Alexander Studies, Wellbeing & Performance
The Alexander Technique is an educational method that has been used for more than 100 years in conservatoires in the UK and globally. In recognising and letting go of habitual stress reactions you develop skills in orienting the psycho-emotional-physical system towards health and well-being and generally in gaining more control over how to live life.
This module introduces you to the practice and key concepts of Alexander Studies and their application to everyday performance as a basis for specialist performance practice. This practice can be stage performance, teachers' classroom performance or other specialisms involving facilitation of groups. It begins to develop your critical and practical skills for building wellbeing into your specialism on the basis of the technique and its particular approach to promoting wellbeing. There is a focus on why it is important to apply the principles of the technique in everyday life and on how to develop a daily reflective practice which will support the demands of your career. There will be support for you to develop and refine the commitment and enjoyment, which are essential for building wellbeing into performance practice in accordance with the principles of the technique. Each week, the delivery will be split between 1.5 hours of time in the studio and 1.5 hours online, in a hybrid format.
Assessment: Presentation (50%) and reflective essay (50%)
Communities and Cultures
The module will enable you to explore performance practices in their complex contexts, as well as situate and problematise your own praxes. You will critique current and critical perspectives and approaches to, for example, working with asylum seekers, Indigenous peoples and queer communities; in the criminal justice system, hospitals, care for the elderly and primary or special needs schools. A consideration of future ethical and sustainable practices such as those exploring multilingualism, global-south led collaboration and queering methodologies will interrogate and advance critical applied theatre and performance discourses.
Through workshops, films, case studies and guest speakers, you will develop the necessary conceptual, critical and practical skills to facilitate performance with diverse communities, whether these are bound by place, shared interest, background, or heritage. You will observe, evaluate and analyse historical and contemporary performance examples to develop your own ethical frameworks and plans for artistic community engagement. As you interrogate notions of community, culture, and social change, you will also address issues of identity and representation, explore the ethics of participation and evaluate efficacy.
Assessment: Reflective essay (50%) and performative presentation (50%)
Digital, interactive & Immersive Dramaturgies
This module will introduce you to cutting edge and emergent dramaturgies in digital, immersive and interactive performance practice, along with the associated scholarship. You will have the opportunity to build an interdisciplinary digital performance toolkit and develop strategies for utilising those dramaturgies as routes to community building, ethnographic heritage capture, protest, digital activism, and interventions of resistance. Over the course of the module, you will explore modes of digital performance practice that utilise forms such as new media, social media, WhatsApp, binaural technologies, zoom, mobile device applications and digital gaming platforms, live audience activation, engagement and inclusion.
You will also develop an understanding of the ways that interdisciplinary scholarship conceptualises and informs the practice and understanding of digital, immersive and interactive performance practice. The social, cultural and political backdrop of the experience economy will also inform the scholarly focus of the syllabus.
Assessment: Digital performance artefact (50%) and performance documentation (50%)
Praxis: Practical & Embodied Research Methods
This module will introduce you to practice research in performance methodologies. You will work in a laboratory style environment to engage with and apply modes of praxis. This module will present you with the opportunity to develop a praxical understanding of the ways in which performance can be employed as a research strategy, documented, and disseminated as a robust approach to knowledge acquisition. You will explore different approaches to designing practice-based research projects utilising the most current scholarship in the field of practice research. You will have the opportunity to develop your own methodological approaches in response to existing scholarship including innovative ways to document, reflect upon and disseminate your emerging praxis.
Assessment: Process documentation (60%) and methodological rationale (40%)
Performance Ethics & Economies
This module will enable you to plan and facilitate a project and/or role within a project that is in dialogue with and reflective of its complex contexts. Time is provided within the module to facilitate this project in partnership with a nominated company or charity. Study of applied performance praxis combined with national or international cultural industries and aligned resources, policies and funding bodies will provide vital understanding of the contexts that your project is situated within. Planning and facilitation of the project will carefully navigate these contexts and any ethical tensions created through the needs of communities and stakeholders. Your ethical management of this project in relation to the various economies experienced by communities, artists, funders and charities will be your central source of reflection, situated within applied theatre and performance praxis and the wider national or international cultural industry. This module will allow you to try-out ideas in collaboration with leading companies engaging with social development and change for sustainable practices beyond your course.
Assessment: Reflexive project analysis (60%) and portfolio (40%)
Performing the Political Body
This module interrogates the body as a site of political potential and as a creative force, individually and in relation to others. Through integrated workshops and seminars, you will explore your own embodiment and physicality within the context of live art and experimental performance practices. You will consider how the body in performance is framed and/or revealed as being subject to ideological and social structures. The course will invite you to consider the place of the body in contemporary culture through critiques of structures of power and knowledge, whilst simultaneously posing questions about the political efficacy of performance, its potential to promote social justice and the ethical implications of the work. Practical explorations will focus on solo and autobiographical work, where the body of the artist/performer is deployed as the site of political intervention.
Assessment: Performance (50%) and essay (50%)
Independent Research Project
The Independent Research Project allows you to choose either a written or performed outcome for your research and accrued knowledge across the course. You will demonstrate your ability to raise and investigate significant questions surrounding the relationship between performance and politico-social concerns or wellbeing through an extended piece of writing or a performance with a personal reflection.
If you choose to complete an extended piece of writing, you will develop an initial project proposal, which outlines the title, research question, and the form of your chosen project. You will work with a supervisor to develop this into a 15,000-word dissertation that demonstrates independent research and highly advanced critical thinking in the subject area.
If you choose to complete a performance, you will develop a research question, conduct contextual and theoretical academic research and employ creative processes as research methods in their own right, to practically interrogate your topic. Examples could include traditional performance work, live art, immersive events, site specific work, community engaged projects, teaching a class or sports performance.
Assessment: 15,000-word dissertation OR Performance project, including documentation and a 500-word piece of copy framing the work (75%) and viva (25%)
Please note that the optional module information listed on the website for this programme is intended to be indicative, and the availability of optional modules may vary from year to year. Where a module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you to make other choices.