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It's Happening Here!

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Announcing Our 2014/15 Season!

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Download the 2014/15 Season Brochure

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Sessional Teaching / Theatre Studies: January 2015 to April 2015 (2014W Term 2)

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Theatre and Film Teaching Assistantships: 2014/2015 Academic Session.

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New course open to all UBC students: INTRODUCTION TO FILM ACTING (FIPR 269A). No Audition Required. UBC 1st year students and invited to apply!


Proudly Supporting our Students, Alumni & Faculty

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Leos Roar for UBC Theatre & Film! Congratulations to our many students faculty and alumni from UBC Theatre & Film whose artistry was recognised by Leo Awards this year and kudos to those who’s work received a Leo.

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The Department of Theatre and Film is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Hallie Marshall to the position of Assistant Professor of Theatre Studies.

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Northern Gateway Pipeline Video Contest Launched!

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Leo Nominations – Theatre & Film at UBC: Huge congratulations to our talented students, alumni and faculty who have had work recognized at this year’s Leo Award Nominations!

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Alumna Rebekka Sorensen Recognised by Daytime Emmy Awards.

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Congratulations to our staff member Lynn Burton on being recognised by Celebrating Women at UBC!

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Associate Professor Kirsty Johnston’s book "Stage Turns: Canadian Disability Theatre" shortlisted for Canada Prize in the Humanities.

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Assistant Professor Siyuan Liu receives review for his book Performing Hybridity in Colonial-Modern China

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Theatre at UBC was recognised for it’s “boffo programming” this year in the magazine’s annual Best of Vancouver issue! 

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Theatre at UBC is a Positive Space!

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Gifts to Theatre at UBC ensure that today's Theatre students have access to the resources that give them the best education possible.


Theatre at UBC

Degree Programs: MA Theatre

MA Advisor: Siyuan Liu and Kirsty Johnston

UBC Graduate Programs in Theatre Studies:

The Department of Theatre and Film at UBC proudly offers both an M.A. and PhD. in Theatre Studies. Students in these programs enjoy strong mentoring relationships with core faculty members and develop research expertise in an area of their choice while also training in the broader theoretical, critical, and historical contexts of the field.

Faculty research specialties include modern drama, the receptions of alternative theatre and cinema, theatre and health, disability theatre, dramaturgy, the reception of cult cinema and performance, 20th century Chinese and Japanese theatre, intercultural performance, and Asian North-American theatre, as well as Canadian, American and modern British theatre. Our students also engage with professors and students in our renowned directing, design and film graduate programs.

UBC offers a world-class research library, a dynamic, multicultural theatre environment and a strong research-oriented university community.  

As a smaller program, we accept only a few students a year and work closely with them as they pursue their research. All of our graduate students enjoy the opportunity to develop their academic teaching skills as teaching assistants in UBC’s undergraduate theatre studies classes.  The program works hard to provide stable and consistent funding from departmental and university sources and supports students in their applications to national scholarship programs.


top of pageThe M.A. in Theatre:

The two-year M.A. program offers students the opportunity to pursue theatre studies through coursework, a one-year graduate theatre studies reading competency examination and an M.A. thesis project. Students are expected to give primary attention to an area of expertise of their choice while training in the broader theoretical, critical, and historical contexts of the field.  All M.A. students will be given the opportunity to develop their academic teaching skills as teaching assistants in UBC’s undergraduate theatre studies classes.

Graduates of the M.A. program have been successful in a range of pursuits following the completion of their degrees. Many have been accepted into doctoral programs both at UBC and prestigious institutions elsewhere. Others have had found the program invaluable for enhancing their credentials and finding work as professional dramaturgs, actors, directors, college instructors, secondary school teachers and arts administrators.


top of pageTheatre Graduate Faculty:

Dr. Kirsty Johnston

Dr. Kirsty Johnston B.A. (Queen’s), M.A. (U. Toronto), Ph.D. (U. Toronto), researches intersections between theatre and health with particular interests in 20th century theatre and performance. She has published on illness representations and receptions in theatre, intercultural theatre, disability theatre, contemporary Canadian dramaturgy, and disability arts festivals. Her work has appeared in such journals as Modern Drama, Text and Performance Quarterly, Theatre Topics, Theatre Research in Canada, Journal of Canadian Studies and Canadian Theatre Review. Her current SSHRC-funded research project concerns the development and practice of disability theatre in Canada.

Dr. Siyuan Liu

Dr. Siyuan Liu Ph.D. (Pittsburgh), researches 20th century Chinese and Japanese theatre, intercultural performance, and Asian North-American theatre. He has published widely in such journals as ASIAN THEATRE JOURNAL, THEATRE JOURNAL, TDR, and TEXT & PRESENTATION and book anthologies such as AVANT-GARDE PERFORMANCE AND MATERIAL EXCHANGE: VECTORS OF THE RADICAL (ed. Mike Sell). He has published many book reviews and contributed dozens of entries to THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ASIAN THEATRE and THE OXFORD ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THEATRE & PERFORMANCE. His is a guest editor of the First Generation Asian Theatre Scholars series for ASIAN THEATRE JOURNAL (fall 2011). His current SSHRC-funded research project concerns the process and effect of dramatic reform in China since the 1950s.

Dr. Ernest Mathijs

Dr. Ernest Mathijs Ph.D. (Brussels), researches the receptions of alternative theatre and cinema. He has published on Joseph Beuys, David Cronenberg, and popular culture (The Lord of the Rings, and generic media like horror, musical, exploitation cinema, and reality-tv). Most recently, he has edited The Cult Film Reader (with Xavier Mendik), and three books on The Lord of the Rings: The Lord of the Rings: Popular Culture in Global Context , From Hobbits to Hollywood (with Murray Pomerance), and Watching the Lord of the Rings (with Martin Barker). He has also published in a.o. Film International, Screen, Cinema Journal, Literature/Film Quarterly, and History of Political Economy, and he edited books on European exploitation cinema, Big Brother, and Belgian and Dutch cinema. He coordinates the series Contemporary Cinema (with Steven Schneider) and Cultographies (with Jamie Sexton). His monograph on David Cronenberg appears in August by Wallflower Press. His current interest is in the reception of cult cinema and performance, and in festivals. He has recently been appointed as an Early Career Scholar at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies and is Director of the Centre for Cinema Studies (

Dr. Jerry Wasserman

Dr. Jerry Wasserman B.A. (Adelphi), M.A. (Chicago), Ph.D. (Cornell) specializes in modern drama and theatre history with particular interests in Canadian, American and modern British theatre as well as acting for the camera. His books includes Modern Canadian Plays (2 vols.), now in its 4th edition, Theatre and AutoBiography: Writing and Performing Lives in Theory and Practice, with Sherrill Grace, and Spectacle of Empire: Marc Lescarbot’s Theatre of Neptune in New France.  His current SSHRC-funded research project is entitled “Canadian Theatre and American Power.” He has published widely on Canadian drama, modern fiction, and blues literature. He is also a long-time theatre critic and has extensive professional experience acting for stage and screen. 


top of pageAdmission Procedures:


Students seeking admission to graduate studies in Theatre must apply on the necessary form. This form may be obtained from Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (Graduate Studies Centre, #180-6371 Crescent Rd., UBC, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2) or you can apply online at the Graduate Studies website at

Required supporting documents include:

  1.  completed application form and fee
  2.  two copies of official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended, included UBC and universities at which you are currently enrolled;
  3.  a statement of purpose (500 words) that details:
    • your proposed area of study
    • its potential contribution to the wider field in which it is situated
    • your academic preparation for the M.A..
    • how UBC’s M.A.. in Theatre Studies program fits your needs and interests
    • a recent writing sample that demonstrates the quality of your thinking and writing (e.g., an essay from an undergraduate level class; an article submitted for publication)
    • 3 letters of recommendation
    • a resume of your academic and practical training

International students whose first language is not English must write the Test of English as Foreign Langauge (TOEFL) administered by TOEFL, Box 899, Princeton, NJ 08541 USA. A student must achieve a minimum score of 650, or a computer-based score of 250 on the TOEFL to be considered for admission.

Please send all completed application forms and supporting documents, including official transcripts directly to the Director of Graduate Studies, Theatre Department, UBC, 6354 Crescent Road, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2.

Entrance Requirements:

Please refer to the university regulations as outlined in the UBC Calendar. The Department limits admissions to students who demonstrate strong academic standing in their undergraduate degrees and who make a compelling case for their program of study at UBC.


top of pageRequirements for the M.A. Degree in Theatre:

Residence and Time Limits

The Department of Theatre and Film adheres to the standard M.A. policies and requirements of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at UBC.

  • Students may enrol in either full time or part time studies.  Full time students must be in residence at UBC for at least one year.
  • All Master’s degree students, whether full time, part time or provisional, must complete their programmes within five years on initial registration. Under exceptional circumstances, a leave of absence or an extension for up to one year may be granted.
  • All students are required to register in successive years of their candidacy.  A student who fails to register as required will forfeit his or her candidacy.

Course Work

The minimum number of course credits for the M.A. in Theatre is 30.  Courses which M.A. students are required to take are as follows:

  • THTR 500
    (Research Methods and Bibliography, 3 credits)
  • THTR 562
    (Studies in Dramatic Theory and Criticism, 3 credits, offered in alternating years)
  • THTR 549 A and B 
    (M.A. Thesis, 12 credits)

The remaining 12 credits will normally be taken through graduate seminars in Theatre, English, Classics, Comparative Literature, French, Film, Education or any other Department that offers seminars on drama, theatre, or performance topics.  Masters students may take a maximum of 6 credits of 300 or 400-level undergraduate classes, with the approval of the graduate advisor.


The MA thesis is an independent piece of research in the range of 50-60 pages.  The topic should reflect the student’s particular interest, and is chosen in consultation with the thesis advisor.  The student will convene a thesis committee of two or three faculty members.  Incoming students may familiarize themselves with previous theses written at UBC by checking the Departmental Thesis Library.

The final form of the thesis should be prepared in accordance with the regulations set down in the brochure entitled Instructions for the Preparation of Graduate Theses available from the Graduate Office of FOGS. Documentation should follow MLA style guidelines

A two-hour oral thesis defence will follow completion of the work.  The student makes a 20-minute presentation of his/her thesis to the committee, situating it in its disciplinary, theoretical, and historical contexts, followed by questions and comments about the thesis by each member of the committee.  The student is informed of the thesis grade upon completion of the defence.

Students should consult Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website for thesis submission deadlines each academic year.

Annual Review

All MA students will prepare an annual review of their progress through the degree program at the end of the spring term (normally the second week of April). 

The Annual Review is intended to:

  • Monitor a student’s progress
  • Evaluate that progress
  • Establish an agenda for subsequent work
  • Provide an opportunity for student feedback on the program

Review Process:

  1. The Graduate Chair will circulate a memo to all Theatre Program Masters and Doctoral candidates requesting that they prepare for their annual review.  Normally, the annual review will take place at the end of the second term, on a date designated by the Graduate Committee, except in cases where review is necessary before the annual date. 
  2. To prepare for the Review, each student should:
    • prepare the necessary statement (see below);
    • meet with the Graduate Chair to discuss the Review, if necessary;
    • circulate that statement to the Graduate Committee one week in advance of the Review.
  3. At the Review, Graduate Committee members will discuss with each student individually the student’s statement and any issues which arise from it, plus any other issues related to the student’s progress in the Program.

Review Agenda:

  • Courses Completed or In Progress:
    Review of course results and performance; firm dates for completion of incompletes; contribution of course work programme to personal intellectual development; courses completed; and programme requirements.
  • Courses Planned
    Rationale for the list of courses planned for the summer and ensuing year(s); programme requirements and necessary training.
  • Reading Competency Course and Exam
    Status and Concerns
  • Thesis: 
    Outline of Thesis research plans; potential committee members; feasibility of thesis plans; timetable for proposal/chapters.
  • Financial Support
    Assistantship, fellowship, etc. for summer and following year; special needs for field or archival work; sources of support; and adequacy of support.
  • Status report; which language(s); opportunities for study
  • Oral Defence
    Planning for the internal oral defence of Master’s Thesis
  • Any Other Business


Graduate Funding Opportunities

All domestic and international students who are accepted and registered full-time in our department’s graduate programs (Ph.D., M.F.A., M.A.) will be eligible for financial assistance from teaching assistantships, research assistantships and Graduate Support Initiative (GSI) funding allocated as entrance awards, multi-year funding awards, tuition awards and/or scholarship top-up awards.

Please visit our Graduate Funding Opportunities page for details.


Online Resources:


Academic Advisor:

If you have any further questions about the MA Theatre Program, please contact Siyuan Liu or Kirsty Johnston.