Master Theatre

Maastricht Master Courses Theatre

The Maastricht Master’s Degree in Drama is intended for scenographers, costume designers, and directors. It comprises a unique combination of the student’s own professional production and an artistic research project, with intensive coaching by Master’s programme instructors and in cooperation with professional partners.


In collaboration with the Maastricht Knowledge Network for Autonomy and Openness in the Arts

What is it?

The Master’s degree programme focuses on creation by the student of a professional production and on his/her personal development needs, with an artistic research study playing an important role. The combination of group learning within a thoughtful community and individualised coaching offers the student an excellent combination of in-depth study and practical professional experience. Students will develop and implement a set design, costume design, or direction project for a professional production and will be coached intensively in dialogue with the relevant performance venue in the Netherlands, Belgium, or Germany. In the context of the production, the student will carry out an artistic research study that positions the project within a broader artistic and social context.

The main principles of the Master’s degree programme are:

1. the vital interchange between direction and design (costume design and scenography), and dramaturgy, as the substantive thought process for the production and as the relationship between the project and the world;

2. artistic research;

3. transdisciplinarity as an exploration of non-artistic methodologies;

4. entrepreneurship as a reflection of the working relationships within the artistic field.

The student will record the various aspects of the production process and their influence on the artistic process in a production file.

Who is it for?

The Master’s Degree in Drama is intended for directors, scenographers, and costume designers

• who are at the start of their career and are seeking intensive coaching within the context of theatrical practice;

• who already have an extensive professional career behind them and who are looking for a period of reflection and revitalisation;

• who wish to develop their skills as an artistic researcher;

• who wish to go further into the potential of crossovers between scenography and direction and to improve their relevant skills;

• who wish to explore new social relationships and organisation forms and/or set up new theatre projects outside the standard theatre context.

The Master’s Degree in Drama focuses on professional theatrical venues

• that wish to provide their talented new directors and designers with some solid coaching;

• that are seeking a dialogue on talent development and artistic guidance for talented young professionals;

• that wish to broaden the models for artistic collaboration between directors and designers.


The Master’s degree programme consist of three phases during which the student works towards ultimately implementing his or her professional production.

The exploratory phase involves defining the research approach to the theatre project. The student produces a clearly defined artistic research topic. Within the research context, he/she sets out and elaborates on the basic principles of the Master’s degree project.

In the integration phase, the emphasis is more on designing the project and making the artistic research study more specific. Contextualising and positioning will be important elements.

The Master’s degree project – the actual theatre project, i.e. the individual set design, costume design, or direction project – will be carried out in the implementation phase. The practical experience gained here will form the final input for the production file. The student will round off his/her artistic research with the Master’s degree project and will then provide critical reflection on it.

The curriculum is made up of seminars with varying methods, duration and content, focusing on the four basic principles of the Master’s degree programme:

• direction and scenography;

• artistic research;

• transdisciplinarity;

• entrepreneurship.


The Academy will act as the home base, but the Master’s Degree in Drama will deliberately adopt a nomadic approach and students will meet specialists in their own fields from an ethnographic perspective. These “field trips” are to allow the student to meet specialists in their “natural habitat”. This will enable the student to become acquainted with individual artists, scholars and specialists, but also with the network of which they form part.

The continuous individualised coaching within the programme and regular group discussions between the students (“peer-to-peer review”) will ensure continuity and quality throughout the three phases.

The discussion meetings will generally take place on Monday and Tuesday, in Maastricht and/or on location. The main focus of the collective sessions will be in the exploration phase (first semester). This means that the Master’s degree programme can be combined with other projects.

The programme for the Maastricht Master’s Degree in Drama can quite easily be combined with other projects in which the student may be involved. Each student will draw up a study plan in consultation with his/her programme coordinator.

The total study load amounts to 85 ECTS credits, spread over two years.
The coordinator is Bart Van den Eynde.
For more information about the Master’s Degree in Drama, please contact him on:

(Belgium) +32 (0)476 585 966
(Netherlands) +31 (0)6 3807 3355


Basic principles

1. Direction and Scenography

Starting from the autonomy of the two disciplines, the programme offers the opportunity to explore practical, alternative models of collaboration between design and direction.

Theatre is by definition an interdisciplinary art form in which a group of artists collaborate on a total work of art, each of them from their own specialised field. With that definition in mind, the directors and designers in the Master’s degree programme work together in a study group to explore – free of production constraints – how the expertise and specific approach of one discipline can enrich the other.

2. Individualised coaching  

The Master’s Degree in Drama will involve intensive individual coaching in various fields, both in the teaching and also on location within the professional organisation that is hosting the student’s theatre project. The various kinds of coaching are to enable the student to develop a balance between a collaborative, process-oriented attitude and the evolution and monitoring of his/her own, personal development path.

The various kinds of coaching will also encourage the development of a thoughtful community of investigators who can test and coordinate their ideas during regular consultations. Coaching will be extremely varied and will intervene at different levels:

• continuous coaching by the programme coordinators, in consultation with the organisers of the theatre project;

• peer reviews by the students themselves;

• coaching in a workshop context by specialists, researchers, and theatre-makers;

• coaching by individual mentors chosen by the students (in consultation with the coordinators).

3. Artistic research

The student’s artistic research will relate to his/her artistic project (direction, costume design, set design) but will also transcend it. The starting point is a research topic that investigates and questions the broader artistic, cultural, social, or scholarly context of the artistic project. In the course of the artistic research, the specific project will be documented and thus situated in a relevant, self-determined context.

Whereas the production process focuses on the quality of the end result, the artistic research work focuses on the quality and possibilities of the research process. In retrospect, the genesis of a production often appears to have been direct and purposeful, with the doubts, the tentative searching, and the difficult choices being quickly forgotten. The artistic study concentrates on and intensifies the meandering path taken in the course of searching: byways, alternative directions, possible routes that were not taken, potential further explorations, the environment and background, etc.

This creates a focus on the possibilities of methods and strategies, on the interplay between internal dynamics and constraints, on the historical, educational, sociological, and psychological sources of inspiration, and on the potential consequences of their influence, etc.

It is essential that at the end of the Master’s degree programme the artistic research work materialises and is communicated in the form of critical reflection. The form that that communication takes will arise from the nature and logic of the study itself: it may be a paper but also a lecture, a workshop, a portfolio, a documentary, or a lecture performance.


Some professional partners

• Theater Bonn
• Theater Aachen
• Theater und Orchester Heidelberg
• Vlaamse Opera Antwerp
• Laika, Antwerp
• Toneelgroep Maastricht
• NTGent
• HETPALEIS, Antwerp
• KVS, Brussel
• Nederlandse Reisopera
• Theater Regensburg