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MA Contemporary Performance Practice

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  • Entry requirements
    Applicants will normally hold a good honours degree in a performing arts related discipline such as drama, dance or music. Practising professionals with vocational, rather than academic, experience may be considered. All applicants are expected to present details about their previous experience at interview.
  • Academic Title
    MA Contemporary Performance Practice
  • Course description
    The MA provides the opportunity for students to develop their work as practitioners in combination with the development of their understanding of critical, theoretical and research issues in performance. Students can choose to progress one or several themes throughout the period of their study or collaborate on multi-disciplinary or inter-disciplinary projects.

    The MA is underpinned by a shift in focus at each of its stages: Stage 1 prompts students towards a review of their subject position and practice in light of relevant critical concerns and debates; Stage 2 prompts students towards situating their work within relevant academic, vocational, community and/or professional contexts; Stage 3 allows students to present an independent practical/creative project. The combined stages of the MA are intended to provide the basis for skills to emerge in planning, contextualizing, executing and critically evaluating performance work.

    Course Content

    Stage 1
    Postgraduate Certificate (PgC) 60 credits

        * Reflection on Practice

    This stage of the MA is concerned with prompting students towards a review of their subject position and practice in light of relevant critical concerns and debates in contemporary performance practice.

        * Critical Concerns in Contemporary Performance Practice - 30 credits

    This module encourages students to engage with the relationship between theory practice and criticism. It places a particular emphasis on the critique of practice developed amid academic communities within the disciplines of performance and in the work of leading directors writers and facilitators of performance in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

        * Contemporary Performance Practice One - 30 credits

    This module allows the student to explore aspects of performance pertinent to their own academic and vocational interests based upon a negotiated rationale within a supportive critical environment.

    Stage 2
    Postgraduate Diploma (PgD) 60 credits

        * Dissemination of Practice

    This stage of the MA is concerned with prompting students towards situating their work within relevant academic vocational community and/or professional contexts.

        * Research Methods Processes and Contexts - 30 credits

    This module seeks to familiarize students with established definitions of research within the academy and the methods and processes that underpin these definitions.

        * Contemporary Performance Practice Two - 30 credits

    This module prompts students to locate their work amid appropriate vocational professional and/or community contexts and where appropriate to investigate innovative approaches to dissemination/ developing audiences for their work. The intention is to help students engage with and be stimulated by the public context of their work.

    Stage 3
    Masters (MA) 60 credits

        * Final Project

    This stage of the MA draws on and allows the students to integrate the knowledge and skills developed at stages one and two of the MA.

    This module requires students to complete an individual dissertation or an individual/group performance project.

    Teaching and Assessment

    The MA investigates performance through a conjunction of theory, research and practice. The teaching strategy employs the format of lecture, seminar and workshop, tutorial. The lecture programme is split between focusing upon criticism (CPPM01) and upon research (CPPM03).

    Together these two aspects of the lecture programme are designed to provide a context in relation to which students might frame their developing practice (CPPM02, CPPM04).

    These approaches are designed to investigate contemporary issues in performance and related critical concerns and to provide opportunities for students to identify and explore areas of creative interest.

    The MA allows for a wide range of assessment methods to be employed and for students to negotiate many aspects of their assessment. Typically, assessment might involve performance, exhibition, seminar presentation, essay writing, creative writing and dissertation.

    Work Experience

    A placement is not compulsory but may be negotiated as part of the programme of study.

    Career Opportunities

    Typically graduates from this programme might be expected to subsequently work in education, the community or the creative industries.

    Supplemental Information

    Contact Time:
    3 hours one evening per week.


    Performing Arts teaching facilities include a theatre, a dance studio, a drama studio, rehearsal rooms, music rooms and sound editing suites.

    The subject areas technical equipment includes recording facilities, light and sound mixing desks, data projectors, televisions and dvd-video.

    Students have access to all Performing Arts facilities and equipment following a health and safety induction, and are able to book facilities and equipment during evenings and at times when they are not in use for teaching.

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