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Acting for Contemporary & Devised Performance BA (Hons)

Key Facts

  • UCAS Code:

    W411

  • Level:

    Undergraduate

  • Duration:

    3 years full time

  • Starting:

    Sept

  • Fees UK:

    Full Time: £9,250

  • Fees International:

    Full Time: £13,000

  • Location:

    Waterside

Get in touch


For questions regarding study and admissions please contact us:

UK/EU Students enquiries

study@northampton.ac.uk
0300 303 2772

International Students enquiries

international@northampton.ac.uk
+44 (0)1604 894503

Overview


The BA (Hons) Acting for Contemporary and Devised Performance Programme is a robust and rigorous, practice-based programme for the next generation of contemporary actors and performance makers.

Throughout the programme there is a focus on the student’s individual artistic development alongside a collaborative, creative, and challenging process.

Fully recognised by Equity & Spotlight, this course creates performers who are passionate, innovative and industry ready. Students on the programme will train for 30 hours per week, and each level of the programme culminates in a Directed Production led by an industry professional.

Whatever your ambitions, we’re here to help you to achieve them. We’ll support you to identify the skills you’re learning during your course, find your strengths and secure practical experience so that when it comes to applying for jobs or further study you’ll feel confident in standing out from the crowd. We’ve created the Northampton Employment Promise because we are so confident that if you focus on your studies and complete one of our awards you’ll be highly employable by the time you graduate. Putting you in a great position to secure employment or continue your studies.

Updated 22/09/2021

Highlights


  • Focus on practical training in a conservatoire-style programme
  • Practical training takes place for 30 hours per week across 30 weeks
  • Focus on Industry preparation, contemporary performance practices, and devising
  • Access to professional facilities including 6 studios, audio/visual equipment, and venues hired for productions
  • Course recognised by Equity and Spotlight with students entitled to full Equity membership upon graduation
  • Professional Showcase opportunity for graduating students attended by industry professionals
  • Students have the opportunity to gain certification in stage combat (training and certification provided by the Academy of Performance Combat).
  • Links to prestigious Royal and Derngate Theatre
  • Theatre visits and workshops with Industry professionals*
  • In 2020, 100% of Acting for Contemporary & Devised Performance BA (Hons) students who took the National Student Survey said: “Staff are good at explaining things and have made the subject interesting”, NSS 2020
  • Guaranteed paid internship with the Northampton Employment Promise.
  • HP laptop and software included with this course for eligible students**

*All trips subject to national and local Covid-19 guidelines and restrictions. See our situation updates page for more on the University’s response to Covid-19

**see Eligibility criteria and Terms and Conditions)

Professional Showcase, prizes and intensive training

In the third year of the programme, each graduating student will have the opportunity to participate in a Showcase attended by industry professionals. In preparation for the Showcase, students will work with a professional director in developing monologues and/or scenes that highlight their skills and capabilities as an actor. The Showcase is an excellent opportunity for our students as they look to begin their careers as professional actors, and is a key step for any actor seeking Industry representation.

Intensive Training Overseas Content: In the second year of the programme there may be an opportunity to train abroad for a month, living and working intensively in an actor training environment aimed to give students a taste of what an Artistic Residency can give performance practitioners, as well as an opportunity to encounter another cultural setting distinct from their own. This opportunity is dependent on funding on a yearly basis.

The Spotlight Prize Content: In the third year of the programme, each graduating student will have the opportunity to submit a filmed monologue in order to be considered for The Spotlight Prize. They will be entered into the nationwide competition and If successful, selected by Spotlight to become finalists. Spotlight Finalists from Drama Schools across the UK perform in a unique London Showcase for professional casting directors, agents and directors. Within its first 3 years, Acting for Contemporary and Devised Performance has had two Spotlight Finalists who have both gone on to secure high profile agents and auditions upon graduation.

Course Content


  • This course has been designed to contribute towards achieving the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:

    SDG11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

    Year 1

    In the first year of the programme students will focus primarily on developing their core skills of craft. The first year is comprised of three foundational modules: Foundations of Acting, Voice, and Movement; Foundations of Ensemble Performance; and Directed Production 1. The Foundations of Acting, Voice, and Movement Module is aimed at providing each student with the necessary skills of craft that are essential for any professional actor. Throughout this module students will learn key elements of an actors’ craft – physical actions, intentions, impulses, associations, presence, the living voice, and the moving body – as taught by key practitioners of actor training including: Stanislavski, Grotowski, Laban, Ewan, Houseman, and Hart, as well as learning about the anatomy and physiology of the body and voice. As part of this module, students will also explore a diverse range of theories and histories that inform and influence contemporary performance. The focus here is on diversity and inclusion and how contemporary performance responds to the societies and cultures we live in: content covered includes (but is not limited to) LGBTQIA+ performance, disability and performance, Global Majority performance, and feminist performance as well as key practitioners and perspectives from Performance Studies. Following this intensive period of training to develop the individual’s capacity for craft, students will move on to the Foundations of Ensemble Performance and Directed Production 1 modules: both of which help develop the individual student’s craft in relation to others as part of an ensemble working with textual material in performance. These modules emphasise the actor as an ensemble member of a broader team, and listening and relating as core elements of craft in the application of individual technique. In both modules, students will learn how to work as an ensemble, utilising scene work, choral vocal technique, and dynamic and mimetic movement. During these modules, students will use text as performance material and stimuli towards group or ensemble-based performances, ultimately leading to the Directed Production 1 module wherein students will participate in every aspect of a creative process modeled after professional production schedules and standards, leading to a fully realised production.

    Year 2

    The second year of the programme looks to build on those core elements of craft developed throughout the first year through three core modules: Advanced Acting for Contemporary Performance, Advanced Acting and Devising for Screen, and the Directed Production 2. During the first part of the year, students will focus on developing advanced acting techniques for contemporary performance, looking to deepen their understanding of, and capacity for, the actor’s craft and to synthesise these advanced approaches in a performance adapted from a classic text, and through a Practice-as-Research (PaR) project. In this module, students will explore contemporary performance approaches or styles including some of the following: immersive, site-specific, participatory, autobiographical, puppetry, verbatim, one-to-one, dance-theatre, durational, performance art, gamification, and intermediality. Upon completion of this module, students will go on to study Advanced Acting and Devising for Screen, wherein students will learn how to adapt their acting for believable on-screen and/or digital performances, and learn the core skills required to be ‘on set’ in a TV or Film environment. During this module, students will undertake a film project where they will create their own short films as auteurs, and will learn film-making techniques including camera operation, composition, writing for screen, editing, production skills, and performing for the camera. Year 2 concludes with the Directed Production 2 module where students will have the opportunity to explore and apply advanced elements of the actor’s craft within a performing context modeled after a professional production and directed by an industry professional, open to a viewing public.

    Year 3

    Each aspect of the third year of the programme focuses on professional practice and industry preparation. During the first part of the year students will undertake the Professional Practice and Performance module wherein they will work with professional theatre company members, producers and industry professionals to understand and prepare for entering the industry. Students will learn how to present themselves as professional actors building a portfolio of headshots, a showreel, and audition speeches. Additionally, students will learn how to generate an income for creative projects through budgeting, fundraising, and application writing. During this module, students will also work under the artistic direction of a professional director to create a text-based production to a professional standard, entering into an intensive rehearsal period leading to the creation of a public facing performance. Throughout this module, students also will work as theatre companies to create a performance and an associated workshop designed for and delivered within a ‘social change’ context. Upon conclusion of this module, students will move on to the Professional Production module wherein they will employ advanced skills of craft (both Acting and Devising) within the framework of a full production directed by an industry professional and­ resulting in an original production for a viewing public. Additionally, throughout the year students will work on their Negotiated Project, wherein students will form theatre/production companies with their peers and create a piece of work that represents them as artists, and demonstrates the type of contemporary work they wish to continue to make in their professional career. During this project, students will take on roles such as (but not limited to) director, actor, writer, editor and they will work collaboratively to realise their creative vision.

      • Module code: ACT1012
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to explore the craft of Acting ? incorporating work on the body voice and imagination. The module provides students with the opportunity to explore some of the basic elements of actor training which are necessary to master before the craft can be developed further.
      • Module code: ACT1013
        Status: Compulsory
        This module develops student?s craft in relation to others as part of an ensemble and in relation to textual material in performance. It emphasises the actor as an ensemble member of a broader team and listening and relating as core elements of craft in the application of individual technique.
      • Module code: ACT1014
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to explore the craft of Acting ?within the framework of a professional production schedule. It provides students with opportunities to explore and apply some of the basic elements of the actor?s craft within the framework of a professional production schedule directed by an industry professional.
      • Module code: ACT2015
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to develop students Acting skills to an advanced level and for a wider variety of performance styles and contexts towards greater employability. This module will build on the foundational performance skills at Level 4 towards cohesive performances in work made for Contemporary audiences and contexts.
      • Module code: ACT2016
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to prepare students for work in recorded mediated screen and online performance contexts. Acting skills will be adapted for mediated performance and underpinned by theory and methodologies relevant to screen acting and film-making.
      • Module code: ACT2017
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to provide students the opportunity to explore and apply advanced elements of the actor?s craft within a performing context modeled after a professional production and directed by an industry professional.
      • Module code: ACT3016
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to develop knowledge and experience of the broad range of professional skills related to generating income as a freelance performer and/or theatre company working within social change contexts as performers and workshop leaders and performing with a Director on a text-based production as professional actors.
      • Module code: ACT3017
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is for students to employ advanced skills of craft (both Acting and Devising) within the framework of a full production directed by an industry professional and? resulting in an original production for a viewing public.
      • Module code: ACT4005
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is for students to form theatre/production companies create their own piece of original work at a professional standard ready for public performance.
  • A typical offer would be in the region of BBC at A-Level or DDM at BTEC, in conjunction with an extensive audition.

    We welcome applications from a range of non-traditional education or professional qualifications.

    English Language Requirements

    All International and EU students applying for a course with us must meet the following minimum English language requirements:

    • IELTS 6.0 (or equivalent) with a minimum of 5.5 in all bands
      for study at undergraduate level

    For information regarding English language requirements at the University, please see our IELTS page.

  • 2021/22 Tuition Fees

    Fees quoted relate to study in the Academic Year 21/22 only and may be subject to inflationary increases in future years.

    • UK – Full Time: £9,250
    • UK – Part Time: £1,465 per 20 credit module
    • International – Full Time: £13,000
    Additional Costs
    • Theatre Trips: £90 (paid at the start of 1st and 2nd year)
    • Show Reel: £120 (approx.)
    • Head shots: £70 (approx.)
    • Spotlight membership: £100 (recommended)
    2020/21 Tuition Fees

    Fees quoted relate to study in the Academic Year 20/21 only and may be subject to inflationary increases in future years.

    • UK and EU – Full Time: £9,250
    • International – Full Time: £12,900
    Additional Costs
    • Students are required to pay an annual Fee of £90 to cover theatre trips.
    • Show Reel: £120 (approx)
    • Head shots: £70 (approx)
    • Spotlight membership: £100 (not compulsory)

     

    For information on the scholarships available to you, please see our scholarships page.

     

  • BA Acting for Contemporary & Devised Performance is recognised by Equity and Spotlight

  • Freya studied Acting for Contemporary & Devised Performance BA (Hons). She dreams of becoming a working actor in a touring theatre company and is convinced that the standard of training she is receiving is preparing her for the journey ahead.

    Freya - Acting CDP student story

    “The Performing Arts industry is ever growing, and with so many universities and conservatoires generating hundreds of graduates every year, the game is getting tougher. My course has provided me with at least five days a week of training for the past two years, and I feel very prepared already. We are taught about how the industry works and the level of professionalism required to get through it healthily and with a thick skin.”

  • How will I be taught on Acting for Contemporary & Devised Performance BA (Hons)?

    All modules are predominantly studio-based and practical in nature. We aim to help you develop into strong and capable performers and performance-makers. You will be taught a wide range of skills that will prepare you personally and professionally for a career in the industry. You can expect to be working in one of our bespoke studio spaces for 30 hours per week as part of your training, and all our modules are taught by industry professionals with a wide range of skills and expertise, and who all have a long history of professional practice.

    How will I be assessed?

    Assessment of this programme is primarily practice-based. 80% of your assessments are done through some form of practice, i.e., Performances, Workshops, Presentations, and/or through your day-to-day work in the studios. The remaining 20% of your assessments take the form of practically oriented written assessments, i.e., essays, book reviews, short journal articles, and/or funding applications.

    What kind of support is there for students on the programme?

    At the start of each year each student will be assigned a Personal Tutor, whom you will meet with regularly. Your Personal Tutor is there to support you through every aspect of your training and development and can help you navigate the University’s systems, policies, and procedures. They are also there to help give you career advice and to help you get the most out of your training and education. Additional support for each student is available through the University’s Counselling and Mental Health Team, the Additional Student Support and Inclusion Services Team (ASSIST), the Needs Assessment Centre (NAC), and the Student Support and Advice Team.

    What if I’m neurodiverse? Will that prevent me from thriving on the programme?

    No, not at all. Many people in the industry identify as neurodiverse, including some of those professionals who teach on our programme. Neurodiversity in itself is not a barrier to thriving on the programme or in the performance industry. Our student-centred training programme looks to help you discover your own strengths, and to create a practice that is rewarding, enriching, and meaningful for you and we work with each student to help them get the most out of their training with us. Additionally, the University has many support centres (listed above) that are there to help students thrive while studying with us.

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Staff


Careers and Employability


Our students graduate the programme prepared to start their careers as professional actors, directors, and performance-makers. Some of our students have gone on to secure industry representation and have worked with some of the UK’s major broadcasters including the BBC, ITV, and Netflix, while other students have gone on to create successful theatre companies who regularly create and tour new work. Whether you’re interested in being a professional actor in theatre, film, or TV, or you’re interested in forming your own theatre company and applying for ACE funding to help you create new, exciting contemporary performance work, our programme can help you prepare for that future. Additionally, if you want to take your craft even further upon graduation, we can help you prepare for entry into MA programmes. We have already several students who have gone on to prestigious MA performance related programmes as well as a PhD candidate. Whatever your aspirations, we will support and encourage you towards your full potential.

Facilities


Our 6 bespoke studio spaces located in the Development Hub near the Waterside campus are dedicated entirely to students on our programme and are available for use during extended hours allowing our students all the time they would need to create and develop their performance and their performance practice. Access to audio/visual equipment, projectors, PA systems and lighting.