Postgraduate Taught

MA Stage Management & Technical Theatre Production

This MA is the only postgraduate course of its kind in the UK and has been re-developed in response to the changing needs of the industry and in consultation with previous graduates. We designed the course as a conversion degree, and we welcome applicants from non-arts related subjects.

This course is ideal if you want to add a vocational stage management emphasis to your undergraduate degree, or if you have significant workplace experience and would like to gain a formal qualification.

Why QMU?

  • This is the only postgraduate course of its kind in Scotland and it is both practical and critically reflective.
  • You’ll enjoy being part of a small cohort of students, working closely and collaboratively with staff who will get to know your strengths and areas for development.
  • Run in partnership with the Edinburgh Stage Management School, which combines a well-established industry focus with successful graduate employment.
  • Draw from the hard-won experience of a range of guest lecturers from key cultural organisations and associated industries.

Course overview

From theatre productions and arts festivals to music gigs and charity events, the entertainment and live events industries are growing rapidly. At the same time, the work of stage managers is becoming more complex and technically challenging. This means that arts and events companies are looking for skilled stage managers with more holistic and integrated perspectives regarding the management of entertainment and live events and the artistic, economic, social and environmental conditions in which they function.

This course has been developed in response to this need and is rooted in a belief that effective stage managers need training that is both practical and critically reflective. It will develop your knowledge of the contemporary issues affecting the management of entertainment and live events while equipping you with the practical skills that are essential for developing a career in the field.
The course is run in partnership with the Edinburgh Stage Management School, which specialises in postgraduate vocational training and combines a well-established industry focus with successful graduate employment. It combines the best aspects of the vocational, practical and academic models.

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.

Teaching, learning and assessment

Teaching comprises a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, case studies, simulation exercises and projects. You will also undertake professional practice. Your performance on the course will be assessed by essays, reports, a portfolio, presentations and a dissertation or project.

Teaching hours and attendance

Each module will require you to attend classes and carry out independent work. Most modules consist of five or six hours of class time each day during the teaching periods of the semester.

Teaching for each module is primarily Monday-Friday, 9.30am-5pm, but some weekend and evening sessions may also be included.

Class sizes

Normally, there are around six to eight students enrolling on the course each year.

Industry links

Our partnership with The Edinburgh Stage Management School ensures an active industry focus to the course with key professional practitioners delivering master classes and practical workshops. Our location in the ‘Festival City’ also allows for strong practical links between the course and the many arts, festival and cultural organisations based in and around Edinburgh, across Scotland and the UK.


Managing People & Projects: Theory & Practice (20 credits): This module will:

  • Introduce students to the theories and structures underpinning the discipline of Stage Management
  • Enable students to analyse and evaluate the different team structures that are used across the entertainment industry
  • Allow them to critically examine, and reflect on, ways in which different skill sets may be adapted and applied to the Stage Management profession.
  • Develop students’ existing research skills and introduce them to a variety of methodologies relevant to their chosen field.

Technical Practice for Live Performance (20 credits): This module will provide students with the theories underpinning theatre lighting, sound, and AV. It will also allow them to put their knowledge into practice, both with equipment in the classroom and in outside venues, such as the Traverse Theatre. In addition to developing practical skills unpinned by relevant theory, students will learn to critically analyse technical theatre practices in a wide range of contexts throughout the live entertainment industry.

Professional Practice 1 (40 credits): This module aims to introduce the student to the professional working environment and enable the student to use their experiences to critically reflect on current working practices in Stage Management and technical theatre production.

Professional Practice 2 (40 credits): This module will allow students to:

  • integrate and synthesize critical theoretical knowledge and understanding and technical skills developed in the different modules of the course and apply these in a practical working environment
  • gain insight into working practices in a chosen area of Stage Management
  • exercise autonomy and initiative, gaining experience of working effectively as a member of staff in a practitioner setting and, based on this and knowledge gained from the course, developing a critical appreciation of operating and managing professionally in a working environment
  • reflect on the practice, attributes and skillset, required for a career in the creative industries
  • evaluate their own career ambitions in the context of the industry

Dissertation/Project (60 credits): Through undertaking a project that suits their strengths, interests and career aspirations, participants will have the opportunity to undertake a substantial piece of work that will develop their academic rigour, professional skills, independence and self-direction. They will explore and apply relevant academic or professional approaches and practical skills, including those acquired in the taught component of the programme. Their work will allow them to explore a topic or area of interest to a degree of critical depth that will provide them with a valuable level of expertise in an area relevant to their professional interests and career aspirations. In completing their project they will have produced a piece of original work which offers reflections, recommendations or conclusions that have the potential to contribute to the continued development of Stage Management practice.

The modules listed here are correct at time of posting (October 2021) but are subject to change. In the event that modules do change, QMU will seek to use reasonable endeavours to ensure that there is no detrimental impact on students. Please check the course entry on our website for updates.

Single modules for CPD

Not available


The course involves a series of placements, both on University productions and within the industry. Each placement on a University production commences on the first day of rehearsal and runs until the final performance. Industry placements typically run from first rehearsal to opening night. Placements are assessed in the Professional Practice modules 1 and 2.


You will be qualified for a broad range of stage management positions within a wide spectrum of live entertainment and live events industries. Many career opportunities are open to you. Previous graduates (Edinburgh Stage Management School) have gone on to work in theatres, performing arts organisations, festivals, corporate events and ceremonies. In addition, many now tour within the UK, Europe and internationally. Potential careers might include producing, fundraising, marketing, programming or audience development, as well as many other roles across the cultural industries and all professions requiring skills in effective management.

Entry requirements

A UK honours degree or equivalent OR significant work experience in live entertainment/events. All shortlisted applicants will be interviewed.

International: This course is currently only open to applicants who do not require a Student Visa. You will be required to provide evidence of English language competence at IELTS 6.5 with no individual compnent below 6.0.

Application deadline

Start of March 2022 for April 2022 commencement or start of March 2023 for April 2023 commencement.

This course is highly competitive with limited places and we advise applicants to apply early to be considered.

More information and contacts

Contact Admissions or contact Programme Leader, Susan Martin  on tel: +44(0)131 474 0000

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.

Course Overview

At QMU, Edinburgh Stage Management School and a range of external locations for professional practice components
Up to 18 months. Taught portion of the course runs from the beginning of April to the beginning of September and the dissertation must be submitted within the 18 months.
Start Date
April 2022
Start Date
August 2023
Study Abroad
School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management
Fees & Funding

A Student Story

Veera Laitinen "The best part so far has been meeting professionals from the industry. All of our guest lecturers and speakers are working in the theatre industry and it has been interesting to hear about their experiences. They also are happy to share what not to do!" Read my student story

Student and Staff Stories