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You will explore the application of live and digital performance to a contemporary society that has become increasingly technologised. You will learn to view performance as both performing – a skill which can be applied in a variety of contexts – and as an art form that can accommodate a range of media, including film, screen and digital platforms. You will gain hands on experience with the latest technology, allowing you to explore the full range of stage, screen, audio and intermedial possibilities.
At the centre of the programme is practical work with industry professionals at the forefront of contemporary UK performance. You will work with them practically and learn about their professional practices. You will then go on to study thinkers who have written about the possibilities of performance, and explore concepts discussing what performance is and could be.
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Why study this subject?
Do you enjoy creating work that pushes the boundaries between performances and contemporary life, and the boundaries between performance and other disciplines?
This MA is for those artists who want to experiment with lots of ideas and want to learn about how contemporary practitioners and writers create and understand performance.
Why study at Buckinghamshire New University?
The mix of digital and live work is what makes this course stand out. You'll explore how the boundaries between drama and screen studies are increasingly changing. You’ll critically analyse current industry practices through a comprehensive study of the contexts, philosophies, aesthetics and policies of the performing arts.
What facilities can I use?
You’ll use our drama studios on site, some with moving lights and fully-equipped sound systems and projection. We also have sprung floors and mirrors suitable for movement and physical work. We use the professional venue at Wycombe Town Hall, which is less than two minutes from our campus. You will have access to high quality Sony camera equipment, suitable for film and TV screening, and also to lighting rigs and sound recording facilities. Find out more.
What will I study?
This course focuses on contemporary cutting edge practice and begins with a week-long residency with a leading theatre company culminating with a scratch performance. You'll be guided in your studies by skilled practitioners and experienced academics.
As the course goes on, you’ll increasingly move towards independent study as you adopt the role of performer / director / creator as well as academic. You'll run workshops and lead group productions and the course will conclude with a project led by you, in which you'll creatively develop ideas explored during the course.
How will I be taught and assessed?
Teaching methods may vary but will include workshops to develop practical and production skills, lectures, and performances (some of which are formally assessed) where you will perform to an audience or be mediated (i.e. for camera).
Lecturers and seminars will develop your analytical, critical and research skills and will often include presentations and exercises. You'll also have the opportunity to watch professional theatre productions through study trips which provide invaluable material for your development.
In the final term you'll research a topic of your choice for your practical project or written dissertation.
What are the course entry requirements?
Typically 2:1 or above in a Media or Performing Arts related field, and/or experience in the performing arts sector (in its widest sense, from performance to design, video production, teaching and leadership).
All students will be required to attend an interview and give a presentation on their relevant experience. Students will be required to work to a high level in both practical and academic work.
We welcome applicants from a range of backgrounds and experiences and are prepared to consider students with relevant experience in addition to the above typical profile.
This module map provides a list of the modules that make up your course. You can find more information about how your course is structured on our Academic Advice section.
Year 1 Modules
Interrogating Performance and Screen
Residency and Contemporary Contexts
Contemporary Performance Practice
Creative Explorations in Screen and Performance
Creative Explorations in Live Performance
Performance Practical Dissertation (optional)
Performance Written Dissertation (optional)
How much does it cost
Home and EU
Home and EU, Academic Year 2021-2022
£9,800 per year
International, Academic Year 2021-2022
£14,300 per year
What are my career prospects?
This programme will prepare you for a wide range of roles in the performing arts industry, such as a creative performer in theatre, performance, film and digital media; working in arts management; working as a performance practitioner in a wider industry role (for example radio performance, creative producing, video / film making), and working as a creative educator.
There is a particular focus on the range of skills involved in small scale theatre and setting up your own theatre companies, which aims to simulate industry practice. The range of leadership roles will develop creative and innovative thinkers on this programme by drawing on collaborative, ensemble and directing working practices. The high level of academic knowledge and ability to do independent research paves the way for you to embark on PhD study subsequent to this programme.