MA Samuel Beckett: Archive, Text and Performance

Samuel Beckett

James and Elizabeth Knowlson Scholarship, Department of Film, Theatre and Television: MA Samuel Beckett: Archive, Text and Performance

James & Elizabeth Knowlson Scholarship 2016

This innovative new taught MA programme on the work of Samuel Beckett is taught by world leading experts on his work: Professor Jonathan Bignell, Professor Anna McMullan, Theatre & Television and Professor Steven Matthews, Dr Mark Nixon and Dr Conor Carville in English. Here you will engage in advanced archival research techniques using the extensive holdings of the university's world leading Samuel Beckett Collection, applying these skills to the analysis of Beckett's writing and performance work. The MA will also provide the opportunity to explore the complex and fascinating interdisciplinary relationship Beckett demonstrated in his lifetime through his work in a variety of multimedia including film, theatre, television and radio.

The programme's flexible modular structure is designed to develop both specialist and broad based knowledge within Beckett's 'literary' work in the novel and poetry as well as his performance work. Both are intrinsic to the degree, but can also be pursued separately. The MA also allows an opportunity to engage in practical explorations of Beckett's performance work across media using the innovative facilities housed in the Minghella Building.

The MA will prepare for both formal PhD research/ Practice as Research, and while specializing in in the work of a single author, the skills and methodologies taught will be applicable for postgraduate study within the far wider literary and performance culture of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The major component devoted to archival theory, practice and research will also be of relevance as preparation for students considering a career as archivists in specialist museum and library collections. The performance and practice route will also enable graduates to further their knowledge for careers in related academic diHarold Pinter at a Beckett exhibition that Jim Knowlson organized in 1971sciplines as well as film, theatre, radio and television industries.


Exhibition of Samuel Beckett's work, May 1971 held at the University of Reading. Pictured here is the exhibition's organizer Jim Knowlson, and the playwright Harold Pinter





The MA is comprised of three taught modules and a written dissertation/ or practice as research project.

Compulsory Modules

Optional Modules


Full-time 12 months

Part-time 24 months


Written assignments, presentations and where relevant practical work

Photograph of Samuel Beckett by Christopher Harris/David Gothard Collection


New UK/EU students: £7,000 per year

New international students: £14,900 per year

For information on sources of funding: Fees and Funding for Postgraduate Students at Film, Theatre and Television

Further Information

Please contact our convenors

Professor Steven Matthews (Department of English)

Professor Anna McMullan (Department of Film, Theatre & Television)

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