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 performance including live art, digital art, writing and directing for performance. This course is approximately 70% practice and 30% theory, and an ideal programme for practising artists developing their own work. Graduating students have gone on to show their work nationally and internationally, work with key UK and international companies and secure funding and support for their work. Full-time students can take the course over one full year.Entry RequirementsA 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 AHRC support - a Research Preparation scheme and a Professional Preparation scheme. Small bursaries are also available.Course AimsThe MA in Contemporary Performance Making will provide you with the space to nurture your creativity through the practical and critical exploration of contemporary and digital 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.
The MA is led by Fiona Templeton and Helen Paris, both international practitioners in live art and contemporary performance. Our lecturers and guest artists have national and international reputations in contemporary performance both in theory and in practice. The learning environment encourages independent thought, creativity and craftsmanship through workshops, seminars, lectures, self-directed exercises, tutorials and practical masterclasses.
We want to:
give our graduate students the skills to make new work, to take risks, to experiment with new forms of practice be they digital, site specific, solo or collaborative and for audiences in theatres, online or in intimate one-to-one encounters.
equip our students with the skills to be smart, alert and bold critics of contemporary performance, able to analyse and critique the work they see and the work they make.
help our students graduate with the necessary skills to document their work, through image, sound and text.
teach our students how to apply for funding and how to market and produce their work.
enable our students to attend and present at key national and international conferences.
share the wealth of professional expertise of the department with our students
encourage our students to be a dynamic part of contemporary performance in the 21st century
This course is for:
emerging artists who want to develop a sense of their practice, create original work and learn about contemporary performance
artists who already have a developed practice but who want to have a dedicated period of time and tuition to refine and refocus their work and make new connections and create new work
international students of performance who wish to have an intense year-long period of study in London, learning about live and digital performance and taking the opportunity to see a wide range of contemporary practice in the UK
all graduates interested in live art, creativity, digital performance, writing for performance and directing, who are specifically looking for a very practice based MA and who are interested in pursuing a career as practising artists, writers, directors, curators, teachers arts administrators and producers.Course ContentContemporary Performance Making has a strong practical focus and students may choose to do a practical dissertation creating a full-length professional standard performance piece. This has proved a very popular and highly successful element of the course and students have gone on to present their degree shows as part of events such as National Review of Live Art and East End Collaborations. Another very popular element is the professional placement and several students have gone on to receive employment after graduating as a result of their placement.
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 five core modules and a practical project or, if preferred, a written dissertation.Modules (all core)Specialist option in either Performance Directing, Solo Performance or Performance WritingStudents explore each option, as groundwork for focusing on a single approach to their final performance project or written dissertation in the final two terms. 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 PlacementThis module runs in the second term. In the first five to six 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 three 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 had MA students on placements in London, Europe, the US, Canada, Romania and France.Performance Project/DissertationDuring the spring and summer terms 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. Then in term three students work independently with dedicated rehearsal spaces and staff supervision where needed.Digital Performance TechnologiesThis is an exciting new practice based module which focuses on providing in-depth practical instruction in a laboratory setting for sustained experimentation – with vocabularies and strategies of multimedia and digital performance composition. Students work with video shooting and editing technique, sound recording and processing techniques, interactive programming and multi-media real time integration.Research MethodologiesThe 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 MakingThis 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. Students will study a variety of practical and theoretical approaches that will contextualise their own work.
International students may obtain help towards their studies from the British Council in their country of residence and can undertake work placements.