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: Master of Arts in Movement: Directing and Teaching (180 credits); Master of Fine Arts in Movement: Directing and Teaching (240 credits).

MA/MFA Movement: Directing and Teaching

Pioneering programmes aimed at performance and movement practitioners interested in movement directing and teaching. Students may be actors or dancers who want to diversify, people who work with actors, or practitioners from sport or holistic practice who want to enhance their understanding of practical/theoretical interfaces regarding movement in contemporary performance.

About the course

These courses offer specialist, vocational teaching in the field of movement for actors and production practice for movement directors. Bespoke movement placements at Central and in other professional theatre settings, such as other conservatoires, or theatre, opera or film organisations (both in Britain and internationally), are a key part of the course.

There are opportunities for the development of individual movement specialisms and their application to the work of actors. Tradition, experience, eclecticism and innovation epitomise Central’s understanding of movement training for the theatre, and these unique courses have been created in that spirit.

Course Detail

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.

These courses capitalise on Central’s resources, innovations and history in the field of actor movement, both at postgraduate and undergraduate level. Students will belong to the fine history of movement at Central from Litz Pisk to the present.

Student are provided with a rich and diverse landscape within which to address movement practices in relation to a wide range of established theatre processes and innovations in the field. Practical movement teaching and movement directing on selected projects offers a range of potential applications in the fields of theatre production, puppetry, animation, classical theatre, film acting, and contemporary and devised work.

There are opportunities for students to develop their own practice as movement specialists according to their interests in this growing and innovative field, and they will undertake potentially ground-breaking research into movement. The courses are taught by tutors who are current professional practitioners in their field of movement pedagogy, movement direction and movement research.

Students 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. There is a firm emphasis on Laban’s movement philosophy and Lecoq’s spatial and physical techniques, but the overall approach is eclectic and celebrates a variety of methods. Students may expect to encounter the work of movement practitioners, such as Feldenkrais, Bogart, Roth, Suzuki, Alexander, Pisk, Humphries, Barba and Grotowski. Teaching methods place equal emphasis on individual and group development, through individual tutorials, group seminars and workshops. Practical sessions are designed to enhance skills as a movement teacher or movement director.

MFA students will work independently in a second year of specialist study aimed at widening and deepening practice within a professional context. They 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 a final dissertation submission.


For both MFA students in the first year and MA students, assessment is through a range of methods, including work on practical projects, written assignments and teaching/directing practice placements.

In the last term of the MA, students work independently to complete their specialist enquiry, arising from work undertaken during the course.

Download MA/MFA Movement: Directing and Teaching Course Specification 2016-2017 (703.87 KB)

Professional Focus

Work Placements

Students on these courses have undertaken placement activity at:

Conservatoires and Higher Education Institutions including Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, East 15 Acting School, Guildford School of Acting, Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts, Rose Bruford College, and the animation department at Central Saint Martins, as well as at Central.

Companies including Peut-être Theatre, Chickenshed Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company and Trestle Theatre.

Organisations and institutions abroad including CAP-21 in New York, and universities in Greece and Norway.

Recent Visiting Staff

Struan Leslie (Movement Director, previously Head of Movement at the Royal Shakespeare Company), Imogen Knight (Movement Director and Choreographer), Jane Gibson (Movement Director for film and theatre, previously Head of Movement at the National Theatre), Sue Lefton (Movement Director in theatre, film and opera), Kate Flatt (Choreographer and Movement Director in theatre and opera), Liz Rankin (Movement Director, Shared Experience). Authors on movement have included Mark Evans and Alison Hodge. Movement teachers have included Ian Brener (historical dance and period movement), Natasha Fedorova, Marie-Gabrielle Rotie, Alex Croft, Karin Fisher-Potisk, Lucy Cullingford.

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.

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

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.


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 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 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.


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

Ayşe Tashkiran, BA, PGCert

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

Debbie Green, MA

Senior Lecturer, Movement

Beyond Central

Graduate employment and career pathways include:

Movement Directors, The Shed at the National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon and New York, Broadway, Royal Court Theatre, Young Vic, London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremonies, Finnish and Australian Opera Companies.

Movement Teachers, Head of Movement, Academy of Live and Recorded Arts, East 15 Acting School, Middlesex University, Rose Bruford College, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

Assistant Directors, Royal Shakespeare Company.

Trainee Director, Glasgow Citizens Theatre.

Theatre Professors/Practitioners, Japan, Korea, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Germany.

Research Degrees, Body and Image.

Workshop Leaders, Shamanistic Practices, Body-Mind Centering for Choreographers.

Movement, Animation and Laban.

Performance, War Horse.


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 (2005) 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 2017 for this course. Click on each student to see to their CV.

Related Courses


Diane Alison-Mitchell
Diane Mitchell

Graduated 2008, Movement Director and Choreographer, credits include Julius Caesar directed by Gregory Doran for the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Island at the Young Vic, London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony as part of Toby Sedgwick’s movement team and the National Theatre film What Is A Movement Director?

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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