Movement: Directing and Teaching, MA/MFA

Duration: MA, one year, full-time; two years, part-time. October start. MFA, two years, full time, October start. On site attendance between July and September is not mandatory.

Award: MA Movement: Directing and Teaching (180 credits); MFA Movement: Directing and Teaching (240 credits).

MA/MFA Movement: Directing and Teaching

MA/MFA Movement: Directing and Teaching are pioneering courses, the first of their kind in Europe aimed at practitioners interested in movement teaching and movement directing of the actor. The courses offer opportunities for the development of individual specialisms and their application to the movement work of actors in training and production environments.

About the course

The courses offer specialist, vocational teaching in movement for actors, production practice for movement directors and bespoke movement placements at Central and in professional theatre settings in Britain and internationally. The courses capitalise on Central’s creative community, its resources and innovations, as well as history in the field of actor movement from Litz Pisk to the present. In the first year students of the MA and MFA combine for terms one to three. The MFA extends into a second year that involves workplace attachments, mentorship and practice.

Students may be actors or dancers, or people working with actors such as dance or movement teachers, or theatre directors with a movement history or choreographers , or practitioners from the field of sport or holistic practice, wanting to enhance their understanding and skill of practical/theoretical interfaces of movement in contemporary performance.

Course Detail

You will be provided with a diverse landscape to address movement practices in relation to a range of established theatre processes and innovations in the field. Practical movement teaching and movement directing projects offer potential applications in theatre production, puppetry, animation, classical theatre, film acting, opera and contemporary and devised work.

There are opportunities to develop your practice as movement specialists whilst undertaking potentially ground-breaking research into movement. You will undergo a formalised and systematic actor movement education that coincides with the emergence of a widespread social interest in all aspects of physicality and the body. Emphasis is on Laban’s movement philosophy and Lecoq’s spatial and physical techniques, but the overall approach is eclectic and celebrates a variety of methods. You may expect to encounter the work of movement practitioners, such as Feldenkrais, Bogart, Roth, Suzuki, Alexander, Pisk, Humphries, Barba and Grotowski.

Practical sessions are designed to enhance skills as a movement teacher or movement director. Teaching methods place equal emphasis on individual and group development, through individual tutorials, seminars and workshops.

By the end of the courses you should be able to: demonstrate and communicate an informed understanding of actor movement; teach and direct actor movement in a range of artistic settings; undertake further research and self-development in the field; and reflect analytically.

For both MA and MFA students in the first year assessment is through a range of methods, including work on practical projects, written assignments and teaching practice placements. MA students will work independently to complete a specialist enquiry arising from work undertaken during the course. MFA students will work independently in a second year of specialist study aimed at widening and deepening practice within a professional context. Students are expected to undertake one or two attachments that are supported with tutorials throughout the year, as part of an ongoing process of reflection, analysis and growth that will lead to your final dissertation submission.

Download MA/MFA Movement: Directing and Teaching Course Specification 2015-2016 (PDF, 473KB) (391.21 KB)

Professional Focus

MA placements with companies have included Royal Shakespeare Company; Peut-être Theatre, Chickenshed Theatre, and Trestle Theatre. Placements abroad have included hosts CAP-21 in New York and universities in Greece and Norway. Placement activity includes conservatoires, for example the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), East 15 Acting School, Guildford School of Acting, Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts, Rose Bruford College, and with the animation department at Central Saint Martins, as well as at Central.

MFA attachments: these may take place in any movement training or movement directing setting, including workplace settings.

Recent visiting staff have included Jane Gibson (Movement Director for film and television, associate with Cheek by Jowl) Liz Ranken (Movement director in theatre/associate with the RSC and Shared Experience); Struan Leslie (Movement director and previous Head of Movement at the RSC); Imogen Knight (Movement director and choreographer) Dr Mark Evans (author on movement).  Course team all work with in the HE sector and in professional theatre and film settings.

Graduate Employment Includes

Movement Directors, The Shed at the National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company (in Stratford-upon-Avon and in New York), Royal Court Theatre, Young Vic, Opening Ceremonies London 2012 Olympic Games and Sochi 2014, Almeida, Finnish and Australian Opera Companies. Movement Teachers, Heads of Movement, Academy of Live and Recorded Arts, East 15 Acting School, Middlesex University, Rose Bruford College, RADA. Assistant Directors, Royal Shakespeare Company. Trainee Director, Glasgow Citizens Theatre. Theatre Professors/Practitioners, Japan, Korea, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Germany. Research degrees, Body and Image and actor training Workshop Leaders, Shamanistic Practices, Body Mind Centering for Choreographers. Movement, Animation and Laban. Performance, War Horse.

Entry Requirements and Admissions

You will normally have a degree or equivalent in a subject that includes an element of movement or dance. Graduates of other disciplines will be considered if they can provide evidence of previous training and experience in movement or dance. If you have a strong movement background and professional experience of working with movement for at least two years, you will be considered for non-standard entry.

An offer will normally only be made after interview.

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

English Language

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 in London

If you are selected for an interview for a place on MA or MFA Movement: Directing and Teaching we will require you to prepare the following:

  • a simple, short movement exercise that you would teach to a trainee actor (no longer than 10 minutes). You will teach this exercise at the interview and discuss your objectives as a teacher. This is our chance to see you in action as a potential movement teacher/director and to identify whether you have potential for analysis and reflection
  • a short example of your own movement work, which should last no longer than 10 minutes and reflect your particular movement style and connection to movement
  • a 1,500 word essay explaining your reasons for applying to the course.

You should bring with you clothes suitable for a movement session, and some written evidence of any academic qualifications.

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 Events 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 Course Leader 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.


Notable graduates of this course include:

Lucy Cullingford (2005) Dance Repetiteur on Matilda The Musical, which won Best Choreography at the 2012 Olivier Awards. Movement director on the Broadway production of Constellations, starring Jake Gyllenhaal (2014).

Natasha Koechl (2013) is associate professor at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, and also has worked as Assistant Director and Movement Coach on the Canadian Premier of The Kite Runner at Theatre Calgary and the Citadel Theatre, Edmonton. 

Polly Bennett (2011) Worked as Assistant Movement Director on the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony, Mass Choreographer on the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Winter Olympics and the Paralympic Games. She was Resident Company Movement Practitioner at the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2013.

Brad Cook (2009) Performed in the original Canadian cast of War Horse for the National Theatre. He will be Associate Movement Coach at the Stratford Festival in Canada for the upcoming season (2014).

Anna Morrissey (2005) Artist in Residence for Historic Royal Palaces. Her credits as a Movement Director include King Charles III at the Almeida and Wyndhams theatres, and The World of Extreme Happiness at the National Theatre. She was also a Movement Assistant on the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony.

Fiona Rae (2007) Head of Movement at the Academy for Live and Recorded Arts.

Sita Thomas (2012) Movement director and film maker. In 2014 was commissioned by the National Theatre to make films about movement and the role of a movement director, one of which features Diane Alison-Mitchell (2008). 

May Bo Wu (2011) is Co-Artistic Director of Dirks Theatre in Hong Kong.

Current Students

View profiles of the Class of 2015 for this course. Click on each student to see to their CV.


View profiles of the academic staff who teach on these courses. Click on each staff member to see their CV.

Vanessa Ewan, LCMD, FHEA

Senior Lecturer, Movement, Co-Course Leader MA Movement: Directing and Teaching

Debbie Green, MA

Senior Lecturer, Movement

Dr. Jane Munro, BA, MA, PhD

Lecturer, Movement

Ayse Tashkiran, BA, PGCert

Senior Lecturer and Course Leader, Movement: Directing and Teaching

Related Courses


Diane Alison-Mitchell

Diane Alison-Mitchell

Graduated 2008, currently movement directing The Island at the Young Vic, past work includes Vernon God Little and The Laramie Project at Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts, Julius Caesar directed by Gregory Doran for the Royal Shakespeare Company.

I come from a dance background and was really interested in finding new ways to work with the body and always had a passion for theatre. The course really broadened my knowledge of movement practices, but more importantly helped me to build my own practice, which is crucial for a Movement Director. The course also supports those interested in movement to enquire and explore in a creative environment, with a range of people from a variety of backgrounds. This diversity was a rich part of what the course offers.

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