In the first year, performing students spend a third of their time on performance work, beginning with work in all three disciplines: Drama, Vocal Studies, and Dance. After that, they can specialise, or keep several disciplines going; it’s all about flexibility and choice. Production students engage in extended lighting and sound workshops. The additional modules that make up the programme focus on aspects of the performing arts industry that we think provide an excellent broad foundation of relevant practice: Technical Theatre introduces students to the principles of sound and lighting, and they end up perfectly capable of programming a computer − controlled lighting rig; Theatre Design explores concepts relating to the research and development processes of designers; Arts Management introduces marketing techniques and the workings of arts venues. Finally, Critical Studies discusses analysis and performance theory whilst delving into the world of contemporary and cutting edge performance practice.
In Year 2, students continue to develop the work covered in Year 1: Arts Management in Practice asks students to put the theory into practice and form Touring Performance Companies that work to commission in conjunction with industry mentors. Critical Studies continues to provide a thorough academic exploration of current theoretical thinking relating to arts practice.
What is truly engaging is the range of option modules that allow students to customize the rest of their timetable; Stage Management allows students to take control of the logistics of running performance events, and Production Techniques examines digital audio production for performance as well as automated lighting systems. Stage Combat introduces students to both armed and unarmed combat techniques for the stage, Performing Arts Online gives students the opportunity to build web pages as a method of marketing and promotion and Theatre Design 2 focuses on costume and mask making. Students get to choose two of these option modules in Year 2.
The final year has a very different flavour, with much more emphasis on students’ interests and specialist direction. They hone their specialist skills in their option performance discipline module − or continue to combine the various performance techniques in our multi-disciplinary pathway. At this point, some students may have decided to move away from performance altogether and can opt to complete their degree within the Theatre Production pathway, heading up a technical crew that oversee the final year performances. Devising and Directing is one of the most exciting − and most popular − parts of the course, in which students create their own live performance work.
Alternatively, Multimedia Performance Environments explores the world of performance technology and interactive installation. Again, there is still a choice to be made; The Individual Study module allows students to develop their own interests in a long essay, whereas Arts in Professional Context asks them once again to turn and face outwards and create a series of workshops that they deliver to a client group of their choice. Some of the most powerfully affecting work we have seen so far has been done in this module.