Theatre, Film and Media

The United Kingdom is one of the world’s creative hubs. The UK has the largest creative sector in the EU. Its theatre, film and media industries make a key contribution to the UK economy, and its products and services enrich the lives of us all. The creative industries are a key focus for the Scottish Government which recognises their considerable potential for further growth. Higher education plays an important role in producing the creative talent, skills and ideas that are sought by both this sector and a wide range of employers beyond it.

Why QMU?

Our theatre, film and media courses prepare you for entry to the creative industry sector and the many related opportunities outside of that sector. They aim to provide you with the specialist knowledge, working practices, and high level communication skills that employers look for in graduates.

While each course has its own specific emphasis, they all provide you with a comprehensive understanding of critical approaches to the film, media and theatre industries and their products, with a particular emphasis on aesthetic and cultural analysis. They focus on the activities of theatre and/ or the screen media as central forces in the construction of public culture; in the creation of new expressive forms; as the basis for a range of professional practices; and in shaping everyday social and psychological life.

The courses focus on the products of this activity; on cinema, theatre and media as social and aesthetic practices. Students will engage with current issues in these exciting fields of study, including global cinema and television, contemporary performance, and the impact of digital technologies.

Characteristic of all the courses is a critical engagement with the historical evolution of particular theatrical, cinematic and televisual genres, aesthetic traditions and forms, and the way in which plays and screen texts organise understandings, meanings and effects. As part of this engagement, students work individually and in small groups to produce their own scripts, screenplays, photographs, short films and plays. Theatre, film and media staff at QMU are a mix of academic researchers and film, media and theatre practitioners. Staff have produced work for a variety of commercial, cultural, educational and local government clients, and have exhibited and performed their work at festivals in the UK and internationally.

As the home of international film, television and theatre festivals, Edinburgh is the ideal place to study these creative arts. For film it boasts two art house cinemas (The Cameo and Filmhouse), three multiplexes and two smaller cinemas, and the city is frequently used as a location for film and television shoots. There are five purpose-built theatres showing everything from major West End hits to innovative, risk-taking new writing.

Approach to learning and teaching

The courses adopt a blended learning approach with teaching and learning activities falling into three broad categories (each of which is seen as best suited for particular types of activities): seminars and lectures; peer group activities; and self-directed learning. You will be encouraged to be enquiring, critical and innovative. Emphasis will be placed on analytical, divergent ways of thinking. The courses are designed to produce graduates who are critical thinkers, effective communicators, investigative learners, active participants and creative practitioners.

Each of the courses therefore combines academic enquiry with opportunities for practical production. The division has digital edit suites and post-production facilities using Adobe Creative editing software including Adobe Premiere, After Effects, Photoshop and Audition.

Production equipment includes Canon 5D Mark 3, Sony Alpha 7S, Zenmuse x5R and GoPro cameras with accessories such as shoulder rigs, sliders, tracks and external monitors, semi-pro news gathering cameras (P2 and AVCHD), a variety of lighting kits (including LED and tungsten) and digital sound recording devices (Tascam and Zoom). Students also have access to a green screen studio.

For photographic, work the Division has a range of cameras including Canon DSLRs with specialist lens and lighting equipment, and post-production software including Adobe Lightroom. For performance work, it has a fully-equipped and licensed studio theatre and five rehearsal studios.


Staff research falls within two broad clusters: the textual analysis of film, television and performance culture; and the sense of place in cultural identity formation. Current work in the first cluster is in the areas of film adaptation, film and television genre, and television aesthetics. Research in the second cluster includes studies of place, taste and cultural meaning in print, radio, popular music and visual media.

Staff in film, media, creative industries, cultural management, cultural policy, and cultural studies were submitted to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) in 2014 to the Media, Communication, Cultural and Media Studies, Library and Information Management panel. Our submission was ranked 1st in Scotland for our world leading and internationally excellent publications in terms of originality and significance, and 12th in the UK on the same measures.

Recent and ongoing scholarship includes: melodrama and seriality; representation and adaptation; music and musicians in comics; underground music; cultural engagement and participation; cultural policy; comedy; gender and sexuality, political economy of work in cultural industries; production of culture in its economic context; and public relations.

Career prospects

The UK’s creative sector employs one million people, with graduates comprising 67% of those employed, a significantly higher proportion of graduates than the economy as a whole. A further 800,000 are employed in creative occupations in businesses in other sectors. The courses aim to prepare you for a range of career opportunities by producing graduates whose specialist knowledge of their chosen area is complemented by the key skills of communication, creativity and teamwork, with particular modules focusing on surveying employment opportunities, investigating potential client commissions, and entrepreneurship.

Find out more information on how to apply for a course at QMU.