MA Contemporary Performance Practices

In 2016 ZU-UK initiated a brand new MA programme; an innovative and exploratory course focused on contemporary practice, it is a direct response to the demands of today’s creative industries - with artists graduating as multi-skilled practitioners and creative producers.

Run by ZU-UK in partnership with University of East London, this interdisciplinary programme is suited to artists and facilitators wishing to develop their own imaginative creative practice, and who have a strong interest and in and aptitude for cultural leadership and artistic direction.

This is a programme for those who want to explore and develop their performance practice, research, and applied artistic and scholarly expertise in contemporary performance practices. Students will be immersed in a variety of ideas, approaches and forms but will also have vast opportunities to focus on their own areas of interest.

Jorge Lopes Ramos, Executive Director of ZU-UK


About the Programme

The MA Contemporary Performance Practices takes a practice-based approach working across traditional disciplines of drama, music and dance, and applied/community based practices. Applications are encouraged from experienced performers, dancers, musicians or those working in applied theatre. However, we also welcome applicants with other specialisms (e.g. filmmaking, technology, science) which they seek to integrate into contemporary performance practice.

Located in East London, the MA Contemporary Performance Practices is at the centre of an area of intense cultural development and potential for innovation. The course offers fantastic opportunities to work alongside established national cultural and artistic partners, including LIFT (London International Festival of Theatre), the Olympic Park and East London Dance. All of the academic staff with whom you will be studying are practising artists, with some running their own producing companies and arts practices. As you progress through the course, you will be invited and encouraged to take full advantage of these networks. Included in the MA is the opportunity for all students to participate in one of ZU-UK’s renowned DRIFT residencies, which the company have been running for fifteen years.

The programme has the advantage of professional rehearsal studios and technical facilities, and the MA is structured in a way that will allow students to continue working alongside the course – with classes scheduled in the early mornings and evenings.

The intense DRIFT week is a life changing experience, you arrive with an idea, and you leave feeling healthier, with a solid performance and heaps of experimentation results (to name just a portion), allowing you to further tweak ideas. It's hands on and it'll change your perceptions on what you can accomplish, and for the better!

2016/17 Student

MA Photo


How do I apply for this course?

Apply directly via the UEL website:

How much does the MA Contemporary Performance Practices cost?

The UK/EU fee for September 2017 entry is £8,640, and the international fee £12,480. A number of postgraduate bursaries are available through UEL, and since 2016 UK residents can apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,000 through the Student Loans Company.

What are the entry requirements?

Usually a 2.2 degree in a related subject, or equivalent sufficient professional experience.

Do I need a background in performance?

Not necessarily! We accept and encourage applications from diverse backgrounds, including but not limited to those working in performance, music, dance or applied theatre. The most important thing is your desire and ability to integrate whatever your specialism is into contemporary performance practice – whether the prior specialism is filmmaking, technology or science.

How long is the course?

The complete MA programme is one year full-time or two years part-time, and the course is structured in a way that permits students to work alongside their studies.

MA Photo

Binaural Dinner Date

Part interactive performance, part dating agency, Binaural Dinner Date invites genuine applications from people looking for love, or couples who simply want a very different dating experience. The couples are hosted by a live waiter/DJ and by a binaural audio feed. Over the course of the evening the participants are invited to engage with each other, share secrets, observe other dramas unfold, and play games that push social expectations and ‘acceptable’ table talk topics.


Phones started to ring as visitors walked past. Visitors could pick up the phones to interact with one of three fictional Brazilian artists.

Humble Market

An interactive exhibition that combines art, performance and technology in three installations.

Hotel Medea

Hotel Medea is an act of resistance. It stands in direct opposition and in defiance of the aggressive mechanism of commodification of each and every human experience.


ZU-UK want to make art for people who don’t think it’s for them in spaces art does not usually inhabit

Jorge Lopes Ramos, Executive Director

Formerly known as Zecora Ura and Para-Active, ZU-UK have been making live art works since 2001. We have an international reputation for creating high quality, critically acclaimed socially engaged performances and digital artworks that put the audience at the centre of the experience.

ZU-UK believes that when individuals are not underestimated, the strength of the collective experience builds thoughtful, playful and engaged communities. The more fractured the world becomes, the more out of touch we are with the rituals that unite us with our sense of self, and the essential desire to connect meaningfully. Therefore, ZU-UK seek to design secular contemporary rituals as an invitation to ease loneliness and make communities out of our audiences.

Art must not remain confined to traditional venues if it is to reach as diverse an audience as possible

Persis Jadé Maravala, Artistic Director

We work with whatever is at the company’s disposal to create extraordinary experiences for our audiences. ZU-UK don’t limit ourselves to particular artistic disciplines as we believe the form should suit the idea, and not the other way round. Therefore the form our work takes will change depending on each new artistic proposition.

Our six hour, overnight performance Hotel Medea (2009-2012) is considered a pioneer of what is today referred to as ‘immersive theatre’. ZU-UK’s work on the Dramaturgy of Participation has been widely written about and forms the basis for the company’s approach to audience experience.

We believe artists should champion their practice as a vital contributor to political discourse and cultural debate. ZU-UK have a rich history of cross-disciplinary collaboration which enables us to constantly questions our assumptions about art and art-making. This approach also allows us to constantly experiment with new methods of producing live art works and of finding different ways of articulating our practice to new communities.

Selected Recent Press

Photodiary: A week with Artistic Directors Jorge Lopes Ramos and Persis Jade Maravala

ZU-UK’s Director’s on Artistic Leadership Post-Brexit

Towards a Dramaturgy of Participation

ZU-UK launches new MA Programme

DRIFT International Residency


Economies of Experience

Brazil fabrika@gargarullo.com

Centro Popular de Conspiração Gargarullo
Av. Roberto Silveira, 619 Praça da Bandeira
Miguel Pereira–RJ
CEP 26.900-000
United Kingdom +44 797 335 3384

GAS Station
Gainsborough Learning Centre.
1 Hamilton Road
London, E15 3AE UK
Facebook Twitter Youtube