DMU has a long-established reputation as a Centre for Excellence in Performance Arts, which reflects our commitment to innovative and excellent teaching and learning.
This course incorporates many contemporary arts disciplines, such as acting, dance, voice, physical theatre, music theatre, sound design and digital video. It celebrates and investigates the possibilities of live and digital arts in a range of performance contexts, from the traditional to the avant-garde.
With a focus on making performance, you can tailor your studies across three themes – contemporary performance, digital performance or applied arts and education. You will be supported to develop as an innovative artist able to create, perform and manage yourself, and others, within the national and international performing arts industries.
Our graduates are dynamic, creative practitioners who can take a piece of performance right through from creative brief to public performance – skills that are attractive to potential employers. As a graduate, you will be equipped with a high level of resilience and a range of skills and experience that will enable you to respond flexibly to the changing landscape of the sector.
- You will study a range of topics such as physical theatre, dramatic performance, digital sound and film, site specific, and contemporary music theatre in an intensive project-based approach mirroring the performing arts industry.
- Graduates have gone on to pursue a variety of roles and performance opportunities, including teaching and training, projects at Curve theatre and Audience of the Future – collaborative research and development with the intention of delivering an immersive live performance on multiple platforms.
- Boost your exposure in the field through our excellent industry links. Recent internationally renowned visiting companies have included Frantic Assembly, Imitating the Dog and Gecko.
- Real-life experience is offered though a placement module in your final year, where you can gain valuable knowledge with a professional organisation and develop your artistic voice by building a range of practical skills.
- DMU is recognised as a Centre for Excellence in Performance Arts, with great facilities providing specialist studios and rehearsal spaces designed specifically for performance learning activities. Access digital video cameras, sound recording equipment and editing suites to enhance and perfect your craft.
- Take part in our international experience programme, DMU Global. Students have benefited from trips to the Utrecht Spring Dance and Theatre Festival in the Netherlands, a performing artist’s residency in Valletta, Malta, and the opportunity to visit creative spaces and perform in New York.
- Benefit from the cutting edge research and practice carried out by Performing Arts staff in the Research Institute of Drama, Dance and Performance Studies Research.
Structure and assessment
- Dramatic Performance Project
- Post-Dramatic Performance Project
- Contemporary Music Theatre Project
- Physical Theatre Project
- Curve Company 1
- Performing Mixed Reality
- Intercultural Performance Identities
- Deconstructing Performance
- Perspectives on Performance and Digital Arts
- Applied Performance
- Dance Techniques 2
- Teaching and Leading Dance 1
- Enterprise and Promotion 1
- Devised Theatre and Performance
- The Healthy Practitioner
- Technical Stage Production
Students choose from a range of modules offered from the list below. This enables students, in their final year, to specialise. Modules offered may include:
- Performance Company
- International Performance Project
- Performance Research Project 1
- Performance Research Project 2
- Education and the Performing Arts
- Teaching and Leading Dance 2
- Live Art and Experimental Performance
- Music, Media and Community Arts
- Music Industry Management
- Creative Media and Performance 1
- Creative Media and Performance 2
- Placement 1
- Enterprise and Promotion 2
- Contemporary Screen Dance: Concept to Production
Teaching and assessments
The degree has a strong core of modules that develop your skills in performance-making for stage and screen-based media, alongside contextual knowledge of contemporary performing arts through the 20th and 21st centuries. Around the core, you have the freedom to construct your own specialist programme within three broad themes:
This theme includes a range of innovative contemporary practices across live and digital media. You will develop your understanding and skills in the creation and performance of all manner of contemporary performance, including immersive theatre, site specific, music theatre and Live Art. You can do this through a range of optional modules including Devising in the second year, as well as International Performance Project, Performance Company and/or Live Art in the final year. Recent graduates who focused on this theme have gone on to the Performance Practices MA or pursued a career in performance making in the UK and overseas, including Frankie who made and toured solo work in Berlin.
This theme explores the extraordinary use of digital technology in the context of live theatre, dance, interactive installation, music, gaming and internet performance and software development. Develop the skills to make work for screen, or digital soundscapes, or even performance in the virtual world. You can explore this theme in a range of option choices including Performance, Interaction and Digital Technologies in the third year. Recent graduates who focused on this theme include Amy and Ruth who set up a professional company delivering mixed reality workshops to schools, James who has created sound designs for several professional theatre companies, and Laura and Andrew who set up a successful theatre and media production company in the East Midlands.
Applied Arts and Education
This theme develops your understanding and skills in how arts inform and enrich our lives in community, healthcare and educational settings. Module option choices with this focus include the second-year module Applied Performance which leads on to Education and the Performing Arts in the final year. These can be combined with other specialist applied arts modules and/or a wide range of practice-based modules such as Devising or Performance Company. This prepares you for further training in teaching or applied arts careers such as leading community workshops. Recent graduates pursue careers in a broad spectrum of applied arts including Alex who works with adults with special needs in Staffordshire and Sarah who teaches performing arts at a school in Shropshire.
You will be taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials, seminars, group work and self-directed study. Assessment is through coursework (presentations, essays and reports) Your precise timetable will depend on the optional modules you choose to take, however, in your first year you will normally attend around 13 hours of timetabled taught sessions (lectures and tutorials) each week, and we expect you to undertake at least 25 further hours of independent study to complete project work and research.
Facilities and features
We offer some of the finest facilities in the sector. The Performance Arts Centre for Excellence (PACE) building has two spacious dance studios and two large, fully equipped performance spaces.
There are also three further studios in the Campus Centre. You can book rehearsal space and equipment including digital video cameras, sound recording equipment and edit suites.
All these facilities are on one campus surrounded by newly developed student accommodation, and it is just a ten minutes’ walk from the city centre and cultural quarter. Here you will find Curve Theatre and the digital media centre, Phoenix Square.
The main Kimberlin Library is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year (other than in exceptional circumstances) and offers a huge range of online resources, all of which can be remotely accessed from anywhere you choose.
The library is run by dedicated staff who offer additional support to students, including help with academic writing, research strategies, literature searching and reference management and assistive technology, and mathematical skills for non-maths students. There is also a Just Ask service for help and advice, available via email or telephone.
Our comfortable and well-equipped study areas provide a range of environments to suit your needs.
Our Learning Zones and The Greenhouse provide flexible spaces, whether you are working as a group, practising a presentation or working quietly on your own.
They feature workstations with power supplies for laptops, plus bookable syndicate rooms with plasma screens, laptops and DVD facilities. Wi-Fi is available across all campus locations.
Opportunities and careers
Several third year option modules provide you with the opportunity to gain practical experience working with organisations outside of the university. These include schools, community groups and local arts venues.
There are international opportunities built into the Performing Arts degree, in order to give you an insight into artistic practices beyond the UK. A yearly visit to a European arts festival (currently in The Netherlands) enables you to see a wide range of international performance work, take part in workshops with the creators, and attend lectures with the festival organisers. A third year option module, International Performance Project, includes a week intensive in an international Performing Arts School (currently Valetta, Malta), where you immerse yourselves in the local culture and artistic practice, using this to inform the development of practical work.
This degree has employability at its heart. The interdisciplinary nature of the course equips graduates to work in a wide variety of fields such as performance, creating work, project management, teaching, research and community arts.
You will gain real-life experience of working as a creative maker, performer and manager, responsible for taking a piece of performance right through from creative brief to public performance, often in venues beyond the university campus. These experiences are hugely attractive to potential employers and invaluable for graduates who want to create their own work. Read about our graduates.
You will also be well-equipped to pursue further study at postgraduate level including the DMU Performance Practices MA.
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