contemporary theory and practice. We welcome students whose practice and approaches fall in-between, or outside of, or crossover, conventional and/or traditional labels and contexts for theatre, performance and the live arts.

Our programmes are designed to be extremely flexible, reflecting the diversity of approaches to making contemporary theatre and performance. The department of Theatre at Chichester has an established reputation for working with a wide range of contemporary performance artists who recognise the opportunities for creative research and development within an applied university context.

Our programme is run by a team of leading-edge interdisciplinary academics and artists. We work very closely with a wide range of established artists and performance collectives – both members of faculty and associate artists – who recognise the unique contribution the University of Chichester makes to supporting new theatre and performance work. Your own new work will be stimulated by a continuous programme of professional performances from a wide range of international artists, many of whom support the work of the department through teaching and mentoring.

On our courses you will:

  • Join a vibrant and diverse environment and arts community.
  • Make your own contemporary theatre and performance.
  • Develop your critical and practical voice as a performance maker or academic.
  • Be mentored and taught by internationally reputed theatre and performance artists.
  • Have access to leading-edge technical and practical resources, space, and expertise.
  • Create opportunities to present work at national events, platforms and festivals, and/or present research and publish in academic events and environments.

Programmes delivered by the Theatre department enjoy:

  • Dedicated teaching and rehearsal spaces
  • Leading edge technical facilities and resources
  • Tangible partnerships with professional theatres and festivals in the region and nationally
  • Other connections with the industry: relationships with visiting artists and companies
  • A high employability rate with students working on stage, in film and TV, as excellent teachers, and in various areas of the creative industries

Teaching and Assessment

Feel the support of our expert and experienced teaching staff

How you will learn

All programmes combine ‘taught’ and ‘research’ elements and are rooted in self-direction and the ideas and practical and/or research interests of the student.

The core hub of all our programmes focus on study and practical skills, and culminate in advanced practice-led research outcomes: essays, case studies, reflexive critical writing, and your main thesis.

From there, the programmes contribute and build; with taught elements focused on the teaching and learning of content specific to the programme’s theme and topic.

Alongside this you will develop your own research and practical ideas, usually resulting in the creation and presentation of new performance work to the public, either in-house or in public settings.

To do this you will have the entire university’s resources at your disposal: technical support, professional mentorship and supervision, leading-edge professional standard media and technologies, and a range of other learning and practical support.

Feel supported to develop your own artistic identity

You will be encouraged to work further afield – across the region, UK, Europe, and beyond – and externalise your work and identity.

You will have opportunities to establish a professional artistic and/or academic identity, and platform your own work in national and international contexts, which will help develop prospects for continuing education, in terms of teaching or continuing studies to MPhil and PhD, and in terms of your professional identity as a practitioner.


You will be assessed through a range of assignments including:

  • The creation of practical (public) performances
  • Practical workshops and interactive/participatory research activities
  • Monographs and artists books
  • Business models and plans
  • Research papers and presentations
  • A written thesis


Discover dedicated performance spaces, specialist equipment, and extensive resources

More About The ShowRoom

The ShowRoom is recognised nationally for presenting some of the most exciting companies touring on the UK circuit, and the programme is shaped to support the learning of students.

We often run workshops and post-show discussion for Theatre students with visiting artists. We believe that one of the best ways to learn about professional theatre is by watching a training with arts industry professionals. This is at the heart of the ShowRoom’s ambition.

The ShowRoom is highly adaptable, with retractable seating, making it an excellent teaching and workshop space in addition to its role as a venue. It is run by our Theatre Manager and Department Technician, who work closely with our students, helping them to realise creative and adventurous ideas in a professional working space.

Other facilities include:

  • Studio spaces exclusive to the department
  • Rehearsal Rooms
  • Recording studio
  • Editing facilities
  • Audio/visual equipment
  • In-house lighting and sound technicians to assist student projects


Find out more on the ShowRoom website.


Where you could go after your studies

Our MA Performance and Environment leads to various outcomes and opportunities for performer, practitioners, and researchers.

Over the years we have established and supported students as independent practitioners and touring arts companies/collectives, teaching (at all levels), and of course; PhD and further academic study and careers.

We also produce and support students looking to establish and develop careers in producing, creative writing, and arts management.

Course Costs

Course Fees 2023/24

UK fee
International fee

For further details about fees, please see our Tuition Fee page.

For further details about international scholarships, please see our Scholarships page.

University of Chichester alumni who have completed a full undergraduate degree at the University will receive a 15% discount on their postgraduate fees.

Entry Requirements

Typical offer (individual offers may vary):

Applicants will ideally have a 2.1 degree and dissertation in Theatre / Performing Arts or related subject.

We welcome applications from or any other degree subject who have relevant professional experience, or an academic qualification equivalent to a degree plus relevant professional experience.


Full-time entry

To apply for the full-time entry of this course, please click the button below.

Part-time entry

To apply for the part-time entry of this course, please click the button below.

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