Course specification and structure
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UDTPEPRA - BA (Hons) Theatre and Performance Practice (Top-up)

Course Specification

Validation status Validated
Highest award Bachelor of Arts Level Honours
Possible interim awards
Total credits for course 120
Awarding institution London Metropolitan University
Teaching institutions London Metropolitan University
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Subject Area Art
Attendance options
Option Minimum duration Maximum duration
Full-time 1 YEARS 2 YEARS
Part-time 2 YEARS 4 YEARS
Course leader  

About the course and its strategy towards teaching and learning and towards blended learning/e-learning

The course aims to encourage students to develop their own informed and systematic knowledge and understanding of the issues and challenges faced in theatre and performance; while developing their professional skills to a high level. Students will experience a variety of learning and teaching strategies including plenary lectures, smaller group seminars, workshops and practical sessions, tutorials, individual project supervision, directed group and individual independent study. Although a variety of teaching methods are employed, teaching and learning will be mainly workshop/seminar/rehearsal based, given the nature of the study of the processes of theatre and performances. Practical work taking the form of whole or small group exercises is designed to enhance students’ knowledge and understanding of theatre and performance. Frequently and where appropriate, students are able to direct their own learning opportunities, e.g. in workshops, practical performances and in seminar presentations, supported by tutorial guidance. The learning methods encouraged are experiential as well as analytical and conceptual and are aimed at producing autonomous learners who are confident in the knowledge and understanding they have developed. An extra-curricular enhancement programme of professional events and career development seminars further enhance the development of knowledge and understanding of theatre and performance.

In development of this course, consideration has been given to the following: the Subject Benchmark Statements (Dance, Drama and Performance 2015), the Higher Education Qualification Framework, the University’s Strategic Plan and Student Charter, the University’s Academic Regulations, the views and feedback of students, external examiners and employers/clients, developments within the subject area, and the changing needs of the cultural/commercial sectors and professions. Due consideration has also been given to inclusivity in course and assessment design.

Embedded in the Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design, the course draws on the strengths of teaching staff from across the School and the wide circle of academic and cultural contacts and collaborators attached to the School and University.

The course seeks to provide and foster:

• learning through direct experience, connecting academic and creative studies;
• student choice in subject and style of learning;
• a culture of independent and critical thought, encouraging the challenging of received ideas and practice;
• employability attributes, through live projects engaging with professional artists, external partners, theatre and performance institutions and organisations that create a realistic environment of professional expectations for theatre and performance students, preparing them for graduate-level employment;
• engagement across the School and University, providing opportunities for collaborative project work during study;
• individualised learning and study support opportunities, that cater for different learning styles;
• awareness of the duty of all to understand the impact of their decisions and actions and to strive to act responsibly.

Lectures provide and encourage a critically informed view of a topic, contextualising the subject and illustrating applied approaches. Lectures provide students with a managed introduction to a theme, enabling them to continue with suggested or directed self-study.

Seminars enable students to debate and explore subjects, questions and assignments with peers and tutors, encouraging an open and collaborative approach to shared learning.

Tutorials support individual learning, allowing for individual approaches to study, and catering for individual interests. Tutorials can be diagnostic or can support specific assignment or project-related questions and support differing student paths to achievement of learning outcomes.

Study trips offer opportunities for vital direct experience with art objects and sites of art study, and to communicate with and learn from experts and specialists at art institutions and organisations.

Live briefings and feedback are an important aspect of work-related learning, exposing art students to experience of professional ways of working, of professional expectations of standards, and of the most current professional practice.

Group critiques allow students to benefit from feedback on their own and others’ work, to contribute to that feedback, and are a valuable part of the peer-to-peer learning that is a core expectation and reason for University study.

Workshops offer students opportunities to engage in creative practice via making. Opportunities will be available to students to undertake workshop and studio practice relevant to their assignments or collaborative projects. The objective is to apply knowledge and acquire technical competence, to think critically and creatively, to master technique and develop the capacity to work independently and within teams.

Blended learning uses the University’s virtual learning environment to support and reinforce reflective learning, to monitor progress through assignments, to foster peer-to-peer communication and collaborative research activity and to facilitate tutorial support for students and flexible approaches to learning

Research skills are embedded at the beginning of the course and are built upon each academic year to ensure maximum use of the learning opportunities that projects and assignments offer. Digital literacy is embedded in the curriculum via the use of the University's virtual learning environment and in curriculum delivery and expectations of digital capabilities as appropriate to task set and the level of study. Students make use of digital platforms alongside traditional approaches to research, develop and communicate their projects.

The teaching team includes professional practitioners; actors and performers, dancers and choreographers, directors, writers, dramaturgs and fine artists. Theatre and performance sector links provide students with a clear understanding of future employment opportunities.

Students will have open access to the three dedicated theatre spaces and under supervision will have access to theatre and lighting technologies. They will also have access to School IT suites and a wide range of software that will support their personal and educational development. Festival Showcase takes place off site in a London venue.

Connectivity within the University is essential to the degree. The course requires strong and consistent use of the Library and Learning Centre, which has a subject-specific librarian offering workshops and one-to-one assistance with printed and online academic material. The Learning Centre, offers private study space as well as academic material. Other study and conversation spaces are available (location lectures, seminars and tutors’ offices), and students are expected to collaborate with each other regarding seminar topics, group or joint presentations, preparation of peer feedback, and networking (supported by subject staff) across undergraduate study years and disciplines.

Course aims

The BA Theatre and Performance Practice course aims are all aligned with the qualification descriptors in the Quality Assurance Agency’s Framework for Higher Education Qualifications.

The course aims (CA) are to:

CA1. enable students to work adeptly across a range of professions in the performing arts;

CA2. equip students with the creativity, techniques, and contextual knowledge required to make original contributions to the field;

CA3. provide students with an understanding of industry-specific norms, values, and professional etiquette;

CA4. enhance students’ capacity for research and creative practice as life-long activities by introducing independent learning and the exploration of their individual potential;

CA5. enable students to develop effective collaborative skills and a sense of community that can be transferred to a variety of working contexts;

CA6. develop, through voice, movement and acting workshops, creative theatre makers who can access performance and cultural activity in others;

CA7. enable students to explore the aesthetics of theatre and develop skills in making environments, props, sets, objects and costumes;

CA8. develop students’ ability to lead workshops and work with individuals and groups;

CA9. equip students with the necessary skills to become social and cultural entrepreneurs, including such skills as producing, marketing, and business;

CA10. prepare students for possible postgraduate research in a number of related areas.

Course learning outcomes

The following learning outcomes incorporate and depend on systematic understanding of the key aspects of the knowledge base of theatre and performance practice, including a coherent and detailed knowledge of some specialist areas in depth.

On completing the course students will be able to:

Cognitive intellectual abilities

CLO1 critically evaluate arguments, assumptions, abstract concepts and data (that may be incomplete), to make judgements, and to frame appropriate questions to achieve a solution - or identify a range of solutions - to a problem; (CA1, CA4, CA10)

Knowledge and understanding

CLO2 describe and comment upon particular aspects of current research, or equivalent advanced scholarship, in theatre and performance, recognising the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge; (CA2, CA4, CA8)

Transferable skills

CLO3 manage their own learning, and to make use of scholarly reviews and primary sources (for example, referenced research articles and/or original materials appropriate to theatre and performance); (CA2, CA9, CA7)

CLO4 communicate information, ideas, problems and solutions to both specialist and non-specialist audiences; (CA1, CA6, CA9)

CLO5 exercise initiative and personal responsibility, including decision-making in complex and unpredictable contexts; (CA3, CA4, CA5)

CLO6 apply the methods and techniques that they have learned to review, consolidate, extend and apply their knowledge and understanding, and to initiate and carry out projects; (CA1, CA6, CA9)

CLO7 undertake appropriate further training of a professional or equivalent nature; (CA3, CA10)

Subject specific skills

CLO8 accurately deploy established techniques of practice, analysis and enquiry within theatre and performance; (CA2, CA6, CA7)

CLO9 devise and present new and innovative performance material. (CA1, CA4, CA6)

CLO10 exhibit professionalism in rehearsals (CA3, CA5, CA9)

CLO11 demonstrate fluency in industry specific language and terminology (CA2, CA10)

Principle QAA benchmark statements

Subject Benchmark Statement; Dance, Drama and Performance (2015)

Assessment strategy

The BA (Hons) Theatre and Performance Practice (top-up), through a wide range of formative and summative assessment strategies will give students the skills and knowledge to create and deliver theatre-based cultural activity informed by political processes, social inclusion and participation. Self-assessment and reflection are key factors in the process of learning and are part of the course’s assessment strategies.

Modes of assessment are integral to the teaching and learning process and vary accordingly. Much of the assessment is based on practical presentations, performances, students' reflections on their experience and knowledge of performance, either as practitioners, as members of audiences or as participants in exercises.

Coursework includes formal essays, portfolios and journals, creative writing, critical and creative activities, reviews, and assessed performances and oral presentations. These different forms of coursework assessment will be used to test a range of knowledge and understanding and take account of the suitability of assessment modes to a process and practically oriented course. In each module the mode of assessment is determined by the nature of the focus, whether practical, technical or theoretical, and based on the material studied and the approaches adopted in the teaching.

Formative assessment will include contribution to seminar and workshop, short exercises in class, presentations and essay plans. These will receive oral and written feedback during and between class sessions.

Summative assessments include academic essays, reflective logs/journals, set presentations, group work, reviews, and portfolios of critical work.

Assessment strategies will take into account the student’s ability to work independently and as part of a team.

Organised work experience, work based learning, sandwich year or year abroad

Work-related learning is embedded in the course both formally in modules SM6015 ‘Performance Research & Development’ and SM6P10 ‘Festival Showcase’, and throughout the course through live projects, industry visits, visiting speakers and events such as ‘Making a Living’ and ‘Celebration’ weeks.

With support from the Careers and Employability Office, students progress through study culminating in level 6, learning to present themselves and their work online and externally, developing and refining CVs, undertaking employment research, becoming aware of employment or external project opportunities, making approaches and applications, undertaking relevant practical work, obtaining feedback or appraisal and critically reflecting on the experience and learning. Work-related learning is a core element in the course with at least 70 hours working on live projects for real organisations. Students will experience a competitive recruitment process / pitch for opportunities and they will be required to reflect on their experience of the project and undertake forward career action planning. The course has core modules with built-in work-related learning, enabling the student to undertake professional activity, either employment, a work placement, professional training or volunteering within the course.

A large majority of the tutors and lecturers on the course are practitioners and share their knowledge and experience with students throughout their course of study. The project and workshop delivery of the course means that opportunities for work related learning through collaboration with external companies, agencies, institutions, competitions and professionals can be taken up as they arise, if appropriate to the programme of study.

Projects function as simulations of professional workplaces, with expectations of professional standards, conduct and delivery building as the students progress from level to level. During their final year, students are expected to work towards completion of a major theatre or performance for a public audience.

Course specific regulations

Module Title Module Code Course Learning Outcome
Performance Research & Development SM6015 CLO4, CLO3
Festival Showcase SM6P10 CLO5, CLO9
Collaborative Film Project (Alternative Core) SM6P11 CLO6, CLO8
Independent Project (Alternative Core) SM6P12 CLO2, CLO9

Installation and Site SM6068 CLO1, CLO7, CLO11
Writing for Performance SM6061 CLO1, CLO7, CLO11
Producing SM6066 CLO1, CLO7, CLO11
Directing Two SM6056 CLO1, CLO7, CLO11

Level 6: to achieve an honours degree award on this course, students must have completed and passed each level 6 module at 40% or above.

LEVEL 6 OPTIONS: Alternative Cores
Students at Level 6 will have the option to select between two thirty credit modules: Independent Project (30 weeks), and Collaborative Film Project (15 weeks). Students will be offered tutorial guidance on these options to highlight and ensure management of the modules’ differing timetabling and delivery structures.

Part-time study is defined as 60 credits per year. Consequently, in part-time mode, the duration of study for a 120-credit award will be 2 years. The pattern of study in this instance shall be as follows:

Year 1: SM6P11 Collaborative Film Project or SM6P12 Independent Project, and either Autumn Option SM6056 or SM6068, or Spring Option SM6061 or SM6066
Year 2: SM6015 Performance Research & Development, SM6P10 Festival Showcase and either Autumn Option SM6056 or SM6068, or Spring Option SM6061 or SM6066

Modules required for interim awards

To enter the course at Level 6 and achieve the award of BA (hons) Theatre and Performance Practice, the following modules must be completed and passed:

SM6015 Performance Research & Development
SM6P10 Festival Showcase
SM6P11 Collaborative Film Project (Alternative Core)
SM6P12 Independent Project (Alternative Core)
And any two of:SM6056 Directing Two
SM6068 Installation and Site
SM6061 Writing for Performance
SM6066 Producing

Arrangements for promoting reflective learning and personal development

Reflective learning and personal development planning is a key strategy in this course.

Throughout their study, students will be expected to engage with practical and theoretical material and explore the relationship between them. Much of the work is project-based, which will actively construct their learning processes by establishing conceptual frameworks to then develop and continue into theatre performance and production with guidance and support from tutors. In many modules, students are assessed on a continuous basis in order to ensure that their practice is developed through ongoing critical reflection, experimentation, development, and achievement.

Being regularly engaged with professionals throughout their study, students will be expected to work to industry standards.

Most summative assessment is at the end of year-long modules, with several formative assessment points formally instituted over the course of the year. At these interim formative assessment and feedback points, students reflect on their progress to date with their peers and course staff (with the benefit of feedback from professional partners), seek help where they identify the opportunity for improvement in learning strategies and outcomes, and make recommendations to themselves for future development. The feedback and student reflection are recorded and forms an action plan for the next period of study.

This system is highly individualised, but also benefits from peer engagement in workshop projects group/studio critiques. The School’s programme of employability events and embedded work-related learning within the curriculum supports students’ personal development planning. Through these initiatives, students are increasingly able, as they progress from year to year, to understand the professional environment of their disciplines, the various opportunities available to them, and how to shape their learning according to their ambitions.

Throughout the modules and the course therefore, in this way, students build bodies of work, including reflections on progress and achievement, and planning for their future achievement of targets.

Career, employability and opportunities for continuing professional development

The creative arts industry employs around 700,000 people UK wide and contributes £24.8 billion to the UK economy each year. Graduates in drama and theatre have higher rates of employment than most of their peers in the Arts and Humanities, according to The Complete University Guide.

According to ‘Prospects’, the skills of these students include:

•teamwork and collaboration;
•time management and organisational skills;
•an open mind and the ability to move beyond boundaries and experiment with different ideas;
•communication skills;
•analytical, critical and research skills;
•the ability to cope with criticism and learn from it;

Graduates go on to a wide range of careers. As well as jobs within the theatre and related creative industries such as acting, directing, stage and event management, script writing and technical theatre, graduates may also take up careers in the following sectors:

• criticism and journalism;
• education;
• commercial and public sector management;
• community based;
• marketing/ sales/ advertising;
• business/ financial.

Progression routes include:

• acting (for theatre, film, television and other contexts);
• directing (for other companies and on self-initiated projects);
• writing (under commission and independently);
• choreography (for other companies and on self-initiated projects);
• dramaturgy (freelance and institutionally as a literary manager);
• community performance/ theatre in education;
• workshop facilitation;
• arts policy making;
• arts administration/ marketing;
• cultural industries;
• establishment of a professional company.

Graduates can undertake postgraduate education in:

• acting;
• voice;
• dramaturgy;
• choreography and movement;
• directing;
• theatre history;
• applied theatre;
• theatre training;
• drama therapy.

Career opportunities

The course focuses on helping you develop professional skills. We attempt to replicate industry environments and teaching staff maintain strong links with the industry. These links can be instrumental in securing internships and employment after graduation.

As a graduate of the course you could find yourself working in many exciting areas of theatre including acting, directing, producing, community performance or theatre in education, theatre-making, arts policy-making and arts administration or marketing.

Our graduates include award-winning practitioners who work in a range of capacities across theatre, film and television.

Entry requirements

In addition to the University's standard entry requirements, you should have one of the following:

  • 240 credits from a Higher National Diploma (HND), Foundation Degree (FdA/ FdSc) or equivalent international qualification in a relevant subject
  • 240 credits from years 1 and 2 of an undergraduate degree (BA/BSc) in a relevant subject at a different institution
  • a portfolio interview

If you live in the UK you will be invited to a portfolio interview. If you live outside of the UK you will be asked to submit a portfolio via email.

Portfolios and interviews

Your portfolio should be selective, but have enough work to show a range of your interests and talents. We are interested in seeing how you develop a project from beginning to end, not only finished work.

If you cannot bring certain pieces of your work to your portfolio interview, please take photographs and include them.

Physical portfolio

If you are coming in person to your interview we strongly suggest bringing a physical portfolio of work.

Things to bring:

  • Sketchbooks – we love to see your sketchbooks with ideas and notes, even if they are messy.
  • Examples of the development of a project from start to finish and the final outcome.
  • Some work that you are really proud of and want to talk about.
  • Some work that shows you experimenting with different processes.

Digital Portfolio

If you are submitting an online application, please follow these guidelines.

Things to include:

  • Scans or photographs demonstrating items from the list above.
  • Storyboarding for motion-based work.
  • Also include scans of sketchbook pages showing development.
  • Be sure to check the resolution and overall quality of your image to ensure submissions are not pixelated.

Official use and codes

Approved to run from 2019/20 Specification version 1 Specification status Validated
Original validation date 30 May 2019 Last validation date 30 May 2019  
JACS codes 100069 (drama): 100%
Route code TPEPRA

Course Structure

Stage 1 Level 06 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
SM6015 Performance Research and Development Core 30 NORTH AUT+SPR MON PM
SM6P10 Festival Showcase Core 30 NORTH SPR WED AM
          NORTH SPR WED PM
SM6P11 Collaborative Film Project Alt Core 30 NORTH AUT WED AM
          NORTH AUT WED PM
SM6P12 Independent Project Alt Core 30 NORTH AUT+SPR NA  
SM6056 Directing 2 Option 15 NORTH AUT TUE AM
SM6061 Writing for Theatre and Performance Option 15 NORTH SPR TUE PM
SM6066 Producing Option 15 NORTH SPR THU PM
SM6068 Installation and Site Option 15 CITY AUT TUE AM