Image of performers in various poses on a stage bathed in a spotlight.

Musical Theatre

Course fees (2018/19 entry)

Option / fee Value
Home/EU full-time annual tuition fee: £6,250
Home/EU part-time tuition fee: N/A
International full time annual tuition fee: £13,250

More about course fees »

Course type



Liverpool Screen School

Study mode

Full Time (1 year)

About your course

The MA in Musical Theatre at LJMU has been designed for actors, directors, choreographers, MDs, composers, lyricists, librettist and teachers, to develop mastery of personal craft, by exploring creativity and advancing scholarship in musical theatre.

  • ​Join a passionate community of musical theatre scholars and artists
  • Participate in an annual festival of performance and scholarship titled “Adventures In Musical Theatre”
  • Benefit from a highly flexible, student-centred curriculum and delivery structure, with an emphasis on learning through creative risk and play
  • Take advantage of opportunities to include current work-based activity or undertake a placement
  • Enjoy access to a wide network of local, regional, national and international partners

​The course looks and sounds great

​Richard Reeday, musical director

​This is a course whose time has come – unmatched, as far as I know, anywhere else in the world. Both British and regional musical theatre (and artists) will get the recognition they deserve in terms of proper study.

Chris Grady, Freelance Producer and External Advisor in programme validation

Introduction to the School

The Liverpool Screen School offers you a warm and friendly environment founded on a strong commitment to nurturing and supporting creativity while offering excellent learning resources and first-class student support.

International expertise

You will be taught by professional, experienced and enthusiastic academic staff with extensive and current practical industry experience.

Staff have all worked in the industry with years of experience in drama, musical theatre, screenwriting, poetry, print, radio, television and online journalism. Many of the teaching team in Drama are widely published and prolific writers, producers and actors who have worked on plays and productions at the Edinburgh Fringe, top regional theatres and the West End.

Top class facilities

Liverpool Screen School is based in the Redmonds Building, located in the heart of the bustling Mount Pleasant campus and Liverpool’s growing Knowledge Quarter.

The Drama department has three dedicated buildings for its wide range of performances, workshops and classes: the Joe H Makin Drama Centre which houses rehearsal rooms, workshops, a 90 seat studio theatre and two smaller studio performance spaces; the John Foster Drama Studio, a large multi-arrangement theatre space, newly refurbished to enhance backstage provision and public areas as well as technical specifications; and the adjacent Modular Building which houses classes/tutorials, the department’s wardrobe, Drama staff offices, and where postgraduate students have their own small common room alongside dedicated study rooms/practical studios. All three are designed to offer space and creative freedom to students studying on one of LJMU's many drama undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. The buildings regularly play host to in-house student drama festivals, practical assessments, classes, visiting workshops and much more as part of the overall busy programme of events. The Redmonds Building, five minutes’ walk from Drama facilities, contains broadcast studios, news rooms and media production suites. You will also have access to high quality lecture theatres and seminar rooms, social spaces, and the ground floor Starbucks cafe.

All the above buildings are a short walk from LJMU’s Aldham Robarts Library, which contains all the resources you will require for your studies, and is open 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

Why study this course at LJMU?

The MA Musical Theatre seeks to develop your mastery of musical theatre craft, alongside current, relevant critical enquiry and scholarship. The programme focuses on the question: “what constitutes excellence in musical theatre?”

​At the heart of the programme's work is an exploration of craft in creative processes and a belief that rigorous critical enquiry and best creative practice are inextricably linked. It aims to champion new work and new ways of working, and celebrates the unique expressive opportunities and appeal of the musical.

​With a unique ideology and appeal, the degree embraces not only the commercial musical theatre of Broadway and the West End but more experimental work, alongside other recognised forms such as cabaret, burlesque, melodrama, drag, and pantomime. The degree also provides a specific focus for the study of the British musical and its artists.

Programme outline and structure

This MA is an ‘adventure in musical theatre’, which will enhance the mastery of theatrical craft by helping you to define a personal methodology, style and approach to the relevant disciplines of Musical Theatre.

​You will have the confidence to apply knowledge and understanding with originality and creativity for the re-interpretation of received assumptions regarding dominant traditions and practices of Musical Theatre performance. You will also gain the confidence to work creatively, collaboratively and collectively with musical theatre makers who possess varying levels of experience and styles. This degree ultimately aims to develop students into adaptive and flexible musical theatre professionals.

​To develop your own creative practice as a Musical Theatre artist, you will learn how to effectively and appropriately employ a range of research methodologies and critical perspectives, including the ability to interrogate, evaluate and explore Musical Theatre ‘texts’ and processes. For students who wish to develop an entrepreneurial approach and set up their own theatre company, this MA will enable you to explore performance and event creation utilising organisational and managerial skills and industry knowledge.

What you will study on this degree

Please see guidance below on core modules for further information on what you will study.

Research Methodology and Proposal    

You will explore the usefulness of different research methods in analysing and developing your understanding of popular theatres/performance and practice-as-research in musical theatre and propose your own research project

Critical Perspectives and Repertoire

Explore key critical perspectives relating to popular theatres/performances, semiotics, historiography, phenomenology, and approaches to performance theory relevant to popular theatres/performances in general and musical theatre in particular

Musical Theatre Laboratory 1 (crafts)

This module has two components; the first examines the range of principles and criteria for artistic selection, and how they convert into subsidiary working practices for librettist, lyricist, composer, director, choreographer, musical director, performer or teacher. The second aspect fosters individual practice and development of personal craft through exploration of collaborative practice crucial to this most complex of forms

Specialist Craft

You will undertake a series of directed creative exercises, aimed at further developing your technical skills and processes. This will be supported by the study of the properties and expressive modes available in a specific discipline and extended specialist study of artists or material connected to your chosen specialism

Musical Theatre Laboratory 2 (ensemble)

You will create and explore musical theatre material in a workshop and rehearsal context leading to public performance/presentation as part of a mini-festival produced by the group

Dissertation and Project

You will plan and deliver a linked final creative/practical project and written dissertation which will demonstrate an advanced level of mastery of your specific craft and the ability to articulate your own and others working practice in your field employing an appropriate critical perspective

Further guidance on modules

The information listed in the section entitled 'What you will study' is an overview of the academic content of the programme that will take the form of either core or option modules. Modules are designated as core or option in accordance with professional body requirements and internal Academic Framework review, so may be subject to change. Students will be required to undertake modules that the University designates as core and will have a choice of designated option modules. It should be noted that option modules will be offered subject to meeting minimum student numbers.
Please email if you require further guidance or clarification.

How will I be assessed?

Assessments are a mixture of practical work, including performance, and written work, giving you the opportunity to demonstrate the required level of learning and achievement.

Practical work assessment is negotiated and agreed in a Learning Contract with tutors and will be appropriate to your specific discipline.   Your ongoing progress will be fed back to you via regular one-to-ones with course tutors and other formative assessment in class and rehearsal.

Staff research interests

You will be taught by leading academics and practitioners who have a wealth of experience, either as actors, directors, musical directors, choreographers, writers, composers or producers.

​Staff research interests include:

  • Composition, lyric and libretto - musico-dramatic structures and narrative/notional treatments
  • Authenticity and theatricality
  • Aesthetic philosophy
  • The work of director/choreographers
  • Queer theory and radical vaudeville
  • The musical as satire
  • Melodrama and pantomime
  • Liverpool and NW Regional Theatre History
  • The British Musical
  • Cabaret as autobiography
  • Director/actor working processes in the musical theatre
  • Integrated performance – beyond the ‘triple threat’

​Programme Leader, Dr Nick Phillips was awarded the first UK PhD (Hull University) in modern Musical Theatre in 1990. Nick has been Head of Acting at both the Central School of Speech & Drama, and LIPA, before joining LJMU to introduce the MA in Musical Theatre and subsequently take on the role of Programme Leader of all Drama provision. Nick is an award-winning actor, composer/lyricist/librettist and director and is currently creating his follow-up to his 2014/15 autobiographical cabaret show Ecce Homo (commissioned by Homotopia).

Nick has written a dozen musicals, several stage plays and adaptations, original cabarets for himself and others, several pantomimes, a chamber opera, and his Red Ribbon Requiem for soloists, choir and orchestra, as premiered by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus. Nick’s early professional life was as Naughty Nickers with gay clown troupe Bloolips, with whom he received a NY Obie Award in 1981. Nick has delivered papers at conferences on Musical Theatre In Education (a new approach to inter-disciplinary training), Sondheim (love among the radio mics – the reinvention of the love duet), and at the international Song Stage and Screen conference (The Diva and the four Ds) and has a book in preparation.

As well as Dr Phillips, core team tutors include Dr Roz Merkin and Dr Andrew Sherlock, along with regular visting tutors, Sally Rapier (Director/Choreographer and current Beatrice Lillie, PhD Schoalr at the Central School of Speech & Drama) and Chris Davey (Director/Burlesque performer/artist and tutor, PhD scholar in Burlesque at Roehampton).

Guest Tutors in 2017/18 will include:

  • Dillie Keane (Fascinating Aida, writer/actor)
  • Richard Thomas (Comoser – Jerry Springer The Opera, lyricist Made In Dagenham)
  • Jonathan Harvey (Playwright and TV screenwriter)
  • Struan Leslie (Former Movement Director RSC, Tutor and choreographer)
  • Simon Deacon (Composer and Musical Director, jazz performer)


Entry requirements (Home)

​You will usually need:

A 2:1 undergraduate degree in a performing arts related subject


A minimum of three years professional training or significant relevant musical theatre  experience, accompanied by demonstrable creative potential and critical thinking assessed through interview/audition and written submission.

The above should demonstrate that you have a sufficient level of knowledge to embark upon the programme (including the required linguistic competence) and to complete the programme within the required time limits. You should provide evidence, in the view of assessors, of your learning capability, study opportunity and commitment to a postgraduate programme of study.

All applicants will be  called for interview in person or, where not possible, via Skype/Facetime.

You must also prepare one of the following to evidence your specific experience and/or craft in musical theatre performance, creation or pedagogy:

a) For performers - an audition of two contrasting songs (at least one of which must be from the musical theatre repertoire) and a spoken monologue. You should provide sheet music for your two songs for piano accompaniment (a pianist will be provided on the day of your audition/interview)

b) For directors, MDs and choreographers - recorded evidence of your work (preferably on USB stick or your own tablet/laptop) where possible, along with any further documentary evidence of your experience, including a list of productions and/or programmes, designs, etc.

c) For librettists, lyricists and composers - at least two examples of your work as follows:

1. Librettists - synopses or outlines of two shows either written or in development, with at least one scene in script form from both and at least one of these to lead into song/dance.

2. Lyricists - at least two full songs, preferably of contrasting style, and preferably in both notated form (script) and recorded (audio or video) in rehearsal/performance. These can be recordings made especially for this presentation.

3. Composers - at least two full songs, preferably of contrasting style, and preferably both notated (piano/vocal score) and recorded (audio or video) in rehearsal/performance. These can be recordings made especially for this presentation.

d) For producers or educators, any documentary or recorded evidence of at least two projects undertaken.

In addition, all candidates should bring along a theatre CV outlining their relevant musical theatre and/or other performance experience in any capacity or role. Any other supporting material is also welcome.

In the interview, we will ask you to articulate not only your background and interest in musical theatre but also the reasons why you wish to undertake this course and what you hope to get out of it.  You will also be expected to demonstrate your ability to articulate ideas and critique of musical theatre at a level appropriate to Masters study. Where possible, this assessment will take the form of a group seminar discussion.  The interview will be held with at least two members of staff, normally the Programme Leader and one of the delivery team.  

In the event of any query regarding preparation, please do not hesitate to contact the Programme Leader for further clarification.

Entry requirements (International)

LJMU welcomes applications from international students. In addition to normal entry requirements, you will be expected to demonstrate a very good level of English language competence, for example an IELTS score of 6.0-6.5 or equivalent. Please note: specific courses may require higher levels of English language competence. If you have applied to study a full-time taught Masters, MRes, MPhil or PhD at LJMU, you should check if you require an Academic Technology Approval Scheme or ATAS certificate. It can take four to six weeks to receive an ATAS certificate, so please make sure you apply as early as possible. You can find out more on the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website. Alternatively, contact LJMU’s International Admissions Team for guidance. Please note: international students entering on a Tier 4 visa cannot study part time. Students entering the UK on alternate types of visa may be in a position to study part time. Please contact LJMU’s International Admissions Team for further details before making your application.  In order to obtain a visa you will also need to show evidence that the money required to cover your tuition fees and living expenses has been in your bank account for at least 28 days prior to submitting your visa application. So please make sure that your finances are in place before applying. For more details, go to our international website

For advice on any aspect of the application process, please contact LJMU’s International Admissions Team.

Application and selection

​Decisions regarding whether to offer a place to an applicant are made on the basis of academic attainment and potential to benefit from the programme.

Will I be interviewed?

​Yes. Applicants will be required to present evidence of respective skills and experience in musical theatre, either in the form of live/recorded audition or portfolio as appropriate.


6.5 (Minimum of 5.5 in each component)


58-64 (Min 51 in each component for UKBA Purposes)

Is RPL accepted on this programme?


Please Note: All international qualifications are subject to a qualification equivalency check via NARIC.

Financial support

Financial support.

​​Tuition fees

All full and part-time students enrolled on postgraduate taught programmes at LJMU are liable to pay an annual tuition fee. You can opt to pay your tuition fees in full at the start of each academic year or pay by instalments. If you need advice about how you will pay your tuition fees, please email LJMU’s Student Funding Team as soon as possible.

Sources of funding:

Postgraduate loans

Postgraduate Masters loans are available for the 2017/18 academic year. The new loans, of up to £10,000, will be available for students attending eligible full and part-time Masters courses, in line with the existing qualification framework for England. Administered by the Student Loan Company, the loans will be available to those under 60 at the start of their course.For details of loan terms, conditions and eligibility, go to:

LJMU Alumni Award

Final year undergraduates and alumni of the University are eligible to apply for a 20% reduction in their postgraduate tuition fees if they choose to progress onto a higher degree programme at LJMU. Both Home and international LJMU students and alumni can apply for this award (subject to eligibility criteria*).

Postgraduate International Scholarships

LJMU offers scholarships for international applicants accepted onto taught masters programmes (excluding distance learning programmes) and research degrees. Current LJMU international students and alumni interested in pursuing postgraduate study and research at the University are eligible to apply for these scholarships along with new applicants.

English for Postgraduate Studies Bursary

A Bursary is also available for international students who need to improve their IELTS score prior to enrolling on their postgraduate course or research programme at the University. This course is run by LJMU’s International Study Centre.

Earn While You Learn

Working while you study means you may be able to pay for your course without taking out any further loans or at least reducing the amount you need to borrow. Working while you study also gives you the skills valued by employers, such as managing your workload and prioritising your time. LJMU’s Vacancy website can help you find graduate vacancies, sandwich/industrial placements, internships / summer work, part-time jobs, volunteering opportunities and work-based learning placements. Over 1,000 local and regional employers regularly list opportunities on the website.

Professional and Career Development Loans (PCDL)

Many students fund their postgraduate studies via Professional and Career Development Loans. This is a bank loan which you will have to pay back once you've completed the course. However, while you are studying any interest on the loan will be paid for you by the Skills Funding Agency. PCDLs worth between £300 and £10,000 are available for eligible postgraduates to fund up to two years of study (three if the course includes work experience). The loan is split into course fees and living costs.

Employer sponsorship

Some organisations and companies fund the cost of postgraduate studies for their employees as they recognise the value of having well qualified staff. Check out our courses and see if there are any on offer that could enhance your current career. Remember, employer support doesn't always have to be financial; it can take other forms too, such as flexible working arrangements, day release and time in lieu of study.

Support for disabled students

Disabled Students' Allowances or DSAs are designed to help meet the extra course costs students can face as a direct result of a disability, on-going health condition, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty. DSAs don't have to be paid back and the type of support you receive will be determined by your specific needs not your household income. Please contact LJMU's Disability team for further advice: 0151 231 3164/3165.

Council tax exemption

All full-time postgraduate students studying courses lasting one year or more are eligible for a council tax exemption certificate.

Graduate employment

The degree is aimed largely at applicants who consider themselves ‘musical theatre artists’, whatever the context of their activities – professional, amateur, or educational.

​It will have an appeal for librettists, lyricists, composers, directors, choreographers, musical directors, performers and teachers – though not exclusively so; anyone involved in and interested in getting better at making musical theatre (as well as meeting entry criteria, of course) is welcome to apply. Please note, the MA is not intended as a specific training for performance itself, but will benefit those who are performers in the understanding and ownership of their work as well as providing opportunities for them to develop high-level skills in the process of creating work from scratch.

​In addition, for those with backgrounds in composition, orchestration, playwriting, poetry, etc, it is an opportunity to apply those skills to the specific demands of the musical theatre’s dramatic and theatrical imperatives.

For directors, choreographers and musical directors who have experience across their specific disciplines, the course is providing the opportunity to hone more general techniques to the specific demands of the genre, acquiring new languages and processes in developing effective practice.

International Scholarships

Studying at LJMU offers international students excellent value for money and the opportunity to secure an internationally-respected qualification plus outstanding career prospects.

Each year, LJMU offers a range of prestigious international scholarships. Further details of the scholarships offered to applicants wishing to study at the University from September 2017 onwards will be available on this page in the coming months.

For the most up-to-date information about studying at Liverpool John Moores University, and the International Scholarship programme, please visit the International pages.

International Foundation Year and International Year One programmes

LJMU offers international students the option of completing International Foundation Year and International Year One programmes at the University’s International Study Centre. These courses are managed and taught by Study Group, a world leader in education and training for international  students. For more details on the International Study Centre, go to

English language qualifications

All international applicants must have an internationally recognised English language qualification, such as IELTS (International English Language Testing Service). Your English language qualification must have been certified within the last two years for verification purposes. LJMU will accept other UKVI-recognised English language tests providing you attain the appropriate level.

This table summarises the minimum scores required by LJMU.

Please note: your specific course requirements may differ.

For course-specific English Language requirements, click the Entry Requirements tab above.

To find out what qualifications are applicable in your country please visit the international pages.

Type of Programme IELTS Pearson
International Foundation Programme 4.5 50-57 (Min. 51 in each component for UKVI Purposes)
Undergraduate degrees 6.0 50-57 (Min. 51 in each component for UKVI Purposes)
MPharm 7.0 Not accepted

English language support to improve IELTS

If your English language level does not meet the required entry requirements for your course you may still be offered a place on the condition that you successfully complete an English for Undergraduate Study course at LJMU’s International Study Centre.

Please contact the International Study Centre and talk to one of our multi-lingual Student Enrolment Advisers ( or email: for more details.

Tuition fees

International students are liable to pay a minimum of 50% of their tuition fees when they complete their enrolment at the University. The outstanding balance must be paid in full within 4 months of your enrolment date.

Living Costs

When you apply for your visa or entry clearance, you will need to provide evidence of having enough money to support yourself for the duration of your programme and to pay for all of your living expenses. The good news is that the cost of living in Liverpool is one of the lowest in England, which means your money will go even further, allowing you to enjoy your student experience to the full.

In addition to academic fees, you must budget for living costs such as accommodation, food, clothing, books, local travel and entertainment. The UKVI requires that students studying outside London must have £9,135 to pay for their living costs (or £1,015 per month).

LJMU’s undergraduate courses run over an academic calendar of nine months so you will need to show that you have at least £9,135. If your course lasts 6 months you will need to demonstrate you have £6,090.

Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)

Before you can apply for permission to enter or remain in the UK under Tier 4 you will require a valid Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies or CAS. LJMU will only assign a CAS once you have satisfied the conditions of any offer made to you and you satisfy the University’s obligations as a Tier 4 Sponsor. For more details, visit the international students section.

Academic Technology Approval Scheme Certificate (ATAS)

If you have applied to study an Enhanced Undergraduate Degree (such as an MEng) course at LJMU, you should check if you require an Academic Technology Approval Scheme or ATAS certificate.

You can find out more on the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website:

Alternatively, contact LJMU’s International Admissions Team ( guidance.

Your visa application

As soon as you have received an offer of a place at LJMU you should contact the Entry Clearance Office at the British Embassy, British High Commission or Consular Office in your own country to check whether you need a visa for entry into Britain. You are advised to do this as soon as you can as the visa application process can take a long time.

Please Note: To obtain an Entry Visa you should go to the British Embassy or High Commission in your own country, and present the following documents:

  • Passport
  • A valid LJMU Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)
  • Evidence of financial support for the programme
  • Two recent photographs of yourself (passport-size)
  • All relevant educational diplomas and certificates (as stated in your CAS)
  • A declaration of your intent to return home on completion of your course of study

The University may make changes to a programme of study or module where such changes are deemed to be beneficial to students, are minor in nature and unlikely to impact negatively upon students or become necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the University.
Further guidance on programme changes

Take the next steps towards your future today