Actor and Performer Training MA/MFA

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About this course

Duration

13 months (MA) or 2 years (MFA)

Term Start

October 2017

Entry Requirements

This Programme is for graduates or those with relevant professional experience.

The MA/MFA Actor/Performer Training is a practice-based programme for those seeking intensive advanced training as actors and performers alongside rigorous academic study and performance research. The programme focuses specifically on actor/performer training, theatre creation, performative writing, informed critical reflection and practice research. The uniqueness of the programme lies in the way it seeks to integrate traditional text-based conservatoire training and practices with the physical collaborative approach that has grown out of Eastern and Central Europe over the last 60 years.

The MA/MFA includes an expedition to Georgia, Russia which offers a unique context for learning and ethnographic and cultural research.

 

MA Actor/Performer Training

There are four modules in the MA:

  • Module One: The Advanced Actor
  • Module Two: Performative Writing/Vade Mecum
  • Module Three: Expedition to Performance
  • Module Four: Final Research Project

Please click here to read the MA Programme Specification.


MFA Actor/Performer Training

Year One MFA
There are three modules in year one of the MFA. See details of these modules below:

  • Advanced Actor Training (30 credits)
  • Performative Writing/Vade Mecum (30 credits)
  • Expedition to Performance (60 credits)

Year Two MFA
There are two modules in year two:

  • The Widening Field (60 Credits)
  • Final Independent Project (60 Credits)

Please click here to read the MFA Programme Specification.


Why choose this course?

Intensive advanced training for actors and performers alongside rigorous academic study and performance research.

Includes an expedition which offers a unique context for learning and ethnographic and cultural research.


Fee and Application Information

Accreditation

Mode of Study: 13 Months Full Time
Location: London venue


2017 Entry Fees

MA Option (1 year)

UK/EU Fees: £15,500
International Fees: £16,500

The fee includes travel and accommodation costs of the expedition to Georgia.

MFA Option (2 years)

UK/EU Fees: £21,500
International Fees: £22,500

The fee includes travel and accommodation costs of the expedition to Georgia.


The Department for Business Innovation and Skills provide a loan for eligible UK/EU students of up to £10,000 per student for postgraduate Masters study. Please see the video below for guidance and click here  for more information.
 

 

How to Apply

You can apply for this course until it starts in October 2017 (subject to validation). Please click here to register your interest in applying.

International Interviews and Auditions
Throughout the year, we will be holding interviews and audition workshops in London and abroad. Please click here for our 2017 schedule and to register.


Course content

The focus of the MA and the first year of your MFA is experiential learning and practice – exposure to rigorous craft and skill-based practice, and developing complementary artistic and professional skills to support and enhance their creative performance work. To support this widening field of knowledge and to develop an understanding for contemporary global initiatives and professional opportunities and realities, a series of seminars, workshops, lectures, keynote interventions, and discussions will be programmed throughout the year. It is envisaged that individual students will have utilised this first year of training, study and research to develop a clear understanding of their skills, abilities and faculties as Actor/Performers and the particular field of enterprise they wish to pursue through their second year of study and beyond. MA students will undertake a Finall Independent project to complete their course

The second year of your MFA focuses on deepening and widening your field of professional practice and knowledge; the gaining of professional experience and exposure, developing professional networks and contacts and culminating in the creation of either an artist's portfolio, or a piece of independent work that typically manifests your vision, artistic practice, skills, inclinations and aptitudes. This may take the form of a live performance or presentation; an electronic presentation or a combination of these mediums.

While the MA  programme and first year of the MFA has been holistically conceived, it is built on a modular framework, culminating in the first year in a research expedition which becomes the stimulus for subsequent collaborative work towards a performance. The second year of the MFA includes a professional placement, taught weekends and a Final Independent Project module which is equivalent to the Masters’ dissertation commonly found in most MFA programmes.


Module One: Advanced Actor Training

The first period of work of this module is focussed on a daily practice of psycho-physical ensemble based training, supported by discrete practitioner-led classes in corporeal and vocal exploration and technique. The emphasis here is on discovery of the natural, connected voice and the expansion of range, tone, colour and expression. The body is conditioned as source, vessel and instrument of all experience, sensation and expression. The training schedule seeks to give parity and balance between outer form and structure – be that physical, song, or the spoken word - and the animating inner life. Consciousness of the experience of doing- of experiencing live in the moment - is essential, as is the power of releasing into and living within actual imaginative dynamic realities. Mono and polyphonic song is integrated as both training vehicle and as a language for theatrical expression and composition.

As the training work progresses, the study and integration of contemporary dramatic texts is woven into daily practice. These texts offer often complex, poetic, politically and artistically challenging material. The process of acculturation and the embodiment of character realities are facilitated through phenomenological approaches to decoding dramatic texts and reconstituting the word into action, experience and being.

The term’s work will culminate in the development of individual and collective etudes consisting of scenes drawn from contemporary dramatic texts.

 

Module Two: Performative Writing/Vade Mecum

This module provides the theoretical and academic underpinning for the developing practice explored across all modules. The module offers a particular lens through which to enhance, deepen and inform your understanding of theatre as an historical, and contemporary cultural and social phenomenon. In particular you will explore different modes of research and reflection through; practice as research, the study of subject-specific literature and performance, verbal discourse and developmental and critical modes of writing.

Active research is a fundamental principle engendering the evolution of one’s own practice and professional aesthetic. London offers not only a wealth of international theatre work, but also opportunities to work with and participate in workshops, events, performances, seminars and symposiums in related fields. An important strand of the module is the Vade Mecum - the development of your personal book of creative and critical output through the programme. It is an essential tool for your creation and reflection and will feed directly into the exploration and development of areas for your independent specialist projects. Seminars will be led by professional writers, practitioners and specialists, supporting you as you explore different modes and registers of writing and thinking; writing as doing; writing as free exploration; writing as performance, poetic writing, critical writing, writing for performance. In addition you will be engaged in practice as research and research as practice as you test and develop your own sense of yourself as performer/actor and theatre-maker. You will be given the opportunity to present your written work in public either through performance or reading sessions. Feedback is through group and individual tutorial.


Module Three: Expedition into Performance

Expedition is a unique opportunity to expand your field of understanding as an artist and theatre maker. Taking the knowledge and skills you have acquired and applying them out of the rehearsal room and the city - out into the world. Expedition bridges the gap between the training space and the real world. Expedition leads to cultures and communities where performance is still an intrinsic part of communal life, a binding that is crucial to the health, identity and the wellbeing of community. Often these traditions may be rooted through unbroken histories spanning hundreds of years.

Expedition confronts us with both the realities of theatre and performance as defined by advanced western societal models, and the possibilities of performance as a mode for intercultural communication and interaction based on mutual respect and value. The experience offers engagement with a different ecology of performance and enables us to reconfigure, and expand our own practice and understanding of the value, structures, and necessity of performance.

It is also the starting point and often the inspiration for the development of the Masters’ theatre project to be performed at the end of the semester. It is envisaged the experience of expedition may also influence and inspire elements of your own Independent Research Project. The expedition is the matrix from which a new theatre work will be created and developed by the ensemble, that will premier, with the possibility of further performances on the international touring circuit.

The module creates the framework, conditions and impetus for students and collaborators to create an original ensemble theatre work. The initial research and the stimulus for this work comes with expedition- a journey into the artistic heart of a different culture where the artistry - song, story, dance, ceremony, ritual - are integral to the health, wellbeing and continuance of community. Core to the purpose of expedition is the encounter – the artistic meeting between artists and students – the experience and understanding of the place of performance within complex traditional, social and hierarchal cultures. Previous expeditions have journeyed into the Tusheti Mountains in Georgia; Roma enclaves in Extremadura Spain; the MaramureČ™ and Bucovina regions of Northern Romania.

The programme’s momentum of training and creative encounter is maintained on expedition which now offers a widening field for artistic encounter and inspiration. Core to the experience is the opportunity to witness and engage with not only the position of art and the artist within their own communities, but crucially the experience of artistic expression within the artist - the living ecology of technique, belief, meaning, values, custom, and expression that animate culture.

These experiences will form the catalyst for the creation of artistic material which will be developed, synthesised and will form the basis of an extended devising project to create an original ensemble theatre work to be premiered.


Module Four: Final Research Project

The final module facilitates the creation of your original creative work. This may be a performance; a conceptual paper; a multi-dimensional proposition of a project that you have developed and will pitch to professional organisations; it may be the practical articulation of your own practice, or a model and vision for your future organisation. It could be a book or a proposition for a PhD; it may be the presentation of your Research and Development for a theatre production, or the creation of a show reel, professional portfolio, and material for audition. It will be the culmination and distillation of the practice and vision you have developed over the course of your studies and reflect the integrity and originality of your practice. Your final project can be understood as the proposition launches you into the professional world.

Documentation

Drawing on the style, aesthetics and mediums you have developed within your Veda Mecum this module supports you to create a document that captures and articulates your final practical project. The document will be a parallel construction alongside and in relation to your practice. This material reflects on and reveals the process of creation: its force, questions, what was left behind, the unexpected discoveries, the drive that enlivened it and its failures and is considered as much an artistic gesture as the scenic piece. The ‘spectator’ or employer will able to ‘read’ the scenic piece without needing any additional explanation. The choice of medium, register and technology deployed in the creation of the documentation lies within the agency of individual students.

 

MFA Year Two:
 

Module Four: The Widening Field

This module focuses on processes of research and development aimed at realising individualised specialist practice with the view that it ultimately achieves professional validity and viability. The module is deliberately open and flexible as each student’s journey will develop its own pathway. Students focus on deepening and widening their field of knowledge and practice via the gaining of professional experience and exposure; researching into current initiatives, models and practices, structures and organisations relevant to their particular field of interest, and synthesising their experiences to design and build their own models of practice.

The module is based around self-directed study, research into the industry and work-based learning through talks/presentations/ seminars throughout the year prior to the attachment. Students are supported in seeking appropriate work-based learning opportunities either with the College’s creative partners, their own contacts, new initiatives with appropriate organisations or ensemble companies or working within appropriate internal placement opportunities

There will be four taught weekends which offer the opportunity to test and trial the state of your practice with tutor/mentor/peer feedback and input. Each weekend will be situated in a different location e.g. London, Edinburgh, Berlin and will be focused to support the progressive development of each student’s emerging project. Specialist practitioners may be invited to support or contribute. Activities may include workshop presentations, seminars, discussions, impromptu Research and Development sessions, practitioner led sessions, student-led sessions, tutorials and feedback


Module Five: Final Independent Project

The final module facilitates the creation of your original creative work. This may be a performance; a conceptual paper; a multi-dimensional proposition of a project that you have developed and will pitch to professional organisations; it may be the practical articulation of your own practice, or a model and vision for your future organisation. It could be a book or a proposition for a PhD; it may be the presentation of your Research and Development for a theatre production, or the creation of a show reel, professional portfolio, and material for audition. It will be the culmination and distillation of the practice and vision you have developed over the course of your studies and reflect the integrity and originality of your practice. Your final project can be understood as the proposition launches you into the professional world.


Documentation

Drawing on the style, aesthetics and mediums you have developed within your Veda Mecum this module supports you to create a document that captures and articulates your final practical project. The document will be a parallel construction alongside and in relation to your practice. This material reflects on and reveals the process of creation: its force, questions, what was left behind, the unexpected discoveries, the drive that enlivened it and its failures and is considered as much an artistic gesture as the scenic piece. The ‘spectator’ or employer will able to ‘read’ the scenic piece without needing any additional explanation. The choice of medium, register and technology deployed in the creation of the documentation lies within the agency of individual students.