The Theatre and Professional Practice BA is a highly practical course, exploring the creative potential of collaborative processes alongside the development of the individual actor and theatre practitioner.
With multiple opportunities to invent and create your own style of live theatre, this course is designed to help equip you with the knowledge and experience to enter the theatre and creative industries beyond university.
You can gain hands-on experience of a variety of different and exciting approaches to making and performing live theatre – from scripted, collaboratively devised work and improvisational approaches to performance, to mask work and puppetry, acrobatics and stilt work, physical theatre and digital performance. You’ll also be encouraged to create a professional scale work as a final project.
You’ll be taught by our experienced faculty, some of whom are theatre directors and applied theatre practitioners, as well as invited professional guest practitioners who have previously included Frantic Assembly, the RSC, Théâtre Sans Frontières, Mandala Theatre, Theatre Absolute, Big Brum The Desperate Men, Acrojou, and The Fabularium.
Study here and you’ll join a vibrant, multicultural creative learning community with a focus on vocational and professional practice linked to the demands of the current performing arts industry.
On this course, we teach the skills of theatre making to help students develop a strong portfolio of practice from many practical exercises, all the while developing reflective awareness of your own discipline and practice.
Why choose this course?
You will be taught by our experienced creative practitioners, some who have worked as theatre directors, movement directors, educational programme developers, freelance actors, designers, mask-makers and applied theatre specialists for organisations ranging from Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), The Globe, Théâtre Sans Frontières, Trestle, Spike Theatre, The Lion’s Part and The Fabularium. Our teaching staff have significant experience in major project events, such as Liverpool Capital of Culture 2008 programme, international touring with the British Council, co-productions with the National Theatre and performances at the Sydney Opera House. Staff members are also founders and directors of organisations that have been within the Arts Council of England National Portfolio.
These experiences have harvested a range of accolades and awards for our teaching staff, from Fringe Firsts at the Edinburgh Festival to Arts Marketing and Business Awards or Annual Arts awards from the likes of Manchester Evening News, Liverpool Echo and Daily Post, and the Brighton Festival.
The teaching team has a vast array of international research expertise with exciting collaborations including examples, such as a site-specific project on the use of Pico pocket projectors during field trips with Das Institut für Alles Mögliche, Berlin, as well as long-form improvisation research with alumni of Chicago’s Second City and teachers from The Hothouse Los Angeles.
The telepresence in Theatre initiative is an ongoing project between Coventry and the actor training degree at the University of Tampere, Finland. Using repurposed technologies such as videoconferencing, rear projection, directional sound, Adobe Connect and Facebook an immersive rehearsal space is created in both locations to enable students to rehearse and explore a variety of classic plays. The project (a recipient of a Reimagine Education Award) is now in its third year and is continuing to develop new ways of teaching and learning at a distance. The project has conducted performances in Hong Kong, Finland and Miami and in 2019 will collaborate with Purdue University in the US.
You will be introduced to the international research findings in the performing arts, allowing you to use this knowledge to improve and enhance your performance and performance making. This will take place within practical workshop settings, performance visits, lectures, seminars and field trips, which may include participation within research activity alongside tutors as project leads.
The course is predominantly practice-based with workshops and classes demonstrating a huge range of different styles and forms from character building methodologies, chorus and ensemble work, mime, object animation and puppetry, the development of musicianship and approaches to music theatre, intermediality (the integration of digital elements within the live performance space), applied techniques such as verbatim theatre, forum practices and process drama.
We offer opportunities to our students to apply to collaborate with our professional partners, both locally and globally. For example, students and recent graduates have performed at the RSC in collaboration with Kiln Theatre, at the Just So festival in Staffordshire with The Fabularium, at the Festival of Imagineers in Coventry with Imagineer Productions, and in Oxford with Mandala Theatre Co.
International experience opportunities
There is a strong focus on international influences to this degree course and we offer opportunities to apply for an international placement, which in the past has included working with organisations in Italy, North America and Portugal. Graduate residency opportunities also exist in Berlin during October/November following completion of your degree in collaboration with Stefan Reibel at Das Institut für Alles Mögliche. We are also currently developing new collaborations with New York University Education Theatre Department, the Viljandi Culture Academy, Estonia, and Qendra Multimedia (Children’s Theatre), Kosova. Residency opportunities require students to submit a successful investigation project or idea proposal.
The content of the course includes modules addressing a range of international contexts, diverse cultural practices and traditions. For example, international trends in theatre and theatre practices are examined through the ‘Global Theatres: Research Enquiry’ module and students regularly explore and publicly perform plays by international playwrights. We run a range of international field trips (additional costs and availability may apply), which in recent years have included visits to see Brecht’s ‘Mother Courage’ at the Berliner Ensemble, Robert Wilson’s ‘The Black Rider’ at the Betty Nansen Theatre in Copenhagen, Woyzeck at the Russian Theatre in Tallinn, Estonia. Our trip to Paris, France, to performances at the Comédie Francaise (Cyrano de Bergerac), Theatre De La Ville (James Thiérrée’s Tabac Rouge) and Théâtre de l’Œuvre included backstage tours and masterclasses from international directors and producers.
There is a strong emphasis within the course on our students’ future career paths, aimed not only to help students to explore what your chosen career path might be, but also to help build a professional level of business skills and knowledge.
The ‘Business Matters’ module in particular is designed to encourage you to develop an appreciation of the nature of professionalism in the context of the performing arts industry and to recognise the relationship between professional arts practice, critical reflection and personal planning. We will cover the career structures relevant for your field, including companies, free-lance, small businesses and sole trader, and the commercial structures within which you may eventually work. We will also look at the possible market places for different skills and creations, which includes areas such as self-promotion, marketing and publicity.
Our Creative Futures employment team is on hand to offer tailored career and enterprise advice to support if you wish to gain employment or take advantage of professional practice opportunities within course specific industries. Our dedicated enterprise officers also offer valuable assistance on how to begin as a freelancer/entrepreneur.
On successful graduation, there are many options you could possibly pursue including careers in teaching following further training, socially engaged and community arts organisations and theatre in education contexts.
Coventry University is committed to preparing you for your future career and giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market. The University’s Careers and Employability team provide a wide range of support services to help you plan and prepare for your career.