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MA Performance Design and Practice

College
CSM
Start date
September 2019
Course length
2 years full time (60 weeks)

Course summary

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

  • 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
  • In the first year of study you are expected to commit 30 hours per week to your studies. In the first half of this year, your taught input will normally be scheduled over two to three days per week during term time. In the second half of the year, you undertake a collaborative residency (see below). The second year of study allows for greater flexibility in terms of attendance as most of the teaching is facilitated through personal tutorials requested by the student. It enables you to pursue your studies whilst also undertaking part-time employment, internships or care responsibilities
  • In the second half of the first year you will normally participate in a student-lead collaborative residency, culminating in a series of public performances, created by the student groups. These residencies will normally take place in mainland Europe
  • 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.

Open days

Monday, 26 November at 11am
Monday, 10 December at 11am
Thursday, 24 January at 4pm
Friday, 1 March at 2pm
Thursday, 18 April at 11am
Thursday, 2 May at 2pm
Monday, 24 June at 2pm

Scholarships, awards and funding available

Jane Rapley Scholarships

Postgraduate loans of up to £10,000 are now available for eligible UK and EU students. A full list of eligibility criteria and information on applying can be found on the postgraduate loans webpage.

Student film from European Placement

Olivier de Sagazan in collaboration with MA Performance Design and Practice

The Mushroom Head, a performance devised by Kuan-Yao Liao, 2016

Live performances from the European Placement Project in Athens.

Generations

A collaborative project between Islington Giving, Claremont, All Change, Improbable Theatre and Central Saint Martins

Facilities

A room with people working at computers

Digital Media

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

Mannequins on display inside the costume store at Central Saint Martins

Costume

Find out more about the Costume facilities at Archway.

A soundproof room filled with audio devices

Post-production

Find out more about our post-production workshop.

A person setting up backstage at the Studio Theatre at Central Saint Martins

Studio Theatre

Find out more about our Studio Theatre.

Course details

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 theatre means 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 units

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 focuses 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 management, 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.

In light of Brexit negotiations, at the time of writing this funding cannot be guaranteed for the 2019/20 academic year. If such funding is not forthcoming an alternative context for this part of the course will be put in place.

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.

Staff

Michael  Spencer

Michael Spencer

Course Leader, MA Performance Design & Practice

Pete  Brooks

Pete Brooks

Course Leader, MA Performance Design and Practice, Drama Centre London.

Geraldine  Pilgrim

Geraldine Pilgrim

Associate Lecturer, MA Performance Design and Practice, Drama Centre London.

Athina  Vahla

Athina Vahla

Associate Lecturer, MA Performance Design and Practice, Drama Centre London.

Associate Lecturer: Lea Anderson
Associate Lecturer: Gary Stevens 
Associate Lecturer: Harun Morrison 
Associate Lecturer: Sophie Jump

How to apply

Opportunities for all

We are committed to making university education an achievable option for a wider range of people and to supporting all of our students in achieving their potential both during and after their courses.

We welcome applications from people with disabilities. If you have a disability (e.g. mobility difficulties, sensory impairments, medical or mental health conditions or Asperger’s syndrome) we strongly encourage you to contact us on disability@arts.ac.uk or +44 (0)20 7514 6156 so that we can plan the right support for you. All enquiries are treated confidentially. To find out more, visit our Disability & Dyslexia webpages.

Entry requirements

The standard entry requirements for this course are as follows:

*          An honours degree OR

*          An equivalent EU / international qualification.

APEL - Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning

Exceptionally applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered. The course team will consider each application that demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by:

*          Related academic or work experience

*          The quality of the personal statement

*          A strong academic or other professional reference

*          OR a combination of these factors.

Each application will be considered on its own merit but we cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

English Language Requirements

IELTS level 7.0 or above, with at least 6.0 in reading, writing, listening and speaking (please check our main English Language requirements webpage).

Selection criteria

We select applicants according to potential and current ability in the following areas:

  • 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.

What we are looking 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.

Making your application

For EU applicants concerned about Brexit, please see our dedicated page: Brexit Information for Students.

You should apply by clicking on the link to the direct form below. 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.

Start your application now

Central Saint Martins does not accept applications for deferred entry. You should therefore apply in the year you wish to study.

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following information 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

Initial 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 two 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 (such as space, equipment etc.) and human (such as 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).

Application deadline

We recommend you apply by the end of May at the very latest to avoid disappointment.  We reserve the right to close applications earlier than the deadline above subject to spaces available.

There are two ways international students can apply:

  • One of our official representatives in your country
  • A direct application.

If you are applying directly you click on the link to the direct form below. 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.

For further advice on how to apply please visit the UAL International Application page.

Start your application now

Central Saint Martins does not accept applications for deferred entry. You should therefore apply in the year you wish to study.

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following information 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

Initial 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 two 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 (such as space, equipment etc.) and human (such as 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).

Immigration history check

Whether you are applying online or through a UAL representative you will need to complete an immigration history check to establish whether you are eligible to study at UAL.  If you do not complete the check we will not be able to proceed with your application.

We cannot consider your application if you do not provide all of the information above.

Application deadline

We recommend you apply by the end of May at the very latest to avoid disappointment.  We reserve the right to close applications earlier than the deadline above subject to spaces available.


After you apply

Communicating with you

After you have successfully submitted your application, you will receive an email confirming we have successfully received your application and providing you with your login details for the UAL Portal.  We will request any additional information from you, including inviting you to upload documents or book an audition, through the portal.  You should check your UAL Portal regularly for any important updates and requests.

What happens next

Initial application check

We check your application to see if you meet the standard entry requirements for the course.  If you do, you will be invited to submit a portfolio through your UAL Portal.

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 such as 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.

Interview

Following a review of the application documents, successful applicants will be invited to an interview, either in person or by skype.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

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

Fees & 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 register your interest 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.

Scholarship 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.

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