• CollegeCSM
  • Start dateSeptember 2018
  • Course length2 years full time (60 weeks)

MA Performance Design and Practice

This course brings together artists, directors, writers, researchers and designers to set the agendas that will drive performance practice in the 21st century. Graduates go on to professional practice, working as influential directors, writers and producers in theatre, TV, film, opera or dance, or progress to research degree study.

This course is part of the Drama and Performance Programme.

Great reasons to apply

  • MA Performance Design and Practice enables you to pursue your studies whilst also undertaking part-time employment, internships or care responsibilities. In the first year you are expected to commit 30 hours per week to your studies; your taught input will normally be scheduled over two to three days per week during term time. The second year allows for greater flexibility in terms of attendance as most of the teaching is facilitated through personal tutorials requested by the student. 
  • You’ll normally take part in collaborative practical projects taking place in mainland Europe, as part of your first year
  • Many of our graduates form their own creative companies and partnerships and go on to work in art, design and performance in a range of roles, including festivals, art centres and venues around the world
  • Our graduates work in theatre, television, film, opera or dance, go on to direct, write or produce or progress to research degree study.
  • You’ll be encouraged to question how your work relates to the broader context of performance practices with a focus on the interconnected contexts of experimental theatre practice, live art and dramaturgy through design
  • This course brings together directors, writers, performers, researchers and designers from different performance contexts, alongside those from other related disciplines such as fine art, architecture, fashion, film making etc., in order to set the agendas that will drive performance practice in the 21st century.

Trailer for live performances by first year students as part of the European Placement Project – Rabbithole Space, Athens, April 2017.

Trailer for live performances by first year students as part of the European Placement Project – Rabbithole Space, Athens, April 2017.

First year residency, Polverigi. Students undertook a four day workshop with artist Sophie Jump (Seven Sisters Group) including site-specific performances.

First year residency, Polverigi. Students undertook a four day workshop with artist Sophie Jump (Seven Sisters Group) including site-specific performances.

 

European Placement Project, Jerez

Olivier de Sagazan in collaboration with MA Performance Design and Practice

À la dérive, a performance in collaboration with Sénographie (HEAR) students in Strasbourg.

P e r f o r m 24 11 14: No More Stuff, an interactive durational event which questioned the boundaries of performance.

Highlights from the course 

First year residency, Polverigi. Students undertook a four day workshop with artist Sophie Jump (Seven Sisters Group) including site-specific performances.

Forced Entertainment’s Tim Etchells giving the first of in a series of Artists Talks.

Course detail

All applicants considered for September 2017 entry will be applying for the new version of the course. Further detailed information will be published as it becomes available however the focus of the course remains the same.

MA Performance Design and Practice responds to and engages with tradition and change in the arena of contemporary performance and experimental theatre practice. The postgraduate course contributes to the debates surrounding the core territories of performance making, design and time-based practices.

MA Performance Design and Practice also acknowledges the hybrid nature of contemporary performance work and promotes a critical exploration of conventional fixed boundaries between fine art performance and theatre.

Central to the MA Performance Design and Practice ethos is a recognition of international models of performance design and practice - models that have shaped the debates challenging many of the established definitions, functions and roles identified with performance making. From these debates key practitioners, organisations, events and texts have emerged. It remains a core aspect of the postgraduate course ethos to give you direct experience of these models and materials through an inspirational learning placement outside the UK.

Focusing on the sphere of performance culture where ideas and orthodoxies are in flux, the postgraduate programme brings together fine artists, directors, writers, researchers and designers to set the agendas that will drive performance practice in the 21st century.

About the course

  • MA Performance Design and Practice lasts 60 weeks structured as two consecutive periods of 30 weeks each, (ie, two academic years) in its 'extended full time mode.'
  • MA Performance Design and Practice is credit rated at 180 credits, and comprises 3 units. In the first year, Unit 1, (60 credits) runs from Week 1 – 15, while Unit 2, (60 credits) runs from week 16 - 30. Unit 3 (60 credits) follows after the completion of Units 1 and 2 and runs throughout the second year for 30 weeks.
  • Students successfully achieving Units 1 and 2 may exit at this point with the award of Postgraduate Certificate.
  • All three units must be passed in order to achieve the MA but the classification of the award of MA is derived from the mark for unit 3 only.

In year one you are expected to be able to commit an average of 40 hours per week. In year two your study is predominantly self-managed but you are expected to commit an average of 20 hours per week. Across the two years you therefore commit an average of 30 hours per week.

MA Performance Design and Practice encourages you to question how your work relates to the broader context of performance practices while developing approaches to design, composition/ authorship and performing located within the broad and interconnected contexts of experimental theatre practice, live art and dramaturgy through design.

  • Experimental theatremeans innovative theatrical practices that exist outside of the mainstream of theatrical production and presentation. It particularly identifies work that challenges the formal orthodoxies of theatrical language and the nature of the theatrical event. Artists working in this area include: Station House Opera, The Wooster Group, Forced Entertainment and Robert Wilson.
  • Live art defines a body of performance practices, which have developed out of the traditions and concerns of fine art practice. By the nature of its origin in the visual arts, it crosses many disciplinary boundaries such as sculpture, installation, video, and performance art, and proposes alternative approaches to time-based work. Artists working in this area include: Franko B, Station House Opera, Laurie Anderson and Societas Raffaelo Sanzio.
  • Dramaturgy through design describes alternative approaches to performance design. Central to this definition is the recognition of alternative theatrical traditions where the principal language is in a visual register in contrast to that of mainstream theatrical performance, where the written text continues to dominate. Artists working in this re defined area place 'design' at the centre of the creative process and frequently claim primary authorship of the performance. Artists working in this area include: Robert Wilson, Robert Lepage, Societas Raffaelo Sanzio and Stefano Lazarides.

Course structure

Unit one: Practice in context (60 credits)

During unit one (weeks 1 – 15) we will help you to focus your individual practice and to better articulate your concerns in order to provide you with a stable platform from which to move forward in Units 2 and 3. During this time your developing practice is supported through seminars developing critical thinking and exploring key theories and critical issues, led by course tutors or visiting lecturers/practitioners. The assessment for unit one requires that you submit a first draft proposal for your Independent Project that will be undertaken in the final Masters unit; in this way, the course strategically and holistically monitors and develops your practice and research interests.

The first few weeks of the course focusses on ideas and methodologies involved in the creation, contextualization and evaluation of performance and how research in the arts and discourses are developed, shared and understood. Regular weekly seminars examine specific theoretical approaches and potential research routes in relation to performance. In addition, regular site visits and critical thinking seminars focus on developing a critical language to articulate contextual knowledge of the work of others in relation to your own practice.

Over the fifteen weeks of the unit you are asked to present three proposals for performance-based projects - often presentations of performance fragments. Supporting these presentations are a series of weekly workshops led by visiting practitioners exploring alternative compositional strategies for creating performance normally incorporating student lead practical demonstrations. Other visiting practitioners discuss such strategies via a series of lectures.

Unit two: Collaborative Practice (60 credits)

Unit two centres on developing the collaborative skills and understanding essential for the creation of performance in the professional realm. In addition it develops the equally essential abilities of resilience, independence and resourcefulness required for the successful completion of the Masters award and in subsequent professional practice and/or environments for higher Research.

Over the fifteen weeks of the Unit (weeks 16 – 30) you are asked to engage in and contribute to the outcome/s of a collaborative project which is either a single extended project (typically a ten week placement) or a series of shorter projects.  Normally this placement takes place in a city in mainland Europe and is organised and part-resourced by the course. This project gives you the opportunity to develop and demonstrate your practical, collaborative and conceptual skills in the initiation, resource managment, marketing and presentation of a student-led performance-based event, within a professional context, usually engaging a public audience. Normally each student undertakes a placement in Europe part funded by an Erasmus mobility award. In addition to contributing to the collaboration and the final presentation, you are required to contribute to a record of the Unit, reflecting on the experience. 

At the end of unit two you will be required to produce a 2nd draft proposal for the Independent Project in Unit 3 demonstrating effective reflective and critical thinking, and professional preparation.

Unit three: Independent Project (60 credits)

During unit three you will submit the practical and scholarly elements of the Independent Project which you have been developing since the beginning of the course and which were presented as a proposal at the end of your first year.

The final part of the course requires that you unite your ideas and research methods within the theoretical and professional contexts of your practice, to a level of resolution. The 30 weeks provide you with a substantial opportunity to develop your practice building on the accumulated knowledge that you have gained through the experiences within units one and two.

You are required to generate a body of independent practical work for presentation, combined with the completion of a written document. You continue to meet for critical debates and tutorial support throughout, and normally initiate interim presentations of or about your work, in person and online, discussing progress, challenges and discoveries, and issues of form, audience and presentation.

You will be expected to produce practical work in the form of presentation/s, either within or outside of the College environs, either as individuals or within creative collaborations, and within one of two defined modalities:

-       representing practice as research, in which case work is experimental and explores a clearly defined research area/question within performance practice;

OR

-       representing professional practice in some form, in which case work could be presented outside of the College, and engage with the specific demands of an external context.


At the end of nit three you are assessed through a combination of your practical work, the written paper and a self-evaluative report documenting and analysing your progress through the Unit. These outcomes combine to reflect your conceptual, practical and professional abilities. Your mark for unit three determines the classification of your MA award.


MA Performance Design and Practice Programme Specification 2018/19 (PDF, 94KB)

Facilities

  • Digital media

    Find out more about our digital media facility at King's Cross.

  • Costume

    Find out more about the Costume facilities at Archway.

  • Post-production

    Find out more about our post-production workshop.

Staff

Course Leader: Michael Spencer
LecturerPete Brooks

Associate Lecturer: Geraldine Pilgrim
Associate Lecturer: Lea Anderson
Associate Lecturer: Gary Stevens
Associate Lecturer: Harun Morrison
Associate Lecturer: Sophie Jump
Associate Lecturer: Athina Vahla

How to apply

2018/19 entry

You can apply to this course using our online application form – the link to this is below.

Before you apply, we recommend you take some time to read the Entry Requirements section further down this page to learn about the application process which includes detailed guidance on the extra information we will ask you to provide later in the process.

When to apply

We recommend you apply by the end of May to avoid disappointment. Your application will only be considered after you have successfully completed an online application, submitted required documents and a digital portfolio. 

We reserve the right to close applications earlier than the deadline above subject to spaces available.

Required information for all postgraduate courses

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following items and upload documents when completing the online application form: 

General Information

  • Personal details (including legal full name, date of birth, nationality, addresses);
  • Current English language level;
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details;
  • Employment history;

Independent project proposal

Briefly describe the project you are interested in undertaking for your Independent Project (Unit 3). We do understand that this might develop over time so your proposal simply tells us what you are interested in now, rather than something we will expect you to complete in 2 years’ time.

  • A brief description of what you intend to do on this project - what do you think might be the final outcome/s? (150 words max)
  • Your aim - why do you want to do this project and how is it relevant to your future aims? (100 words max)
  • What skills that you already possess or would need to develop would you use in completing this project? (100 words max)
  • What resources - both physical (eg. space, equipment etc.) and human (eg. performers, designers etc.) - do you think you will need to complete the project? (100 words max)
  • Identify any problems you can foresee in completing this project, and if possible how you might go about solving them (50 words maximum)

If you do not complete all the required information or upload the necessary documents, we will not be able to proceed with your application and portfolio review.

Start your application now

The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you do not need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form.                           

Apply to MA Performance Design and Practice

After you have successfully submitted your application online, you will receive an email confirming your application and providing your login details for the UAL Applicant Portal.  Please do log into your applicant portal as this is where we will send you important updates and requests, as well as allowing you to contact us with any questions you may have about your application.

What happens next

If you meet the entry requirements you will be invited to submit a digital portfolio through UAL’s online portfolio review system.

Portfolio Review

  • You are required to submit up to 20 pages or relevant documentary material (short videos etc.)
  • Evidencing your current creative practice, accompanied by a contextual statement (100 – 200 words).
  • This contextual statement should state with which aspects of the broad field of ‘Performance Design & Practice’ your current work engages – eg. Physical theatre, live art, installation art, participatory performance, socially-engaged practices etc.
  • You should also speculate as to where your work might be seen outside of education contexts. 

Following a review of your application and portfolio, you will either be invited for an interview or your application will be rejected via the UAL Applicant Portal.

Interview

  • If you currently live in the UK, you will be invited to attend an interview at college.
  • If you currently live outside the UK or unable to attend the interview in person, we can arrange a skype interview for you.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the outcome of your application through the UAL Applicant Portal.

Deferred entry

Please note that CSM does not accept application for deferred entry. 

2018/19 entry

You can apply to this course using our online application form – the link to this is below.

Before you apply, we recommend you take some time to read the Entry Requirements section further down this page to learn about the application process which includes detailed guidance on the extra information we will ask you to provide later in the process.

When to apply

We recommend you apply by the end of May to avoid disappointment. Your application will only be considered after you have successfully completed an online application, submitted required documents and a digital portfolio.

We reserve the right to close applications earlier than the deadline above subject to spaces available.

Required information for all postgraduate courses

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following items and upload documents when completing the online application form:

General Information

  • Personal details (including legal full name, date of birth, nationality, addresses);
  • Current English language level;
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details;
  • Employment history;

Independent project proposal

Briefly describe the project you are interested in undertaking for your Independent Project (Unit 3). We do understand that this might develop over time so your proposal simply tells us what you are interested in now, rather than something we will expect you to complete in 2 years’ time.

  • A brief description of what you intend to do on this project - what do you think might be the final outcome/s? (150 words max)
  • Your aim - why do you want to do this project and how is it relevant to your future aims? (100 words max)
  • What skills that you already possess or would need to develop would you use in completing this project? (100 words max)
  • What resources - both physical (eg. space, equipment etc.) and human (eg. performers, designers etc.) - do you think you will need to complete the project? (100 words max)
  • Identify any problems you can foresee in completing this project, and if possible how you might go about solving them (50 words maximum)

If you do not complete all the required information or upload the necessary documents, we will not be able to proceed with your application and portfolio review.

Start your application now

The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you do not need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form.                  

Apply to MA Performance Design and Practice

Alternatively, international applicants can apply through an overseas representative in your country.

After you have successfully submitted your application online, you will receive an email confirming your application and providing your login details for the UAL Applicant Portal.  Please do log into your applicant portal as this is where we will send you important updates and requests, as well as allowing you to contact us with any questions you may have about your application.

Immigration History Check (for International Applications only)

Whether you are applying through a UAL representative or direct application you will need to complete an Immigration History check. If you do not complete the Immigration History Check we will not be able to proceed with your application and portfolio review.

What happens next

If you meet the entry requirements you will be invited to submit a digital portfolio through UAL’s online portfolio review system.

Portfolio Review

  • You are required to submit up to 20 pages or relevant documentary material (short videos etc.)
  • Evidencing your current creative practice, accompanied by a contextual statement (100 – 200 words).
  • This contextual statement should state with which aspects of the broad field of ‘Performance Design & Practice’ your current work engages – eg. Physical theatre, live art, installation art, participatory performance, socially-engaged practices etc.
  • You should also speculate as to where your work might be seen outside of education contexts. 

Following a review of your application and portfolio, you will either be invited for an interview or your application will be rejected via the UAL Applicant Portal.

Interview

  • If you currently live in the UK, you will be invited to attend an interview at college.
  • If you currently live outside the UK or unable to attend the interview in person, we can arrange a skype interview for you.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the outcome of your application through the UAL Applicant Portal.

Deferred entry

Please note that CSM does not accept application for deferred entry. 

Entry requirements

An applicant will be considered for admission who has already achieved an educational level equivalent to an Honours Degree in a relevant field of performance, live art, art or design.

This educational level may be demonstrated by:

  • An Honours Degree or an equivalent academic qualification;
  • A professional qualification recognised as equivalent to an Honours Degree;

Applicants who do not meet the standard course entry requirements may still be considered if the application demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might be demonstrated by:

  • Prior experiential learning, the outcome of which can be shown to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required;
  • A combination of formal qualifications and experiential learning that, taken together, can be shown to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required.

English language requirements

All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language you will be asked to provide evidence of your English language ability in order to apply for a visa, enrol, and start your course. The English language requirement for entry for this course is: 

IELTS Academic 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each of the 4 skills (on one single test).

For further information visit the English Language requirements page.

What we look for

MA Performance Design and Practice suits artists with a background or demonstrable interest in theatre design, visual performance or related practice including live art, dance, film, installation art, video/time-based media or other interdisciplinary art practices.

Although it particularly suits individuals interested in time-based or narrative art forms, it also attracts those involved in broader performance-related practices, such as fine art, photography, fashion and architecture.

Selection criteria

The application, independent project proposal and supporting material will be assessed for:

  • An intelligent and mature approach to their practice;
  • The capacity for independent research; appropriate critical abilities;
  • An awareness of the cultural and social context within which they practice;
  • Appropriate communication skills and a preparedness to participate collaboratively in debate and practice

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee

Tuition fees for 2018/19: £5,000 per year, plus £750 mandatory placement fee in year one. Please note that fees for second year of study will be subject to inflationary increase.

£500 per annum discount for all students who have completed a PG Dip/Cert or an undergraduate course including Grad Dip/Cert, at UAL.

You can pay course tuition fees in instalments for this course.

ELQ 

Home/EU students whose chosen course is at a level equivalent to, or lower than, a qualification that they already hold, would will be charged the fees shown above, plus an additional £1,100 (called the 'ELQ' fee). Students in receipt of Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs) are exempt from ELQ fees and will pay the original fee, regardless of the highest qualification held. If you have a query regarding the ELQ fee, please use our course enquiry form.

International fee

Tuition fees for 2018/19: £12,430 per year, plus £750 mandatory placement fee in year one.

£500 per annum discount for all students who have completed a PG Dip/Cert or an undergraduate course including Grad Dip/Cert, at UAL.

You can pay course tuition fees in instalments for this course.

Additional costs

In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. Please read the information on our additional costs page.

Accommodation

Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.

Scholarships and awards

There are a number of scholarships and awards available to students on this course. Use our search tool to find out more information.

Scholarships search

Careers and alumni

MA Performance Design and Practice prepares you particularly for independent professional practice. Many of our graduates form their own creative companies and partnerships. MA Performance Design and Practice graduates have gone on to work in art, design and performance in a range of roles, producing and presenting work in many creative contexts including festivals, art centres and venues around the world.

MA Performance Design and Practice students leave with a specialist individual understanding of performance practice from a chosen perspective. The experience you gain on the postgraduate course enables you to progress to professional practice, working, for example, in theatre, television, film, opera or dance. Some students go on to direct, write or produce. Others progress to research degree study. MA Performance Design and Practice supports its graduates via a company that offers initial professional experience and publicity.

Recent alumni activity demonstrates the breadth of student activity within the subject. Many graduates from MA Performance Design and Practice have gone on to achieve professional success. For example, 2010 graduate Catrin Osborne has been appointed Director in Residence at Circus Space, London, 2010 graduate Ruchita Madhok has an Internship at the V&A Museum, London, 2010 graduate Payal Wadhwa has gained a place on the Royal Court Theatre's writing programme. 2009 graduate successes include Susan Leen on a Studio internship with Lucy Orta and David Shearing, appointed to a teaching and research post at Leeds University. 2008 graduate Ingwill Fossheim has a Design Internship at the Royal Shakespeare Company.