QMU Instagram Recruitment Event

Join us on Instagram Live to chat with current QMU students and recruitment staff about anything and everything QMU.

Whether you are considering an application or already have an offer from us, come along and have the chance to have any questions you may have answered and find out more about QMU.

Where: Instagram Live - https://www.instagram.com/qmuni

Date/Time: Wednesday July 13th from 12 - 1pm

Postgraduate Taught

MA Digital Performance

Digital performance has rapidly become integral to contemporary practice in the Performing Arts. Equip yourself with in-demand skills in this field, on one of the most forward-looking postgraduate courses in the UK.

How can you engage audiences in a digital world through original content? How can you translate live performance work to digital and find your own artistic voice online? If you’re a current performing arts professional looking to skill up, or a recent graduate who would like to be at the forefront of performance practice, this course will give you practical expertise in online performance making, and deep knowledge of the contemporary digital arts shift.

Why QMU?

  • The course is designed to meet not just the current industry shift towards digital, but also future hybrid developments in the industry. You’ll be well placed to produce creative content to compete in an increasingly digitalised performing arts field.
  • You will work in a personal and collegiate environment that nurtures creative talent, which will enable you to build your digital performance portfolio.
  • You’ll be part of an international cohort of students working closely and collaboratively with staff.
  • You’ll benefit from a range of professional expertise including input from leading practitioners in the field.
  • The focus of this MA is unique in Scotland and the UK.

Course overview

The landscape of theatre and performance has evolved in recent years, and the way people consume art is changing. Digital performance is increasingly intertwined in the work that is being created and how it is shared.

The programme will provide students with frameworks and experiential learning that cover both the practice and theories of performance on the Internet, as well as its currency within the industry and the development of entrepreneurial opportunities. You will learn skills in how to develop trust, intimacy, and collaboration in online ensembles, which will be very appealing to future employers. Also, the programme will place you well for self-employment, with an awareness of potential platforms, festivals, and networks to allow you to set up and monetise your own individual or collaborative practices.

This programme is for all existing levels of digital experience –you do not need to be an expert in advance! A standard laptop and smartphone are the only tech requirements, as QMU will loan any additional kit as necessary.
Popular platforms (such as Twitch, Zoom, BBB, jitsi, Gather.town, Second Life etc) will be explored, as well as applications that have been purpose built by performance artists specifically for digital performance.

All students will have access to Adobe Creative Cloud to work remotely, as well as access to our well-resourced edit suite and performance studios.

This programme is designed for people who are involved in making performance as part of their professional practice, and also recent graduates who aspire to develop their work in this field. You will be able to perform in your own work, or involve others in your performance making. The programme will also develop your awareness of practice research with a potential progression to doctoral study, if desired.

You will be equipped with:
• A critical understanding of the conceptual frameworks underpinning online / digital / internet performance practices
• The skills to apply this knowledge in a practical working context
• A critical understanding of the ethics involved in collaborating creatively with others in an online, often participatory and interactive environment
• An ability to critically reflect on professional development through digital performance practice

Exit awards

MA (180 credits)/PgDip (120 credits)/PgCert (60 credits)


You can opt to study for the full MA, a PgDip or a PgCert. You can also register as an associate student to complete a single module for CPD. On completion of a single module, you may wish to complete further modules and progress your studies to a named award.

Teaching, learning and assessment

Teaching comprises a combination of workshops, lectures, seminars, tutorials, case studies, simulation exercises, projects, as well as periods of practice-based learning. Assessment throughout the course will take a variety of forms, including practical digital performances, video essays, reports, research proposals, as well as a practice-based dissertation for the final MA component.

Teaching hours and attendance

Your specific timetable will depend on whether you are studying full-time, part-time or an individual module. Each module involves approximately 25 hours of face-to-face teaching. This will be a mixture of weekly classes combined with a series of intensive study days. Timetables are normally available around one month before you commence your studies. Teaching delivery will be blended (live/online), though campus attendance will be required for most modules. The two taught semesters run from September to December and mid-January to mid-April.

Class sizes

Class sizes will depend on modules chosen but will normally be between 10-25 students. Workshops will be restricted in size and you will work in small groups.

Industry links

Teaching staff have extensive professional experience, plus national and international networks to draw from. Our location in Edinburgh also means you are well placed to take advantage of the cultural context, including easy access to a range of world-class arts festivals.


To obtain a PgCert, you will complete:

  • Online Performance Practice (20 credits): Students will learn the fundamental principles and techniques underpinning performance making on a variety of online platforms. They will create their own practical online performance project under the guidance of staff, critically evaluating its efficacy in relation to the chosen medium.
  • Theories and Histories of Performance on the Internet (20 credits): Taking the last 30 years of historical perspective as a foundation, this module examines the conceptual justification of online performance making, using case studies and relevant examples of digital content. You will be able to appraise both histories and practical legacies, as well as the role of the Internet in building and developing new models of audience engagement and participation.
  • Performance Making for Digital Audiences (20 credits): This module will allow you to understand relationships and engagement with online audiences, creating a speculative online performance project and explore how to make it financially viable in the ‘real’ world. Budgets and marketing plans will be employed to guide students towards career sustainability. 

To obtain a PgDip, you will also complete:

  • Practice Research (20 credits): This module is practice-led and driven by reflective considerations on the student’s own practice, but being exposed to case-studies, lone-projects, as well as their own experimentation. This module also receives insights from guest speakers and experts in the field who can speak of their own practical experience of engaging in online performance projects.
  • The Only Way is Ethics: Art Representation and Ethics (20 credits): The module is designed to develop the critical and practical skills needed for students to engage with the public in the delivery of cultural projects, both live and digital. It looks at examples from history as well as contemporaneous projects that engage with people at the ethical edges of participation to challenge the student to develop their own ethical frameworks.
  • Plus a 20-credit elective.

Elective modules could include: 

  • Student Initiated Module (20 credits): This module provides students with an opportunity to extend and deepen their critical and integrated knowledge of a selected area of study relevant to their Master's programme through undertaking a self-directed piece of work.  Examples could include (but are not limited to) the design of an online creative event, production of a practical output such as hybrid performance work, designing a virtual theatre set, planning an online performance festival, responding to an industry competition or funding call, or an external placement. 
  • Planning and Marketing Cultural Projects (20 credits): This modules looks at the practical realities of managing and marketing cultural projects and learning occurs around hypothetical projects that the students plan and market in groups.
  • Fundraising, Finance and Development (20 credits): This module will equip students with a critical understanding of the principles and practices of fundraising, development and financial management. The assessments invite students to examine financial support mechanisms (eg, completing a funding application or designing a sponsorship pack) as well as financial literacy exam.

For an MA you will also complete a Master’s Dissertation Project (60 credits), which can be practice-based if desired. Through undertaking a self-directed project that suits your strengths, interests and career aspirations, you will have the opportunity to undertake a substantial piece of work that will develop your academic rigour, professional skills, and independence in practice. This can be a 12,000 word research dissertation, or a Practical Project with associated portfolio of evidence and 5000 word reflective essay.

The modules listed are correct at time of posting (October 2021) but are subject to change. In the event that modules change, QMU will seek to use reasonable endeavours to ensure that there is no detrimental impact on students.


Single modules for CPD

Available. Register as an associate student to study single modules in areas of interest. Contact Bianca Mastrominico for more information.


There are several opportunities to apply the theory and practice you learn on ‘real world’ projects. You can choose to undertake a placement through the SIM module, working directly with other individuals or organisations, and also your practical dissertation project offers opportunities for industry experience. Students are responsible for proposing and securing their own placement host and related costs (eg travel and accommodation) but we will help you with CVs and provide networking opportunities with a range of organisations.


This course aims to help students develop their own freelance career, but will also meet the growing needs of arts organisations seeking to develop their digital content or delivery. Potential career paths include as performers, writers, directors, broadcasting advisors, digital content creators, or in-house digital producers.

We also support entrepreneurial graduates to set up their own businesses. Since 2014 we have supported a range of graduate start up media and performance production businesses through our Business Innovation Zone.

Entry requirements

A UK honours degree or equivalent OR significant work experience in cultural organisations or festivals.

International: You will be required to provide evidence of English language competence at no less than IELTS 6.5 with no individual component score less than 6.0.

Application deadline


Start dates

September 2022. Part-time students can also start in January 2023. 

More information and contacts

Contact Bianca Mastrominico or Admissions  (admissions@qmu.ac.uk

Fees and transitionary scholarships for postgraduate EU students in 21/22 and 22/23

As part of our management of the Brexit transition, for many of our courses, including this one, we have introduced an EU transitional scholarship for EU full-time postgraduate students commencing their studies on campus in academic years 2021/22 and 2022/23. This provides a 40% discount on international tuition fees. The scholarship is available to EU students for whom the international fee rate applies and covers the courses marked with a # in the Postgraduate Fees – Full-Time Study section of our Fees page. This transitional scholarship is not applicable to students from the Republic of Ireland, who will continue to be eligible for the home fee rate.

View course presentation 2022

Please Note:

The delivery of this course is subject to the terms and conditions set out in our 2022/2023 Entry - Terms and Conditions (Postgraduate).

Teaching staff is subject to change.