Postgraduate MA

Contemporary Performance Practice

Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology

Attendance

Full-time

Part-time

Course

One year

Two year

Next enrolment

September 2021

Introduction

In a nutshell

Live performance is an important tool in understanding, reflecting on and making sense of the world we live in. Our MA Contemporary Performance Practice is a practical course that will introduce you to a range of approaches and concepts, which are vital to making live performance in, and in response to, the world today. It will equip you with the skills and knowledge to function in contemporary performance environments, as a performer, maker, collaborative practitioner and researcher.

Using the live performance-making facilities at New Adelphi and MediaCityUK, this course also provides the professional skills you need to function as a practitioner in the wider creative industries. As well as specialist performance skills and knowledge, you’ll develop a number of transferrable skills that can be applied to a wide variety of careers.

This course allows you to extend and develop your skills by working across disciplines, mirroring working environments in the creative industries. You’ll develop the ability to think dynamically, act originally, collaborate and function effectively in creative workplaces, making use of theoretical concepts, creative practice and real-world skills.

Through your core modules and final project, you’ll also develop your own approach to contemporary performance. You’ll finish this course by creating a significant piece of work which can be used as part of your portfolio as you transition into a professional setting. 

You will:
  • Explore cutting-edge practices and approaches to contemporary performance in a multi-discipline, research-focused environment, where you can experiment creatively.
  • Perform and research in professional facilities at MediaCityUK and the New Adelphi Arts Centre.
  • Immerse yourself in the vibrant arts and performance scene in Salford and Manchester.
  • Gain employability-boosting transferrable skills that can be used in a variety of careers.

Learn more about studying a contemporary performance practice masters at the University of Salford by signing up to our upcoming Open Day.

In the meantime, if you have any general questions you can contact course enquiries, or for specific enquiries, contact the programme leader Jo Scott. You can also explore all of our Performance courses.

Continue reading to understand more about the MA Contemporary Performance Practice course.

International

students accepted

This is for you if...

1.

You want to learn new skills and techniques that allow you to develop your performance practice in a way that’s relevant to the world today.

2.

You want to use a combination of performance practice, critical reflection and academic rigour to improve your creative process.

3.

You want to learn directly from an established researchers and contemporary performance practitioners.

Course details

All about the course

Our MA Contemporary Performance Practice postgraduate programme gives you the opportunity to develop yourself further as a performance maker. Combining practical sessions with academic study, you will benefit from a rounded understanding of contemporary performance and the contexts surrounding it.

In your first semester, you’ll work with an industry professional and our expert team of staff to explore contemporary performance techniques and approaches, including one-to-one performance, and the use of digital media. You’ll also study a Key Contexts module, in which you’ll look at the concepts and theories that influence current performance practices.

Your second semester on this masters in arts theatre will allow you to expand on the skills and knowledge gained earlier in the course. You’ll learn how to use inquiry and investigation as important parts of your creative process, looking at aspects such as how to create performances that your audience connect with, and how to use research and development to devise creative pieces from scratch. Also, in your second semester, you’ll explore how creative performance interacts with other disciplines.

As part of your studies, you’ll also have the opportunity to complete a major project in your third and final semester on this contemporary performance practice MA.

Throughout the course, you’ll collaborate with other students, exploring, experimenting and creating new performance work. You’ll become comfortable with key approaches and aspects of making contemporary performance, such as the use of digital technologies, the role and positioning of the audience, as well as the ways in which your practice can engage with both local and global issues. Additionally, you’ll explore the theories, frameworks and practices in the field, and how these are developing and responding to the contemporary world.

Find out what you’ll cover in each module by taking a look at the full course breakdown below.

Full-time: Semester one

Approaches to Contemporary Performance: Foundations

In this opening practical module of the programme, you will be introduced to a range of approaches to contemporary performance-making, working with a contemporary practitioner in the industry. This will be followed by blocks of practical teaching, testing approaches and exploring areas such as:

  • Intimacy and one to one performance
  • Politics and participation
  • Performance and personal
  • New approaches to writing and text generation
  • Interactivity and the digital
  • Place, Trace and Site

Key Contexts

This module sets out key concepts, theories and practices which inform contemporary performance-making. Drawing on both historical and contemporary practices, the module prompts discussion and debate as to the key concerns for practitioners making performance now, including topics such as:

  • The contemporary performance landscape: an introduction to key terms and practices
  • The experience economy and ‘theatres of engagement’
  • The post-digital world and live performance
  • Performing exchange and thinking through labour
  • Interdisciplinarity practices
  • The ‘emancipated spectator’ and politics of participation
Full-time: Semester two

Developing Your Practices: Investigations

In this module, you will work on refining and developing practices established in the first semester. You will be expected to make choices, through the course of the module, as to your key areas of enquiry and practice, which you will explore, research and refine through supervised studio sessions, knowledge exchange with peers and scratch presentations of work. This module is supported by weekly sessions addressing the following broad strategies in creating performance:

  • Practice as Research: using enquiry as a spur for creation
  • Research and development: approaches to creating from scratch
  • Creative Producing
  • Marketing and audience development
  • Site and scenography
  • Venues, funding and programming
  • Documentation and dissemination: approaches to sharing your practice

Creative Interactions

This module addresses interdisciplinary collaborations and how they can fuel, prompt and enrich practices. You will be expected to formulate a creative partnership with a student or practitioner in another discipline, to develop ideas for a creative, interdisciplinary project to explore for instance:

  • Performance and Science
  • Performance and the Environment
  • Performance and Pedagogy
  • Performance and Visual Art
  • Performance and Gaming
  • Performance and Music
  • Performance and Computing
  • Performance and Health
  • Performance and Place
Full-time: Semester three

Practice as Research Project: Creation and Production

In this final project, you will be asked to propose an area of enquiry, arising from your work in the core modules and workshops, to explore practically in Semester three. On submitting your proposal, you will be assigned a supervisor to support your work in this area. Developing your performance practice, either individually or in collaboration with others, the results of this investigation will be presented live, as part of a festival of new work in contemporary performance at New Adelphi and MediaCityUK.

Part-time: Year one. semester one and two

Key Contexts

This module sets out key concepts, theories and practices which inform contemporary performance-making. Drawing on both historical and contemporary practices, the module prompts discussion and debate as to the key concerns for practitioners making performance now, including topics such as:

  • The contemporary performance landscape: an introduction to key terms and practices
  • The experience economy and ‘theatres of engagement’
  • The post-digital world and live performance
  • Performing exchange and thinking through labour
  • Interdisciplinarity practices
  • The ‘emancipated spectator’ and politics of participation

Creative Interactions

This module addresses interdisciplinary collaborations and how they can fuel, prompt and enrich practices. You will be expected to formulate a creative partnership with a student or practitioner in another discipline, to develop ideas for a creative, interdisciplinary project to explore for instance:

  • Performance and Science
  • Performance and the Environment
  • Performance and Pedagogy
  • Performance and Visual Art
  • Performance and Gaming
  • Performance and Music
  • Performance and Computing
  • Performance and Health
  • Performance and Place
Part-time: Year two. semester one, and semester two and semester three

Approaches to Contemporary Performance: Foundations

In this opening practical module of the programme, you will be introduced to a range of approaches to contemporary performance-making, working with a contemporary practitioner in the industry. This will be followed by blocks of practical teaching, testing approaches and exploring areas such as:

  • Intimacy and one to one performance
  • Politics and participation
  • Performance and personal
  • New approaches to writing and text generation
  • Interactivity and the digital
  • Place, Trace and Site

Developing Your Practices: Investigations

In this module, you will work on refining and developing practices established in the first semester. You will be expected to make choices, through the course of the module, as to your key areas of enquiry and practice, which you will explore, research and refine through supervised studio sessions, knowledge exchange with peers and scratch presentations of work. This module is supported by weekly sessions addressing the following broad strategies in creating performance:

  • Practice as Research: using enquiry as a spur for creation
  • Research and development: approaches to creating from scratch
  • Creative Producing
  • Marketing and audience development
  • Site and scenography
  • Venues, funding and programming
  • Documentation and dissemination: approaches to sharing your practice

Practice as Research Project: Creation and Production

In this final project, you will be asked to propose an area of enquiry, arising from your work in the core modules and workshops, to explore practically in Semester three. On submitting your proposal, you will be assigned a supervisor to support your work in this area. Developing your performance practice, either individually or in collaboration with others, the results of this investigation will be presented live, as part of a festival of new work in contemporary performance at New Adelphi and MediaCityUK.

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.

What Will I be Doing?

60%

Practical performance, combined with presentations

40%

Written assignments

TEACHING

As part of this MA Contemporary Performance Practice, your timetable will include a breakdown of your scheduled lessons with timeslots for you to explore your independent research interests.
Your classes will be based at our Peel Park Campus.

From the outset, you’ll work across disciplines. Your induction will include a creative collaborative project that will get you used to the way you’ll work on the course and with other students.

Your modules will be delivered through practical workshops, keynote lectures, seminars, discussion groups and artist-led residencies. Seminars and student-centred discussion lay the foundation for independent projects and small group work.

This programme promotes a research-focused approach to your studies, allowing you to explore practice, deconstruct ideas and apply your knowledge to your creative work. You will be encouraged to use performance practice, personal reflection and academic theory to develop yourself and get the most from your studies.

ASSESSMENT

You’ll be assessed through a combination of practical and theoretical assignments. This may take the form of written assessments, as well as oral presentations, performances and online portfolios.

BE A PART OF A CREATIVE, SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY 

AllourPerformance courses are delivered by theSalford School of Arts, Media, and Creative Technology. Our focus is to ensure that you have the skills you need to pursue your dreams, and we encourage our students, past and present, to collaborate with each other and achieve great things. 

Each year - through theCreate Awards our School rewards the incredible achievements and successes of our final year and postgraduate students. 

Whatever you choose to study with us, you’ll be mentored and supported by experts. And once you graduate, it won’t end there. You’ll join a thriving alumni network across Greater Manchester and beyond, meaning you’ll be supported professionally and personally whenever you need it 

PERFORMANCE FACILITIES

This postgraduate degree is based at our £55 million New Adelphi building, the home of performance and creativity on campus.  

Our range of performance facilities include: 

New Adelphi Theatre – this 350-seat venue provides an opportunity for you to stage shows in front of live audiences. It also regularly hosts  professionals shows and performances. 

Studio theatre - this classic black-box performance spaceoffers a more intimate venue than the New Adelphi Theatre. Itfeatures flexible seating and staging, so you canshape the space to meet your creative needs. 

Voice acting studio - from podcasting and video game dialogue to radio drama and foley sound effects, this facility gives you the flexibility to produce a range of audioforyour projects.  

Screen acting studio – are you passionate about a career on the screen? You’ll learn to hone new skills using our two-screen acting studios.featuring fixed and flexible sets, 

Take a 360 tour of our New Adelphi building. 

STAFF PROFILE

'I make intermedial work in the form of performances, installations, online fixed media pieces and audio walks. I am also an academic researcher with an interest in the use and integration of digital technologies in live performance. I have presented my work at research events, festivals and symposia and have published widely in academic books and journals. Find out more about my creative practice and research on my personal website.'

Learn more about Dr Jo Scott: programme leader.

Employment and stats

What about after uni?

EMPLOYMENT

Upon completing an MA in Contemporary Performance Practice, you’ll be able to work in a range of environments from the cultural sector to future media. This could include roles in interactive design and production, small scale touring productions, venue-based and independent producing and programming, theatre-making, performing and writing, as well as community arts practice.

People in the field of contemporary performance can work across a wide range of areas of creative design and application. This ranges from traditional arts settings to the fields of interactive design and new media production. Contemporary performance experts have a broad set of skills from devising and composition, to technical design, production management, programming, script-development, video editing, and post-production skills.

Potential employers include arts venues and organisations, educational providers and film companies. Skills used in contemporary performance, such as independent and collaborative problem solving, coming up with and developing ideas, and following creative briefs, can be used in a wide variety of settings. Graduates will also be well-equipped to pursue careers as individual, self-employed practitioners.

FURTHER STUDY

Graduates showing strong academic and research skills can pursue a further academic research path through our doctoral (PhD) programmes on a full-time or part-time basis subject to a satisfactory proposal. Three of our MA alumni are currently pursuing funded PhDs at Salford and Lancaster.

Career Links

The programme has links with the following organisations and begins each year with a creative intensive, led by a key contemporary performance practitioner:

  • The Lowry Arts Centre
  • HOME
  • Contact Theatre
  • Blast Theory
  • Darkfield
  • Hydrocracker
  • Imitating the Dog
  • Quarantine
  • Reckless Sleepers
Requirements

What you need to know

To gain a place on this MA Contemporary Performance Practice degree, you’ll have to submit a personal statement and meet our entry requirements when you apply.

The personal statement is a good place to offer a clear idea as to your experience in performance-making, your academic capabilities and also your areas of interest in this field, which could inform work as part of an MA programme. Responding to the following questions should help you write a statement that will give a good idea of your suitability for the programme:

  • Why do you want to pursue postgraduate study in contemporary performance practice?
  • Why have you chosen to apply to the University of Salford?
  • How do you define your work in contemporary performance? Are you a performer, director, writer, theatre-maker, live artist?
  • What type of contemporary performance practice have you been part of creating? (one or two key examples is better than a long list)
  • What are your interests in this field? – think about particular areas of performance, trends and key practitioners in your chosen area
  • What do you consider to be the key issues and trends in contemporary performance? Which theorists that you are aware of discuss these issues?
  • Briefly outline the type of contemporary performance work you would like to develop as part of this MA – think about form/content/context/audience
INTERVIEW AND OTHER REQUIREMENTS

Suitably qualified candidates will be invited to an interview, before a decision is made about their application. When you attend for interview you must bring with you a 300-500 word piece of writing on an area of contemporary performance practice that you would like to explore further, as part of the MA programme.

You will also be asked to give a 3-5 minute presentation, working from the area identified in your writing. In this presentation, you will outline the work of a contemporary practitioner in this area and explain what you find interesting/engaging/challenging about their performance practice, linking this to your own ideas and aims as a practitioner.

The writing will help to convey which particular area of contemporary performance practice is of interest to you, that you wish to develop through postgraduate study. The presentation allows you a space to demonstrate knowledge of that particular area, as well as critical and analytical skills, in presenting the work of a related practitioner and any connections you see to your areas of interest.

Want to find out more about our MA Contemporary Performance Practice degree? Sign-up to an Open Day.

Our supportive course enquiries team can help you with any general questions you may have. You can also explore all of our performance courses. 

Standard entry requirements

Standard entry requirements

Applicants to this course must have a good honours degree (2.1) in an appropriate subject.

International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.5, with no element below 5.5, is proof of this.

Alternative entry requirements

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

How much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home 2021/22 £8,100per year
Full-time international 2021/22 £15,030per year
Part-time 2021/22 £1,350 for home and £2,505 for international per 30 credits
Full-time home 2022/23 £8,280per year
Full-time international 2022/23 £15345per year
Part-time 2022/23 £1,380 for home and £2,557.5 for international per 30 credits
Additional costs

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Scholarships for international students

If you are a high-achieving international student, you may be eligible for one of our scholarships.
 
We have a range of scholarships available for students applying for courses in 2020-2021 and 2021-2022. Our Global Gold Excellence Scholarship is worth £3,500 and our Global Silver Excellence Scholarship is worth £3,000 - both are available for students studying in our 2021/22 intakes.

We also offer the Salford International Excellence Scholarship which offers up to £5,000 discount on tuition fees. As this is a prestigious award we have a limited number of these scholarships available.

See the full range of our International Scholarships.

Apply now

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Enrolment dates

September 2021

September 2022

Explore all our Performance courses