Creative Producing, MA/MFA

Duration: MA, one year, full-time / MFA, two years, full-time, October start

Award: Master of Arts in Creative Producing (180 credits); Master of Fine Arts in Creative Producing (240 credits)

Creative Producing, MA - 'Machinal Hospital'

About the course

As a student on the MA/MFA Creative Producing programme at Central, you will:

  • Benefit from real-world creative producing opportunities to develop knowledge and skills
  • Network through placements with leading theatre and arts organisations, masterclasses and industry mentors
  • Collaborate with writers, actors and designers on other Central MA/MFA courses

What is a Creative Producer?

The entrepreneurially skilled and culturally literate producer works in dialogue with artists to create performances and festivals, run venues and companies, manage projects, raise funds and investment, and negotiate commissions.

Central graduates have become successful producers, among them Sir Cameron Mackintosh, a name synonymous with Britain’s global pre-eminence in musical theatre, and David Jubb, whose pioneering work at Battersea Arts Centre characterises the vibrancy and originality of London’s contemporary fringe, or ‘off West End’ scene.

Opportunities on the course

The courses offer real-world creative producing opportunities within Central’s production calendar and with extensive industry partners, enabling you to build on your existing practice. These skills are in ever-increasing demand in a competitive production environment.

You will undertake masterclasses in producing with key industry leaders and innovators and take an active role in the organisation of events, productions and projects, underpinned by a solid critical understanding of the cultural industries and creative producing skills, relevant theory and current research in the performance field.

While learning, you will also gain a career head start by building a vital network of industry and peer contacts.

Who is the course suitable for?

These courses are suitable for:

  • experienced stage managers or production managers who wish to develop as creative producers
  • those already engaged in creative producing activities who wish to extend their knowledge in the field
  • business graduates with an interest in performance arts applications
  • experienced theatre or performance artists or graduates who wish to produce their own work and gain entrepreneurial skills
  • arts graduates who wish to instigate or curate the work of others.

The MA is for those with existing arts practice who wish to develop relevant knowledge and expertise, creative entrepreneurial and project management skills and become part of Central’s extensive network of industry collaborators.

A vocational, industry focused course

The MA and MFA have been developed in consultation with leading industry partners to provide a vocational course where you can apply your learning through a diverse range of practical projects. Central is involved in many external collaborative projects, so in addition to its own production activity and commercial theatre connections, its pioneering work in circus and site-specific theatre means excellent connections to a wide range of alternative theatre forms.

Embracing the challenges of creating a sustainable business is a core part of the course and Central is proud to have been recognised by the prestigious London Chamber of Commerce’s Commercial Education Trust (CET) for its entrepreneurial activity.

Course Detail

On the MA and MFA, you will engage with the same core subject matter. In the first year of the MFA, you will join MA colleagues for most of the year, undertaking professional creative producing projects to develop your understanding of:

  • publicity, marketing and fundraising
  • business modelling and innovation
  • authentic leadership and effective teamwork
  • audience development and engagement
  • theatre production and tour management
  • festival curation and organisation.

In the fourth term of the MA, you undertake a Sustained Independent Project (SIP).

The MFA extends into a second year that engages with further specialist subject skills. You are offered extended and sustained experience in the field, working closely with members of the related industry to establish yourself as a professional practitioner. You are encouraged to specialise in one or more directions building on the learning of the first year.

The MFA second year widens the opportunities to practise knowledge within a context and framework where pertinent questions can be asked, protocols tested and new structures suggested. You will undertake tutorials and seminars, although these may be via Skype or virtual seminar facilities if your attachment is outside the UK. You will gain a range of experiences both through Central’s extensive professional contacts and personal networks developed in the first year.

In negotiation with the course team, you may use your own work-based learning on attachment, or with organisations in the field. An MFA top-up year for those with an existing MA in this subject is also available.

Assessment

This is through formats used in the relevant industries and in academia, e.g. individual and group pitches to industry panels, business plans, online presentations, conference presentations, productions, case studies, reflective essays, reports, reviews and written submissions, and a substantial personal portfolio or dissertation.

Download MA/MFA Creative Producing Programme Specification 2017-2018 (915.35 KB)

Entry Requirements and Admissions

You should normally have an undergraduate degree in a relevant field, (drama, theatre or performance studies, for example, but other areas such as economics, politics or business studies are also relevant); applications from students of other disciplines will be considered. All applicants will be expected to have had practical experience in theatre related areas and/or arts management. Applications for the accreditation of prior experience in lieu of academic entry qualification will also be considered where appropriate. An offer will normally only be made after interview/audition.

An MFA top-up year for those with an existing MA or PGDip in this subject is also available.

We particularly encourage applications from groups currently under-represented in higher education, such as students with disabilities and members of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups. Find out more information on Central’s commitment to equality and diversity.

English Language Requirements

Applicants for whom English is not their first language are required to prove their English language proficiency by gaining an overall score of 7.0 in an IELTS test. We do accept equivalent English language qualifications. Applicants are advised to gain this certification as early as possible.

Interviews

If you are selected for an interview for a place on the Creative Producing, MA/MFA course, you can expect the following:

Applicants will usually be seen as part of a group for a three hour session. You will remain together for much of the time, and will have a chance to learn more about the course and ask questions. You will find the day quite relaxed, informal, and hopefully enjoyable.

During the morning, either in a workshop or in interview, we will want you to think about how you would approach staging one of Aesop's Fables. These Fables exist in a number of languages and translations, and you may wish to make use of any of these.  As a guide, we refer you to Mercury and the Woodman, The Wolf and the Lamb, and The Fox and the Crow.  You are free to use any adaptation of these texts and in relation to this task, we ask you to:

  • bring images of a non-theatre space that you could imagine staging your take on the production;
  • decide upon one UK venue and one international venue of your choice.

You will have an opportunity to make a short presentation, demonstrating your current skills and experience, and suitability for the course. For this part of the interview you should be prepare the following:

  • a portfolio presentation of about three minutes concentrating mainly on one example of your previous work;
  • influences on your practice, both artistic and entrepreneurial;
  • you may also bring with you an edited portfolio of your previous work, for discussion, where you feel this is appropriate.

You should wear (or bring with you) comfortable clothing suitable for active work, and leave the day clear of other commitments.

The interview process will also give you an opportunity to find out more about the course and the School.

International Interviews

Each year Central hosts a number of interviews outside of the UK, with a team of tutors from Central traveling to meet applicants. The international interviews are designed to replicate the London-based interview experience in every aspect (other than a tour of our site!). See our Event Finder for listings of upcoming interview locations and dates.

Distance Interviews

Central does allow applicants to undertake a distance interview for this course. If you live abroad and are unable to attend an interview in person you may, at the discretion of the Admissions Tutor, be offered the opportunity of a distance interview. If you are selected for interview in this manner you will be contacted (normally by email) in order to arrange a suitable time for an interview. This will be conducted on Skype, telephone or by ‘live’ email exchange and will normally be based upon material you will have been asked to submit in advance. The interview will be conducted by the Admissions Tutor in liaison with a colleague who will have sight of your submitted materials.

For further information see the How to Apply section.

International Students

Visit the International Students section to view details of English language requirements for Central's courses.

Industry Links & Opportunities

Course links with leading international arts organisations

  • the Southbank Centre
  • London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT)
  • Prague Quadrennial
  • Roundhouse
  • Battersea Arts Centre
  • Hampstead Theatre
  • Artsadmin.

It shares good practice internationally with Amsterdam Theatre School, Utrecht Theatre Faculty and Theatre Faculty Prague, as well as working closely with Stage One, the registered charity working with the commercial theatre industry to develop new theatre producers.

Producing Roles

Recently students have undertaken producing roles at:

  • the Southbank Centre
  • LIFT
  • Les Enfants Terribles
  • Neil Eckersley Productions
  • Headlong
  • The Vaults
  • National Theatre
  • English National Opera
  • Orange Tree Theatre
  • Royal Opera House
  • Paines Plough
  • Roundhouse
  • Camden People’s Theatre
  • Secret Garden Party
  • Block9
  • Glastonbury Festival
  • Kate Morley PR
  • AKA
  • Mobius Industries
  • Soho Theatre.

Growing alumni links

New industry links are constantly being forged through our growing alumni, e.g. Sarah McBriar (graduated 2014) was Central’s first CET award winner, who created the AVA Festival, an electronic music festival in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter with audiences of over 4,000 in 2016.

Staff on the Course

View profiles of the academic staff who teach on this course. Click on each staff member to find out more about them.

Jessica Bowles, BA

Principal Lecturer, Course Leader MA/MFA Creative Producing

Recent Graduate Employment

Graduate employment and career pathways include:

Corporate Development, Old Vic Theatre, Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Producing Assistant, Headlong, Donmar Warehouse, Playful Productions.

Production, National Concert Hall Dublin, Theatre Glastonbury.

Manager, Jersey Boys.

General Manager, Neil Eckersley Productions.

Producers, The Old Vic New Voices at Finborough Theatre, Southwark Playhouse, Theatre Royal Windsor, InTransit Festival, London.

Publications Coordinator, Pleasance Theatre.

Marketing, Kenny Wax, AKA, Farnham Maltings, Paines Plough, Chats Palace.

Establishing production companies including two Stage One Bursary Winners, Crow and Elk productions, Robert Bradish Productions, Szpiezak Productions and award winners Papatango and Sew theatre companies.

Producers for companies including Engineer, Rhum and Clay.

Management of venues including The Garage Norwich, Marlowe Studio, Marlowe Theatre and Stone Nest in London’s West End.

Notable Graduates

Notable graduates of this course include:

Chris Foxon (2012) Producer of the Papatango Theatre Company, who won the National Theatre Foundation Playwright Award and received a BBC Theatre Fellowship.

Hilary Elk (2013) Producer, Formed Crow and Elk Productions with Skype Crawford in 2013 and in 2014 awarded Stage One Bursary.

Sarah McBriar (2014) is the Creative Producer and Founder of both AVA Festival and Up Productions Ltd. In 2014 she won the CET Entrepreneurs Award.

Recent Visiting Professionals

  • Sunita Pandya (Deputy Director of Producing and Presentation, Southbank Centre)
  • Julius Green (author, West End Producer)
  • James Pidgeon (Deputy Director Shoreditch Town Hall)
  • Tim Jones (Head of Strategy, Future City)
  • James Bierman (producer)
  • Rafe Beckley (Open Book Theatre Management)
  • Steve King (Social Business)
  • Jo Danvers (Jo Danvers Co)
  • Marcus Davey (CEO, Roundhouse)
  • Katie Harper (SOLT/Stage One)
  • Eva Liparova (Brand Strategist and Theatre Maker)
  • Georgina Bednar (Producer, No Ordinary Experience)
  • Neil Adleman (Theatre Lawyer/ Partner, Harbottle & Lewis)
  • Greg Ripley-Duggan (Producer and CEO, Ripley-Duggan Partnership)
  • Sarah Nicholson (Executive Director, Orange Tree).

Project Mentors

  • David Jubb (Director, BAC)
  • Tamsin Ace (Head of Festival programme, Southbank Centre)
  • Fran du Pille (Producer, Headlong)
  • Jodi Myers (Jodi Myers Projects)
  • James Seabright (author, West End Producer).

What our students said

Robert F. Brandish
Robert F. Brandish

Graduated 2013, winner of Stage One Bursary in 2014, Independent Producer and Development Director for Orchestra Vitae.

Anyone with a notepad, pen and calculator can probably be a producer. However, the MA Creative Producing course provides the time and space to develop a unique producing identity through research and practice. It facilitates collaboration and relationship building; I met renowned industry professionals at the forefront of the field, and equally important, developed relationships with my creative producing peers. Ultimately, without my MA in Creative Producing, I would be just another person with a notepad, pen and calculator.

MOHAMAD SHAIFULBAHRI
Mohamad Shaifulbahri graduated from MA Creative Producing at Central in 2016

Graduated 2016, Founder and Artistic Director of Bhumi Collective, which produces work about the lesser seen, lesser heard and lesser talked about in its main bases in the UK and Singapore and looking to develop work for international markets in the near future.

Coming to Central and being asked at the very beginning, ‘What do you want (from this experience)?’ led to the unlocking of a newfound confidence in me that had been waiting to be unleashed. Gaining access to industry professionals across mediums and experiences, including meeting peers of varying international backgrounds, showed me the ever-growing importance of a producer in the industry today and how it stretches beyond budgets and spreadsheets alone, as well as the need for collaboration, foresight and people development.

My time at Central opened my mind, heart and soul to infinite possibilities surrounding my practice that I could never have imagined before – best decision ever.

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