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MAContemporary Physical Performance Making (CPPM)

Tuition fee €13,000 per year
Application fee €50 one-time
More information 



The deadline for submitting your online application is 1 FEBRUARY 2021.

The first selection will be based on your application, creative portfolio, motivation letter and references, so be sure that your application is complete and gives a good overview of your professional experience, artistic vision and creative ambition. If your application has been successful, you will be invited to take part in one of our international auditions in early May (place TBC).

In very rare circumstances, a candidate who demonstrates an exceptionally high quality of creative work with an international reputation may be admitted without attending an audition. This decision is made by the admission panel after careful examination of the candidate’s application, artistic portfolio, motivation letter, references and interview.

We aim to let all applicants know about the audition results by 1 May 2021.

The MA in Contemporary Physical Performance Making (CPPM) is a ground-breaking course that takes postgraduate education out of classroom, putting practical experience with world-leading makers of performance at the heart of the learning process. You will work alongside some of the most exciting creators, choreographers and companies to further your own creative practice through active collaboration, devising and performance.

Uniquely, the course recasts the teacher-student relationship as one in which you will act as fellow collaborators with the guest artists. You will work closely with these leading experts as a company in the same way in which they run their own rehearsal room, putting real-world working methods at the very centre of the learning process. It is a practical apprenticeship in the studio, face to face with masters from every aspect of theatre and performance making, where you will develop your craft by creating and experimenting. Since you will not be working as a student, but as a fellow company member, you will be expected to show the same level of commitment, creativity and professionalism that these artists normally demand.

The ideal candidate is a committed artist who aspires to articulate, develop and establish their own vision through contact with a wide variety of styles and aesthetics. The course encourages you, as an artist, to experiment boldly and uncompromisingly in a safe, non-judgemental environment. You will be inspired to define your own creative voice, training methods, and ways of working. Questioning artistic norms and challenging your own preconceptions will be encouraged at every step.

Over the two years of study, you will follow four terms of intensive study, organised into periods of two or three months in the studio, followed by a vacation in which you are encouraged to continue developing your craft. Your experimentation and discoveries will not be confined to the walls of the University as you will be constantly creating and testing your work in front of an audience. Each of the four terms culminates with a public performance and the expectation is that you will continue to develop and produce your creations after your graduate.

You will be taught by leading practitioners from all over the world. They have already made a great impact on the industry and are all currently creating ground-breaking work, continuing to build on highly successful and innovative careers. Confirmed companies teaching on the course 2019-2021 include Gecko Theatre (UK), Jasmin Vardimon Company (UK), Troubleyn (Belgium), Rimini Protokoll (Germany), SITI Company (USA), Complicite (UK), Izumi Ashizawa Performance (USA/Japan), Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch (Germany), Djalma Primordial Science (France), Butoh-Ma (Germany), EnCorps (Greece), Fuoco alla Paglia (Italy), Physical Lab (UK), Theatre Re (UK), Kinetic Theatre Project (Russia), freelance practitioners Lorna Marshall (UK), Christina Teague-Mann (USA), Fran Barbe (Australia), Stacy Makishi (UK), Paeder Kirk (UK), Imanuel Schipper (Germany), Simona Gonella (Italy/UK), Amy Russell (Tasmania), Clara McBride (Canada), Konstantinos Thomaidis (UK), Agnieszka Mendel (Poland), Janek Zórawski (Gardzienice, Poland), Viktor Lukawski. We are still in conversation with many other companies but, due to their very busy schedules, their involvement will be confirmed in due course.

The programme is divided into four terms over two years. The terms are organised into periods of two or three months during which you will work intensively at the school. During these, you are expected to be at school and fully dedicate your time to your studies and training. School weeks run from Monday to Saturday, with days usually starting at 9am with lectures and skills development classes, then working with the resident guest artist, and continuing on with seminars, tutorials and rehearsals until 9pm. Some study blocks will take place outside Estonia and further information will be given to all students well in advance of the beginning study.

Term dates for 2019-21 were set as following

Term One
29 July – 29 September 2019
25 November 2019 – 1 February 2020
Term Two
30 March – 28 June 2020

Term Three
3 August – 27 September 2020
23 November – 31 January 2021
Term Four
1 March – 7 June 2021

During off-periods, you can either stay in Estonia with provision for rehearsal space to collaborate with your peers, or you can return to your own company and continue with your own creative practice. However, even during off-periods, your studies continue with weekly online lectures, seminars and self-led studio-based research. During term time, you will be introduced to a wide variety of techniques and methods of working; these take time to settle in and the breaks present an opportunity to do your own research, develop your practice and create work with your peers or with your own company.

If you have general enquiries about the course, contact Course Coordinator Ms Liina Jääts via email or call +(372) 6272862.

Programme structure

The curriculum has four main strands:
1) Residencies with Guest Artists and Skills Development
2) Creative Projects
3) History, Theory and Research Methods
4) Dissertation Project

Contemporary Performance Practices 1 (15 ECTS)
Creative Project: Solo Performance (10 ECTS)
Contextual Studies: Tracing the Trails (5 ECTS)
Theories and Strategies of Creativity and Learning (5 ECTS)

Contemporary Performance Practices 2 (15 ECTS)
Creative Project: Devising Performance (10 ECTS)
Mapping the Field: Contemporary Performance (5 ECTS)
Practice as Research: Structure, Documentation, Presentation (5 ECTS)

Contemporary Performance Practices 3 (15 ECTS)
Creative Project: Beyond Performance (10 ECTS)
Theatre and Performance Research Methods (5 ECTS)
International Project Management (5 ECTS)

Dissertation Project (15 ECTS)

The first three terms consist of a wide variety of Residencies with Guest Artists, creative projects and contextual studies. The fourth term culminates with your Dissertation Project, during which you will create your own piece of work, defining your own artistic manifesto, and present it to an audience with the expectation that you go on to produce it professionally.

The vast majority of your studies will be spent in the studio: training, creating, devising, and rehearsing with internationally renowned guest artists. You will be working intensively for 1-2 weeks with one guest, which will allow you to immerse yourself in their creative process and each ending with an informal presentation. All guest artists are practising professionals, creating and touring their work internationally and, through many years of research and development, have created their own unique way of working. Therefore, in these intensive residencies you will not be learning from lessons of the past, but first hand from people who have created and continue to develop their own methodologies. The course accepts that there is no one singular ‘best’ approach, which is why you will be working with artists from different backgrounds and areas of expertise: Text-based and Post-dramatic Theatre, Site-specific and Immersive Performance, Multimedia, Installation and Performance Art, Verbatim and Political Theatre, Physical Theatre and Tanztheater.

What makes this course unique is the way it negotiates the teacher-student relationship. Guest Artists don’t come to teach you as students, but to work with you as professionals. For 1-2 weeks, the cohort will become their company and will work as these artists normally do in their creative process. This means that same level of commitment and professionalism is expected from you as might be expected from their own company members, with all of the benefits that come with working in such a way.

This strand is also supported by skills development in which you will be introduced to various disciplines to improve your physical and vocal skills. These will include but are not limited to Alexander technique, Vocal Performance, Singing, Vocal Improvisation, Capoeira, Yoga, Qi-Gong, Contact Improvisation, and Contemporary Dance. This strand has flexibility to suit the needs of students who are accepted on the course.

Your creativity and creative stamina will be challenged at every step during your studies. Each 1-2 week residency with Guest Artists ends with an informal presentation, allowing you to engage with every stage of the creative process that these Guest Artists propose. Each term culminates with a public performance produced professionally in collaboration with various theatre companies in Estonia. During term one, which is dedicated to solo performance, you will be creating several solo shows: an autobiographical piece, a drag show and adapting Greek tragedy into a solo performance. Term two is focussed on devising as an ensemble and, at the end of the term, you will be working with one of our guest directors over a six-week period to produce a devised ensemble piece. Term three will centre on the possibilities of applied theatre, where you will adapt existing work to create a fusion of old and new work. Term four is entirely dedicated to your dissertation project: the piece of work that you will create as a manifestation of your own unique artistic vision. In addition, there will be continuous composition, dramaturgy, adaptation and playwriting workshops to further develop your advanced creative and devising skills.

This course does not isolate you from your existing professional creative practice, but creates a safe, inspiring, yet challenging environment in which you can focus and refine your unique artistic vision. You will leave the course with at least four professional productions that can be taken forward for further development and performed once you have finished your studies. In order to support this, you will be taught strategies for managing your career and the practical side of being an artist, including applying to festivals, for grants and funding, organising tours, conferences and workshops. This course is not an endpoint, but a springboard to establish your artistic career.

You will also support your growth as an artist with contextual, theoretical and historical studies. Your practical immersion in making performance will be supported by attending lectures about the history of performing arts, theories and strategies for learning and creativity and mapping the field of contemporary performance. In addition to theatre and performance research methods, you will acquire advanced skills in Practice as Research so that you are able to design, document and present your artistic research to a wider artistic and academic communities. You will reflect critically on your own growth and place your artistic work in the wider theoretical and historical context of performance through blogs, reflective journals, portfolios and essays. In this way, you can observe and guide your own development during this very demanding two-year training course.


The fourth term culminates with your Dissertation Project, during which you will create your own piece of work, defining your own artistic manifesto, and present it professionally. It will be entirely up to you what your dissertation project is and whether you want to work alone, with your CPPM peers, other collaborators outside of the academy or with your own company if you have one. You will start preparing for this at the beginning of the second year and you will be given all-rounded support and mentorship to facilitate this process.

Career opportunities

Access to further study: Doctoral Program

Professional status: The right to be employed in a position requiring Master´s Degree or corresponding qualification

Apply now! Fall semester 2019/20
Application period has ended
Studies commence
Jul 29, 2019

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States

Apply now! Fall semester 2019/20
Application period has ended
Studies commence
Jul 29, 2019

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States