Term Dates 2020/2021

Induction Week
14th Sep – 18th Sep
Autumn Term
21st Sep – 4th Dec
Spring Term
11th Jan – 26th Mar
Summer Term
26th Apr – 16th Jul

These are the 1st year of the Three Year Acting Course dates. Other course dates may slightly vary so please check the course pages.

Current Student & Staff Login

Student practising during ALRA MA in Directing, Masters in theatre directing class
Course Leader: Chris Hill
Course Location: Wigan (Greater Manchester)
Study Level: Postgraduate
Study Mode: Full Time
Course Length: 2 Years
Application: FREE
Awarding Body
St Mary’s University, London
Validated from 2018 to 2023

  • Directed & edited by Chris Cronin | DOP Sam Cronin

The ALRA MA Directing course is an innovative new programme including an international residency and individual industry mentors. The course is set in a cutting-edge location at ALRA North; a hive of creative activity and cultural development in the North West. ALRA North is an established and important centre of learning in the Greater Manchester theatre community.

Our Directing students will have access to resources that allow aspects of audio and film to be integrated into the performance environment.

The aim of this course is to create graduates who will change the demographic of live theatre directors in this country. ALRA will recruit 4-6 student directors with vastly diverse backgrounds and pair them with innovative experiences that will act as a catalyst for their forthcoming career as artists in the live performance industry.

ALRA Directors will have an insight into the craft of acting through working with the acting students and specialist tutors on their performance programmes which focus on body, voice and imagination. Students will develop an understanding of a wide variety of different practices that can be used to shape performance. 

For further information please email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • LevelProposed TitleCore/OptionCredit Value
    7 The Performer C 40
    7 The Performance Environment C 20
    7 The Philosophy of Directing C 20
    7 Producing C 20
    7 Culture, Perception and Directing C 20
    7 Directing Practices C 60

    Module Summaries:

    The Performer – Term 1 and 2.

    The director’s relationship with the performer is central to the creation of new work and clarity of communication is key to its success. The aim of this module is to introduce students to core elements of an actor’s training and practice by participating in voice and movement workshops. Assessment is delivered through two industry tasks that demonstrate effective communication with individual actors.

    This module is delivered over 8 hours per week for 8 weeks in Term 1 and 2, including 36 hours of individual specialist masterclasses in the first four weeks.

    The Performance Environment Terms 1 and 2:

    The aim of this module is to explore the different facets of the performance environment and the methods by which the director can communicate meaning and narrative to an audience.

    ALRA’s MA Directing graduates should be able to communicate effecvtively with an entire production team. Therefore, this module includes classes on lighting, sound, camera work, stage management, design and costume. This module is compatible with performance work studied throughout Terms 1 and 2 and is delivered through three principal modes.

    The students will take part in observational sessions on Acting for Camera and Acting for Radio (in conjunction with the BA in Acting - 4 hours per week in term 1). Alongside these classroom observations, students partake in a series of Technical Workshops examining key processes in the realisation of the sound, lighting and video components of live performance as well as design. This is delivered over 20 hours in Term 2.

    The Philosophy of Directing: Term 3

    The aim of this module is to develop a framework that examines each individual student’s directing process, allowing them to competently rationalise key decisions and communicate their intent clearly with creative collaborators.

    Drawing on practical skills associated with the craft of directing, the student will examine what influences and interests them as a practitioner and how this applies to the process of working with collaborators such as actors, technicians, venues and funding bodies. This process will support the student in understanding their own opinions about directing and why they believe them to be true.

    The module is delivered throughout Term 3 through a series of weekly day-long workshops. Particular use of technology such as b-log, v-log, podcast and social media is encouraged in this module and used in the reflective assessment task.

    Producing: Term 3

    Producing is delivered through 4 hours of workshops and seminars per week accompanied by regular tutorials.

    The focus of the module is on creating a funding bid based around the desires of a peer, allowing the learner to deeply engage in isolated exposure to the practices associated with producing. This experience will equip the learner with the skills to produce their own work in the future. A series of experts in the various silos of producing will give weekly lectures to the students which will inform the various aspects of their assessment task.

    Learners are assessed on their completition of a fundraising application and their rationale around their approach.

    Culture, Perception and Directing: Term 4

    The aim of this module is to experience being resident in an organisation other than ALRA North and engaging in the values and expressions of the cultures that surround the host venue. By placing the learners in a new theatrical context for two weeks, possibly in another country, cultural differences in making processes and the effect that ‘culture’ has will be addressed.

    There will be three phases to the content of this module:

    • Preparing for the residency through lectures and seminars
    • Engaging in the residency over two weeks
    • Spending at least three weeks making work that responds to the experience

    The focus of the module is to rationalize how the work, and responses to it, can be informed and effected by culture using a language that is idiosyncratic to the student who shows awareness of the culture they were immersed in. This module is assessed through an audio task that explores the effect of the residency upon their creative process.

    The module will be delivered both at ALRA North and within the residency. All accommodation, visas and travel will be arranged by ALRA and included in the course fee.

    Directing Practices: Term 5 and 6

    The aim of this module is to challenge and enrich the students’ existing practice by both exploring directing processes that lie outside the students’ existing experience and giving them the space to make a performance that brings together their experiences on the course.

    Students will:

    • Be placed with an industry mentor to guide them towards making their substantial piece of performance work
    • Undertake a placement at ALRA
    • Undertake an assistant director placement at a theatre venue in the North West
    • Create an independent production with a small budget to be performed in the ALRA North theatre space

    This module includes two full time residencies over one or two terms which are assessed through the observation of communication to actors or the creative team. The major assessment task for this module is the rationale behind the creation of an independent production. 

  • Candidates will be expected to have a 2.2 at BA (Hons) in cognate subject or Entrants will have acquired experience through work or other means that enables staff responsible for admissions to be confident of the candidate's ability to succeed in the programme. This recognition of prior learning will be gathered in the form of references from recognised professionals in the field.

    If English is not your first language you must be fluent in English (You may be asked for proof of this We need a level 6.5 in the IELTS (International English Language Test System).

  • Fees for 2020 EntryTermAnnualDepositTOTAL
    MA Directing £2,500 £7,500 £400 £7,900

    Funding Information for the MA Professional Acting and all ALRA courses can be found in Fees & Funding.

    Term DatesAutumn Term 2018Spring Term 2019Summer Term 2019
    From 24th September 14th January 29th April
    To 30th November 29th March 19th July
  • Applicants for the MA Directing course must sign up to an assessment day for the course here.

    On the application they must provide 500 words (in the personal statement section) on their interest and experience in Directing/Theatre.

    On the assessment day applicants will complete the following:

    • A workshop
    • A directing task
    • An interview

    In the workshop, the applicant will be assessed on ensemble, performance and skill.

    The directing task (with ALRA acting students or graduates) is designed to explore communication as well as investigate the applicant’s artistic concept. This task will be presented then artistic rationale of the task will be discussed with the Course Leader and other senior members of faculty.

    Finally, at interview, applicants will demonstrate sufficient potential to develop their personal creative process within the field of directing. The applicant will discuss their reasons for wanting to take the course and discuss their experience which demonstrates aspects of the relevant work.