Theatre and Performance Practice
BA (Hons)

International Students can apply

3 good reasons to study Theatre and Performance Practice at Salford

1.

Create and perform inventive theatre and performance with highly-skilled practitioners and academics in a vibrant city with a fantastic theatre, arts and music scene

2.

Build your professional profile through work experience opportunities, led by Professional Practitioners and a programme of career- focused masterclasses in your final year

3.

Develop your creativity, acting and performance-making skills across disciplines on a course that allows you to choose from a diverse range of options in both live and mediated performance

Course Summary

This course delivers a spectrum of learning opportunities spanning across new developments from experimental performance to mainstream stage, TV and radio work. It combines vocationally focused skills development with academic study and practical exploration of a range of theatre and performance approaches and forms. You will gain the knowledge, skills and understanding that will help you become a versatile and resilient creative practitioner.

You will be able to choose from a range of options to pursue your individual interests including acting for camera, singing, comedy writing and performance, multimedia performance, physical theatre and clowning. You will also have the opportunity to take part in publically performed projects, led by a professional director or member of staff.

In your final year you will propose and develop your own practical performance work and can choose from a wide and challenging array of performance areas. Practical projects could include a devised performance; an original script; a physical theatre piece, an installation or live art works performed in non-traditional theatre spaces, a multi-media performance investigating digital culture and the human computer-interface or a directing project.

We have excellent professional partnerships and contacts in theatre venues and production companies across the region and encourage you to make the most of the numerous project and networking opportunities offered to you during your time at the University of Salford.

Watch our video

Recent graduate Patrick talks about the collaborative project Debut, in which students  given the opportunity to work with professional writer and live artist Michael Pinchbeck and perform at the Lowry Theatre.

Course Details

You will study a core curriculum in year 1 that will give you foundational knowledge and skills across the Spectrum of theatre and performance. In year 2 you will study a combination of core and optional modules so that you can pursue your individual interests and talents and explore new areas. In year 3 you will combine taught optional modules with your own project work and practical research or a dissertation. As the course progresses from year 1 to 3, you will be given the support and guidance to enable you to work independently, to manage your time and collaborate creatively with others. You will also attend several careers focused masterclasses and presentations that will give you practical advice in many employment areas that are common to theatre and performance graduates.


You will learn through a mix of lectures, seminars, workshops and practical performance projects. Assessment will be through a range of means including essays, presentations, in-class performance presentations and publicly performed theatre projects.

Course Structure

Year 1

Combines an exploration of key performance approaches with week by week acquisition of warm up methods and voice and movement techniques.
This module is designed to further develop and extend your performance skills. You will apply these skills to the devising and rehearsal of a group performance piece performed in our main theatre space.
This is a primarily practical module which focuses on creative approaches central to characterisation within naturalistic drama. You will apply Stanislavski-based approaches to performing published texts. Both this and the semester 2. Acting Methods 2  will also introduce textual analysis, which will develop your ability to understand and interpret theatre texts and to think critically about your own theatre practice.
This module will extend your learning of acting and characterisation into non-naturalistic forms. You will learn to appropriately apply expressive and presentational techniques to a range of theatre texts, beginning with the work of Artaud and Brecht and then exploring contemporary playwrights who bear their influence.
Provides the historical framework to examine the development of performance from the late 19th century onward. Movements like Realism, Expressionism, Surrealism and Dada are examined in relation to other movements and across performance disciplines. Small group seminars will support the lectures.
Examines key texts and critical approaches central to live performance and media disciplines from the perspective of particular analytical approaches, e.g. semiotics, ideological approaches and structuralism. The theories of key practitioners who influenced the development of particular disciplines will be examined in detail. Small group seminars appropriate to your pathway will support these lectures.
Study skills sessions will be offered to support your academic and critical writing skills.

Year 2

Students take two core options and one option in semester 1 and three options in semester 2:  

Core Modules

In lectures, screenings and seminars the approaches to textual critical analysis introduced in the first year are further developed, as are your academic writing skills.
You will work as an ensemble under the direction of a professional artist/company and work intensively on a performance project. The outcome will double bill with the work of that company at The Lowry theatre studio.

Options

Either

In this module students develop their knowledge of the work of a range of contemporary theatre making practitioners. These are drawn from practices in post-modern devising, verbatim and documentary theatre, site-based performance and ‘relational’ performance. You will develop practical techniques and compositional skills in the making of original theatre work, drawing from sources such as text, autobiography, performance scores, space and site, body, tasks and rules.

Or

The module focuses on theatre texts from 20th and 21st Century that cover both dramatic and ‘postdramatic’ approaches. You will further develop your skills in textual analysis in seminars and will explore acting, directing and dramaturgical approaches in practical workshops.

3 further options from the following

This takes the form of either a professional work placement or a student-led performance project which allows you to apply independent and collaborative creative techniques for devising or adapting work for performance. Those who pursue the work-placement option will be assigned a mentor and will work for a performance/arts event organisation in one of a variety of roles (which can include arts administration, stage-management, technical support, assistant director). Those who pursue the project option will receive tuition and supervision to facilitate a self directed performance.
Through exercises and reflective analysis, you will develop vocal technique and learn to apply interpretative skills to the performance of dramatic texts.
This module enables you to work on a range of exercises designed to develop your characterisation, vocal expression and tonal variety in performing audio drama. You are introduced to studio equipment for recording and editing and contribute to studio management for the assignment. You are assessed on the performance and production of a recorded radio drama script.
This module gives you experience of working with ex-broadcast drama scripts, which you will rehearse and record for camera under conditions mirroring industry practice.
During this module you are introduced to the theories and practices of western physical theatre. Practitioners and styles covered may include Vsevolod Meyerhold; Jacques Lecoq; Jaques Copeau; Odin Teatret; Rudolf Laban; Steven Berkoff; Pina Bausch; Lloyd Newson; and a range of contemporary Physical Theatre companies.
You will engage in exercise and games, working with and without red nose, to explore key clown concepts of: play, complicity, bafflement, major, minor and ‘the flop’. Practical tactics and strategies for generating laughter are explored through the development of physical skills such as falling, rolling, ‘acting drunk’, stage fighting, double-takes, and tricks with objects.  The module concludes with a solo or group performance in a public space.
You will learn skills of analysing and writing plays for the stage. The module covers history of playwriting, an introduction to the playwriting industry and the development of skills in areas such as concept, story, structure, characterisation and dialogue. You will then write a play or an analysis of existing published plays for your assessment.
Approaches to using recorded and live feed video in live performance are studied, both theoretically and practically. You will also explore how new technologies such as mobile phones and social media can be used in live performance. You are introduced to practical techniques and the module is assessed through a devised, multi-media theatre production with evaluation.
The module provides students with a practical knowledge and theoretical understanding of the uses, applications and value of drama and theatre as an aspect of social engagment and personal empowerment outside of the conventional theatre environment. The module explores the history of the 'form', and key practitioners and areas of contemporary practice. Practitioners/companies may include Cardboard Citizens, 7.84, TiPP, Geese Theatre UK, and Clean Break
The module centres on building confidence in singing and developing your vocal agility through a range of exercises and songs performed in solo and group situations. The module introduces basic musical notation, sight singing, and harmony work and you will also experiment practically with microphone techniques.
You will examine fundamental aspects of storytelling: narrative structure, character development, character types, relation of character to plot, the use of subplots. You explore differing conceptual and technical approaches in scriptwriting for theatre, TV and film.
You will explore performing pieces to camera, engaging with the audience by `breaking through the lens'; interview technique, the importance of asking pertinent questions, listening and putting an interviewee at ease; voice-over work - the importance of performing with energy, clarity and correct intonation. You will produce a five - eight minute magazine item containing an intro, a walk and talk piece to camera, practical exercise or short demonstration, voice-over , researched interview and outro, targeted at a specific audience and presented in an appropriate style.
You will be encouraged to develop range and flexibility in your vocal, facial and physical skills in order to produce a range of comic personas. You will then perform, record and edit the resultant TV/radio sitcom or sketch show.
This module investigates developments in the staging of Shakespeare from Elizabethan times to the 21st century. Encompassing both live and recorded performances the module encourages you to address particular approaches to Shakespeare presentation (e.g. political, feminist, intercultural) by exploring the works of for example: RSC, Peter Brook, Robert Lepage and Kenneth Branagh.

Year 3

You will take the following double module:

This project is designed to enable you to work collaboratively in a small group to generate, organise and manage your own performance work. The nature of the performance will be dependent on the individual skills and interests of the project group and the culminating production will be publically performed over two nights. You will undertake research appropriate to your project and keep a Personal Learning Journal in order to facilitate reflection and submit a critical analysis which reflects upon the rehearsal and production process.

You will choose one of the following options:

The module explores the spectrum of new trends in performance. Practices may include Live Art, multimedia/digital performance; immersive theatre; headphone performance; pervasive gaming; ‘one-to-one performance; You  will examine the work of current practitioners and will focus on how relations of space and place and audience and performer are being reconfigured and redefined in the 21st century.  You will then choose an area  of practice to explore through the creation of a solo or collaborative performance piece.
You work with a range of texts, including Elizabethan, Jacobean, and Restoration works. In practical workshops you are encouraged to experiment with rhythm and language, and to apply characterisation and physicalisation techniques within the context of both naturalistic and non-naturalistic performance styles.
The module examines the importance of gender in the development of contemporary drama and performance. Gender as a social construction is investigated through a series of key movements that reflected a cultural shift in attitudes to heterosexuality and increased awareness of alternative gendered choices in Western culture.
You will work on a range of exercises and texts, which are aimed at both extending your range of characterisation for radio and developing detail and complexity in vocal performance delivery.Technical workshops examine studio operation including recording levels, mixing, spot and pre-recorded effects, and you work in teams to record and produce radio drama pieces.
You will  analyse, research, rehearse and perform a number of television drama scripts – and work in depth on a specific character from one of them.  Rehearsals of the extracts are videotaped and critically reviewed in seminar sessions. Particular attention is paid to the layering of subtext, psychological details and technical skills.
Through a professionally geared script development programme, you will create first a premise, then treatment, step outline and first draft for a complete screenplay of at least fifty minutes. In seminars you will discuss ideas for story, character and theme within the group.Treatments, step outlines and the first draft are developed in one-to-one tutorials.
Through class interaction, individual research and tutor supervision, you are encouraged to develop your own comic voice and persona and to devise and write original ideas toward solo live performance. A visiting professional comedian will be invited in to give feedback on the work before it is performed and/or recorded.
You will explore the key elements that characterise comedy performance and the specific cultural and political contexts that influence scripting and “persona”. Intensive practical workshops, to develop comedy characters (personas) and short routines culminate in recorded in-house performances. Each workshop contains elements of scripting work and improvisation, including performance skills to develop vocal diction, range, expression and tone.

You will choose either Dissertation or Practical Research Project

You will complete a major piece of independent written work which results from extensive research supervised by a dissertation supervisor. You will undertake your own research and while this will draw on other sources it is expected that the study will display a central thesis of your own construction.
PRP is an opportunity for you to develop your own topic or area of practice, conceptual framework, and method of investigation. It may represent a vocational or career-focused endeavour or act as a springboard for postgraduate study. Projects could include: a devised performance; an original script – comic or dramatic - a dance or physical theatre piece, original choreography, an installation, multi-media performance or a directing project.

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

Entry Requirements

Qualification Entry requirements
UCAS tariff points 280 points
GCE A level BBC. General studies accepted with two other A levels
BTEC National Diploma DMM in appropriate subject
BTEC Higher National Diploma If you have a relevant HND you can join the course at year 2
Foundation Degree If you have a relevant Foundation Degree, you can join the course at year 2
Scottish Highers 260-300 points
Irish Leaving Certificate 260-300 points
International Baccalaureate 31 points, to include 5 or 6 (Higher Level) in a relevant subject

Salford Alternative Entry Scheme (SAES)

We welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully. Once we have received your application we will assess it and recommend it for SAES if you are an eligible candidate.

There are two different routes through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. Assessment will either be through a review of prior learning or through a formal test.

English Language Requirements

International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0 (no element below 5.5) is proof of this. If you need to improve your written and spoken English, you might be interested in our English language courses.

Applicant profile

Teaching

You will learn through various teaching methods. Practical classes will furnish you with a range of approaches and techniques for performance creation and will help you develop your performance skills and, where appropriate, production skills. Lectures and seminars will apply critical theory to live and mediated performance forms and methodologies. You will undertake project-based work including major performance projects and you will attend workshops with visiting professional practitioners.

Watch our video

BA (Hons) Performance: Contemporary Practice Students talk about what it is like to work with a professional theatre company at The Lowry theatre as part of their studies.

Assessment

  • Practical 60–70%
  • Essay 25%
  • Presentation 5–10%

Employability

On completion you may go on to perform, direct, write, research or produce. You may also go on to be a teacher or workshop leader, or go on to postgraduate education.

Many of our graduates have progressed to employment in an impressive range of arts, entertainment and media organisations. These include the BBC; ITV; The National Theatre; The Lowry, Salford; The Green Room Theatre, Manchester; Hull Truck Theatre Company; The Royal Exchange Theatre; and several Theatre in Education (TIE) companies. Salford has a reputation for providing the industry with highly skilled and dynamic graduates, whose names can regularly be seen on television and theatre credits, both as performers and 'behind the scenes' creatives. Many graduates also go into careers in teaching or as community dancers or workshop leaders or on to further postgraduate education.

Our graduates appear on TV and theatre credits both as performers and technicians. This includes leading performance roles and crew in numerous programmes for ITV BBC and Channel 4 television.

Recent graduates have worked in production roles at Granada and the BBC in such projects as Island at War, Hustle, The Jeremy Kyle Show, Coronation Street and others. Other graduates have appeared successfully in front of the camera: Emma Atkins Emmerdale, Chris Bisson Coronation Street and East is East and Kaye Wragg No Angels. Other successful Salford graduates include Christopher Eccleston Doctor Who, Maxine Peake Shameless and Peter Kay Phoenix Nights and many more. Stage and TV success has come to comedian Jason Manford while Ellie Meigan Rose, Emma Hartley-Miller and Rachel Brogan have enjoyed success on stage at the Lowry, Royal Exchange and Royal Court. Recent graduates have won prestigious NSDF (National Student Drama Festival) awards.

Yet other graduates have gone to successful careers as video producers, marketing and commercial advertising executives, as radio broadcasters and editors. In recent years a number of graduates have successfully set up their own theatre/performance companies.

In addition to developing your performance skills and techniques and giving you opportunities and contacts for professional development and employment, this degree will also give you many transferable skills which are highly sought by employers. These include collaboration and team-working; communication and negotiation skills, time management and organisation; and presentation skills. These will equip you to work in many different professional fields, as well as in the arts.

Career Prospects

You will be taught by practitioners who have worked with the UK's leading companies including contemporary performance companies Blast Theory, Imitating the Dog, Plane Performance, Reckless Sleepers; with BBC TV and Radio Drama, ITV, Channel 4 and with traditional and experimental theatre companies of many kinds.

Watch our video

BA (Hons) Performance: Contemporary Practices student Katie on the experience of working with a professional theatre company.

Alumni Profile

Links with Industry

Placement Opportunities

Further Study

MA Digital Performance

Fees and Funding