Master Theatre

Master’s programme Theatre

Are you a scenographer, costume designer or director? Have you recently completed your bachelor's degree and want to deepen your knowledge? Or have you been in the field for years and feel like it’s time for reflection and revitalisation
? And are you looking for a master's programme that inspires you and expands your area of expertise?

With this master’s programme, you will focus on your skills and gain professional experience. Through group-based teaching, in a thoughtful community and with individualised guidance, you will be given the opportunity to both create your own professional production and develop an artistic research project—within or outside the traditional theatre context.

Intensive coaching by professionals
During this two-year master’s programme, you will be coached intensively by expert teachers who are connected to The Maastricht Academy of Performing Arts. You will also work closely with our partners from professional practice. This includes scenographers, costume designers and directors who are affiliated with organisations such as the Vlaamse Opera Antwerp, Toneelgroep Maastricht and de Nederlandse Reisopera.

You are the central focus
Or, more precisely:
•   your personal development needs
•   the professional production that you will create
•   the artistic research that you will perform

As you develop and implement a set design, costume design, or direction project, you will be intensively coached—in dialogue with the performance venue in the Netherlands, Belgium or Germany. In the context of your production, you will also carry out artistic research that positions the project within a broader artistic and social context.

Main principles of the  programme:
1.  the vital interchange between direction and design (costume design and scenography), as well as 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

As a master’s student, you will record—in a production file—the different aspects of the production process and the impact of these aspects on the artistic process.

Who is this master’s programme for?
The master’s degree focuses on scenographers, costume designers and directors:
•   who are at the beginning of their career and are seeking intensive coaching from experts in theatrical practice
•   who already have an extensive professional career behind them and who are looking for a period of reflection and revitalisation
•   who want to develop their skills as an artistic researcher
•   who wish to delve further into the potential of crossovers between scenography and direction and to improve their relevant skills
•   who wish to explore new social relationships and types of organisations and/or set up new theatre projects outside the standard theatre context

Interesting for professional theatrical venues
The two year programme also 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 want to expand the models for artistic collaboration between directors and designers

Structure of the master's programme
The programme consists of three phases, during which you will work towards ultimately bringing about your final professional production:

1. the exploration phase
This phase involves defining the research approach to the theatre project. You will present a clearly defined artistic research topic. The starting points of this master's research project will test and enrich you, as a student, within the research context.
2. the integration phase
The emphasis is more on the design of the project and making the artistic research study more specific. Contextualisation and positioning are important concepts in this regard.
3. the implementation phase
The master’s degree project—the actual theatre project (individual set design, costume design or direction project)—takes place in the implementation phase. The practical experience gained here will form the final input for the production file. You will round off your artistic research with the master’s degree project and will then provide critical reflection on it.

The curriculum consists of seminars with varying methods, duration and content, which focus on the four basic principles of the master’s programme:
•   direction and scenography
•   artistic research
•   transdisciplinarity
•   entrepreneurship

A nomadic approach
The Academy will serve as a strong home base during the programme. You will also be out and about— we even call the programme nomadic! With an ethnographic attitude, you will meet specialists in their own field, in their ‘natural habitat’. During these field trips, you will become acquainted with individual artists, scholars and specialists, and, most importantly, with the networks that they are part of.

The continuous, individualised coaching within the programme and regular group discussions among students (‘peer-to-peer review’) will ensure continuity, the quality of the programme, and student progress throughout the three phases.

Set meetings schedule
The discussion meetings generally take place on Mondays and Tuesdays. They can be held at the Academy in Maastricht or on location. The primary focus of the collective sessions will be in the first semester, during the exploratory phase. This is done so that you can combine the master’s programme with other projects.

Take a look at the current programme of the master's degree in Drama.

Still in doubt about whether this programme is what you’re looking for?
Perhaps you’re not yet convinced yet and you’re wondering if this programme is right for you. To dispel your doubts and give you the opportunity to get a better picture of what the programme is about, you can participate in a workshop to see if it's something for you. Or you can participate just because it’s a very interesting workshop. Make a decision and contact the coordinator Bart Van den Eynde.

This master's programme is implemented in collaboration with the Lectoraat Autonomie en Openbaarheid in de Kunsten Maastricht.


The total study load amounts to 85 ECTS credits, spread over two years.
The programme director is Bart Van den Eynde. For more information about the Master Theatre, please contact him on:
+32 (0)476 585 966  (Belgium)
+31 (0)6 3807 3355 (Netherlands)


Basic principles

1. Direction & scenography
The master’s programme in Drama offers the opportunity to explore—starting from the autonomy of the two disciplines—the practical, alternative models of collaboration between design and direction.

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

2. Individualised coaching
During the master’s programme in Drama, every student will receive intensive individualised coaching— not only during the teaching, but also on location. This could include the professional theatre venues where you work on your own theatre project. The coaching is focused on helping you develop a good balance between a collaborative and a process-oriented attitude. Your overall development and your own personal development path will be monitored throughout the programme. In addition, the master’s programme in Drama encourages the development of a thoughtful community of researchers who regularly test and fine-tune their ideas.

During the programme, the coaching will be extremely varied and will impact different levels:
•   continuous coaching by the programme coordinators, in consultation with the organisers of the theatre project
•   peer reviews by your fellow students
•   during the workshops, you will receive coaching from specialists, researchers and theatre-makers
•   coaching by an individual mentor—who you have selected, in consultation with the coordinators.

3. Artistic research
The artistic research that you conduct during the programme will relate to your artistic project—the direction, the costume design, the set design. The research will also transcend the project. Your starting point will be a research topic that you formulate, which 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 the relevant context that you have determined.

Whereas the production process focuses on the quality of the end result, the artistic research 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—the meandering path that characterises any research process, with doubts and potential alternative directions and routes that were not taken, the tentative searching, and the difficult choices, are quickly forgotten.

The focus will be on the possibilities of methods and strategies, on the interplay between internal dynamics and the preconditions. But also the influence and potential consequences of the historical, educational, sociological and psychological sources of inspiration will be included in your research.  

It is essential that, at the end of the master’s programme, the artistic research materialises in the form of critical reflection. Whichever form of communication you choose should arise from the nature and logic of the study itself. It can be a paper, but it could also be a lecture, a workshop, a portfolio, a documentary or a lecture performance.

Some professional partners