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Contemporary Performance Making MA

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  • Objectives
    The School of Arts now offers a programme in performance creation that draws upon the vast resources of London and the facilities and expertise at Brunel. This innovative MA will provide you with the space to nurture your creativity through the practical and critical exploration of contemporary multimedia performance. The programme offers a combination of critical engagement and practice-based research. The aim of the programme is to provide a bridge between academia and the professional world, giving you the opportunities to network and engage in a variety of supervised and self-managed projects. You will undertake a programme of study under the auspices of Drama at Brunel, which is well known for its innovative approach to contemporary performance study and practice. Staff members and guest artists have national and international reputations in contemporary performance, and the learning environment encourages independent thought, creativity and craftsmanship through workshops, seminars, lectures, self-directed exercises, tutorials and practical masterclasses.
  • Entry requirements
    Entry Requirements 1 year full-time 2 years part-time starting in September A good honours degree in theatre (or a related arts course) and/or professional/practical experience or qualification. Financial support: Students applying before May are eligible for AHRB support - a Research Preparation scheme and a Professional Preparation scheme. Small bursaries are also available.
  • Academic Title
    Contemporary Performance Making MA
  • Course description
    This innovative MA, which draws upon both facilities and expertise at Brunel and the vast resources of London, will provide you with the space to nurture your creativity through the practical and critical exploration of contemporary multimedia performance. The programme offers a combination of critical engagement and practice-based research.

    The programme provides a bridge between academia and the professional world, giving you the opportunities to network and engage in a variety of supervised and self-managed projects. Staff members and guest artists have national and international reputations in contemporary performance, and the learning environment encourages independent thought, creativity and craftsmanship.

    Course Details

    Brunel's proximity to the diverse performance and theatre environment of London allows for direct contact with the work of established as well as cutting edge professionals working in the industry.

    The MA programme has a flexible modular structure designed to accommodate both full time (30-40 study hours per week) and part time students (15-20 study hours per week). All students will undertake four core modules and a practical project or, if preferred, a written dissertation.

    Modules (all core)

    Research Methodologies
    The aim of the module is to enhance the development of independent student thought and an understanding of interdisciplinary research methodologies in performance studies. This will be achieved through an engagement with abstract concepts and group discussions of advanced ideas and current trends in performance. In this way, students will be encouraged to discuss and analyse their own and others' approaches. This will also serve as a platform for students to test their ideas and present a series of short papers on selected topics.

    Approaches to Performance / Mise-en-Scène Making
    This module addresses the interdisciplinary nature of contemporary performance. It will give close attention to the multiplicity and diversity of approaches to performance making used over the last 100 years at an advanced level.

    Specialist Option in either Performance Directing, Solo Performance or Performance Writing.
    However, students could choose to explore more than one option, but will be required to choose one option only for their final Performance Project or Written Dissertation. Students will produce two practical pieces (10-15 minutes duration, one focusing on the performer and one on mise-en-scene) together with documentation of their work.

    Professional Placement
    This module runs in the second term. In the first 5-6 weeks of the module students will attend lectures and workshops on professional development with staff and guest lecturers / leading experts in the field. In the second part of the module, students will undertake a placement / apprenticeship (minimum 3 weeks/90 hours) with an established partner organisation, such as a national or international theatre company, festival organisation, or university with whom we will sign a Learning Contract. We have MA students on placements in London, the US, Canada, Romania and France.

    Performance Project/Dissertation
    During the summer term you will work towards your practical performance project or dissertation. The performance project will take the form of a final presentation-performance (lasting approximately 50 minutes and including documentation with visual material and a written commentary) either in directing, performance writing or solo-performance. In Term Two students will start preparing for their performance project. In the first part of Term Two there will be a set of intensive workshops where students will be working within their chosen specialist area with guest artists.

    International students may obtain help towards their studies from the British Council in their country of residence and can undertake work placements.

    Special Features

    We offer specialisation in directing, solo-performance and performance writing, and you will be provided with professional work placements / apprenticeships that allow you to develop your own project work under professional circumstances. We also offer state of the art facilities that are only for MA students.

    Brunel's proximity to the diverse performance and theatre environment of London allows for direct contact with the work of established as well as cutting edge professionals working in the industry. Through placement learning in collaboration with our national and international partners and through the development and presentation of a final project you will engage with the most current trends in contemporary performance practice. The programme offers you the opportunity to develop skills, increase employment possibilities and build up a network of professional contacts.

    School of Arts

    The School of Arts has specialists in drama, English and music and its work prioritises the contemporary and the innovative. Its approaches are both theoretical and practice-based learning and research. Interdisciplinarity is a distinguishing feature of much of the postgraduate student research programmes. It is a strategic imperative that our research work engages with issues of contemporary relevance for all those with a stake in innovation in the performing arts.

    Based at the heart of the Uxbridge campus, all facilities are close at hand - performance and rehearsal rooms, recording studios, media and arts facilities, libraries, computer labs, the Students' Union, sports facilities, and of course, lecture rooms and smaller classrooms. Everything is designed for your convenience.

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