Skip to main content

PGDip/MA Theatre Consultancy

Taught Postgraduate Diploma (part-time: 16 months)

Taught MA (part-time: 24 months)

*** Please be aware that the final intake for the MA / PG Dip in Theatre Consultancy was in 2016/17, and it is no longer accepting new applications. However, if you are interested in the field of Theatre Consultancy you may wish to consider applying for an MA by Research. You can express an interest in doing so here. You may also wish to contact the PGDip / MA Theatre Consultancy Course Director M dot E dot Shewring at warwick dot ac dot uk.

Current students on the PGDip / MA Theatre Consultancy are able to access webpages related to the course here. 

The part-time Postgraduate Diploma and MA courses in Theatre Consultancy are the result of detailed discussions between the School of Theatre, Performance and Cultural Policy Studies at the University of Warwick and the Society for Theatre Consultants.

The purpose of the courses is to extend and enhance the continuing professional development of theatre consultants and of those who work in the construction of theatres or are involved in their operation in such roles as project managers, project champions, production managers and those who manage buildings for the performing arts. With emphasis on such topics as the history of theatre spaces, the physical perception both of performance and of the buildings in which performances are seen and heard, and the social, economic and legal frameworks in which such venues operate, the courses encourage candidates to assimilate accumulated experience in the wide field of work they undertake on a daily basis and to situate that work in a wider academic framework.

The courses extend students’ knowledge of the historical development of theatre space and of the social, cultural and legislative context of that development. They address the opportunities and limitations of different theatre spaces in relation to the repertoires presented (including opera and dance as well as plays, musicals and concerts) and the communities being served. They consider the construction of multi-purpose venues and other new builds as well as the conservation and conversion of listed buildings and ‘found spaces’. They also consider the recent boom in the development of performance spaces in academic institutions, particularly schools.

Those aspects of theatre building in which theatre consultants play a considerable part, including the process of liaison between the client, funding bodies, architects, local authorities and construction teams are studied in the context of the detailed use and design of appropriate spaces, the psychological and social understanding of design, health and safety issues and the need to take into account cutting edge developments in theatre technology (including light, sound, scenography and virtual reality). The course also provides sessions on regulation and legislation, including the requirements for the licensing of buildings for public entertainment. Some elements, including architectural and technical issues (planning and listing) and the technologies of lighting and sound, draw upon the experience of external practitioners. These elements draw on the professional skills of the Society of Theatre Consultants and the Association of British Theatre Technicians and conform to the guidelines and regulations set out in the Technical Standards for Places of Entertainment (produced on an annual basis as an essential guide and tool for theatre consultants).

The course programmes include required visits to performance venues as well as visits to performances in the Arts Centre, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and other Midlands Theatres.

The courses are taught across faculty and disciplinary boundaries, drawing on the strengths and expertise of a range of academic departments and of the Warwick Arts Centre, in the development of transferable skills.

Entry Requirements

The usual requirement for admission to a higher degree course, including the Theatre Consultancy MA, is the prior achievement of an undergraduate degree of upper-second class or above.

As many people in theatre enter the profession without formal higher qualifications, the entrance level course leads to a postgraduate diploma. Success at diploma level can allow candidates to proceed to the Masters level.

For further information please contact

the Course Director Dr Margaret Shewring on

or Departmental Administrator Sarah Shute on

Application deadline for study commencing Autumn 2017: 31 May 2017.

For details of how to apply and to access the online application form, go to the Postgraduate Study webpage.



Teaching and Supervision at Warwick

The course convenor is Dr Margaret Shewring, Associate Professor and Reader in Theatre and Performance Studies.

Staff contributing to the course include:

Katie Anderson (Director of Marketing, Warwick Arts Centre)

Professor Alan Chalmers (Warwick Manufacturing Group and International Digital Laboratory)

Professor Jim Davis (Theatre and Performance Studies)

Alison Foden (Financial Director, Warwick Arts Centre)

Professor Colin Manchester (Law)

Professor Ronnie Mulryne (Emeritus professor. Former Chair of the Drama Projects Committee of the Arts Council and of the Drama and Dance Advisory Committee of the British Council)

Richard Perkins (Library)

Howard Potts (Technical Director, Warwick Arts Centre)

Andrea Pulford (Director of Planning and Operations, Warwick Arts Centre)

Alan Rivett (Director of the Warwick Arts Centre)

Kate Sayer (Head of Creative Learning, Warwick Arts Centre)

Guest Seminars are given by members of the Society of Theatre Consultants, architects and theatre practitioners.


Overall structure

Following an induction day early in the Autumn Term, the course is taught in three intensive week-long modules, one in each term during the first part-time year.

Dates for residential weeks in 2016-2017:

Induction Day

Friday 1 October 2016


Residential Week dates for 2016-2017

Autumn Term: 31 October - 4 Novemeber 2016

Spring Term: 23-27 January 2017

Summer Term: 12-14 June and 6-7 July 2017

These dates may vary slightly for students commencing study in Autumn 2017.


Much of the work is presented in seminar format following a keynote lecture to trigger debate amongst the course participants. The course encourages the participants to develop their verbal, presentational and IT skills and to make use of recent developments in visualisation and design software as well as to enhance their written skills in the context of an extended knowledge base.

Each student is required to complete two assessed essays, a portfolio of case studies, a diploma dissertation and, if appropriate, an MA dissertation.

During their second part-time year students take part in the equivalent of one further residential week, with visits distributed to fit the needs of individual students.

The Diploma is taught part-time over 1 academic year plus 1 further term.

The submission of a dissertation after a further 8 months will lead to an MA for appropriately qualified candidates whose research reaches an appropriate level.


Residential week/module details for 2016 - 2017

Performance Spaces: historical and contemporary developments

Autumn Term Residential Week

Module convenors: Dr. Margaret Shewring (Theatre Studies) and Professor Jim Davis (Theatre Studies)

This module addresses the development of theatre spaces, selecting examples from the Ancient Greeks to the present. Lectures will provide an overview of principal developments. Issues of theatre historiography will be raised. Seminars will discuss different types of space across historical periods and in relation to current and future developments. In each case the development of sound and lighting technologies will be taken into account. Attention is given to issues of reconstruction and conservation as well as to town-planning and the requirements of local authorities and funding bodies.

This module also addresses current builds (appropriate to each year of the course), inviting architects and consultants working on current projects to present their work and discuss the issues they have addressed as well as any strengths and limitations of the process in which they are engaged.

Theatre Auditoria: Sensory Perception, Regulation and Legislation

Spring Term Residential Week

Module convenors: Dr. Margaret Shewring (Theatre Studies), Professor Alan Chalmers (Digital Laboratory) and Professor Colin Manchester (Law School)

This module aims to extend the students' understanding of the interior of performance venues. Approaches include an analysis of modes of perception and their implications. It will consider individual elements in the design of auditoria in terms of the ways in which these elements trigger multi-sensory responses through light, sound, smell and touch.

Legal issues that have a direct bearing on the construction and operation of performance venues are also discussed, with topics including: Sources of Law and Legal Skills, Legal Databases and Licensing Law.

Venue Management: programming, infrastructure and audience experience

Summer Term Residential Week

Module convenor: Dr. Margaret Shewring (Theatre Studies) and Mr. Alan Rivett (Arts Centre)

This module aims to give theatre consultants and performance managers some experience of the different tasks that constitute the management of an arts complex so that they can bring this knowledge to bear in their work with clients and architects. Topics include: Programme and Programming, Marketing and Audience, Economics of a Venue, Infrastructure and Staffing, and the Changing Landscape for Theatre Consultancy: What’s next?

Second part-time year: 2017 - 2018

Diploma Dissertation

The Diploma dissertation marks the culmination of the taught, part-time Diploma course in Theatre Consultancy. It will build on skills and knowledge acquired during the course and will allow for a piece of written work on a topic of the candidate's choice, decided in consultation with a supervisor (or supervisors).

MA Dissertation

The MA Dissertation offers the opportunity for advanced research into a particular project enabling candidates to increase their knowledge base and to develop a range of research skills and methodologies under the guidance of a supervisor (or supervisors).


Faculty of Arts Home/EU Course Fees for students

commencing study in October 2016 and October 2017

For the University's fees details see the University of Warwick's tuition fees webpage.

The part-time fees for the PGDip/MA in Theatre Consultancy include the cost of 3 residential weeks, including accommodation, in the first part-time year and one residential week in the second part-time year. These weeks usually take place on campus, based in the University's Conference Facility at Arden House.



Course Structure



Video Link

Hear Course Director, Dr Margaret Shewring, discuss the MA in Theatre Consultancy

(by clicking the link above, you will be taken to an external website, 'Postgraduate Search')