Important Information

Please note, the BA (Hons) Contemporary Performance Practice (CPP) programme is currently not accepting new applications. This programme has active cohorts of students whose work will be showcased and celebrated within the 23/24 season of performance at RCS. The information on this page is intended to allow these students to reference elements of their programme.

Class of 2022

Agnes Forrest

Brandon Hindle

Catherine Allison

Fionnuala Featherstone

Gudrun Schmidinger

Jen Kelly

Jessica Kucelin

Joe Kinnear

Julia Gabrielle Elise Darrouy

Kaiya Bartholomew

Nell O’Hara

Rafial Anargyros Tsantes

Sean McGarvey

Seán Talbot

Programme structure

This information is relevant only for students at RCS currently studying CPP

The BA (Hons) Contemporary Performance Practice is a practical programme designed to develop the knowledge, skills and understanding required to realise your potential as an autonomous artist who specialises in the making of performance work for themselves and for others. The concern of the programme is to provide opportunities for you to develop a personal critical perspective, and an arts practice situated sustainably in the broadest possible ecological context. The programme does this through engaging you in the following four strands:

Modules (for Current Students)

You will learn about the methods and strategies of making performance using your autobiography as your material. You are encouraged to question your attitudes, values and understandings, and translate these discoveries into original performance work.

Module 1

Personal Archaeology in Performance (40 credits)

Module 2

Persona and Context (40 credits)

Module 3

Re-imagining Classic Text (30 credits)

You will explore how to apply your arts practice in social and participatory contexts. You will take part in a residency within a community which will result in an original piece of performance work and new site-based choreographic work. This stage of the programme focuses on your development as a socio-centric artist and how you engage with other people.

Module 1

Performance as Social Practice: Experimentation (20 credits)

Module 2

Performance as Social Practice: Application (30 credits)

Module 3

Choreography, People and Place (30 credits)

Module 4

Radical Pedagogy (20 credits)

The emphasis is on the researching artist. You will learn how to create text for performance, supported through individual mentoring by a performance tutor. Your research works towards a performance research document and a collaborative performance project exploring ideas relevant to your own performance practice. You also undertake a professional placement.

Module 1

Collaborations (20 credits)

Module 2

Placement (20 credits)

Module 3

Performance Research (30 credits)

Module 4

Performance Writing (30 credits)

In your final year you will work towards developing a sustainable arts practice that will support your development into your chosen professional field. You will make an original performance work for the Into the New festival. You will have the opportunity to select additional projects which focus on directing, arts in prisons, site-specific work or an international professional secondment.

Module 1

Into the New:rnPerformance-making orrnProducing (60 credits)

Module 2

Artist in Development (30 credits)

Option modules for your final term

Site-Specific Performance / Arts in Prisons / Directing: Re-imagining Classic Text / Secondment (all 30 credits)

Student work

Digital performance

Watch some of the digital output created in the past 12 months by all year groups of Contemporary Performance Practice students.


Graduate Pathways

Graduate Pathways highlights the many ways in which the Contemporary Performance Practice programme enables and supports students as they progress into their professional careers. Looking at opportunities created through the curriculum or with industry partners post-graduation, the publication gives insight into what students can expect from this degree programme.

Current projects

If we are truly contemporary, our research, practice and pedagogy must respond to the now. Here are the current projects we are working on:

Anti-Racism in Education

The evidence of racism and persecution highlighted by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020 demonstrated that our learning environment, pedagogy and community need to be actively anti-racist. The Contemporary Performance Practice team is committed to developing anti-racist approaches to our learning and teaching environment and curriculum and we undertook a curriculum audit in academic year 2020/21. We will annually review our pedagogy and learning materials and engage in further training and learning to develop our anti-racist practices.

The RCS Anti-Racism Action Plan is available to view.

Art and the Climate Crisis

Students and staff on the Contemporary Performance Practice programme are involved in a range of projects engaging with and responding to the climate crisis and connecting with the COP26 event in Glasgow in November 2021. A range of new works are being programmed as part of the Climate Portals project in partnership with Shared Studios, Harrison Parrot and Scottish Ballet, and supported by the British Council. Collaborations, connections and intimate performances will be taking place between Glasgow and Herat, Afghanistan, Erbil, Iraq, Kigali, Rwanda and Nakivale, Uganda. More information on all the RCS projects can be found on the RCS Green Room.

Contemporary Performance in Higher Education Network

In December 2020, the Contemporary Performance Practice team (led by Josh Armstrong) curated Nexus #1 IN/ACTION, an international event over three days including: collegiate panel and roundtable discussions; invited keynote speakers; sharings of practice, presentations and papers; student/graduate panel discussions; networking and collaboration opportunities; and performative moments from students or staff. Nexus #1, was also the inaugural meeting of the Contemporary Performance in Higher Education Network, which aims to bring together academics and practitioners from international Higher Education Institutions engaged in the education, research and practice of contemporary performance in its multiplicities. In academic year 2021/22, we will continue to develop and grow the network to ask questions about what our art practices and educational processes need to be responding to now.

Research-led Teaching

Our practice-based research/research creation approach makes us distinct in the sector – this is a unique offering of our programme and we are further embedding research skills and an understanding of research as the act of making art. The Contemporary Performance Practice team is actively researching the following topics related to their teaching on the programme: performance research, social practice, ecology and performance, postmodern approaches to multisensory experiences in performance, rewilding performance, chronic pain and performance in the pandemic.

The team has co-authored an article “Training Artists in Times of Crisis” in Performance Research 25.8 Training Utopias which you can read online.

The CPP staff team will present a performance lecture on their research on approaches to interdisciplinarity at an RCS Exchange Talk on the 22 November 2021 and will also collaboratively present at the ELIA event on the Extended Art Student on 1 December 2021.

Developing Digital Performance

After the success of Propel: A Festival of Digital Performance in June 2020,  and our hybrid festival in 2021, Propel: A Digital Festival of Performance, we launched a new short course Creating Contemporary Performance for Digital Platforms and also introduced an online version of the Arts in Prisons module in academic year 2021/22. Now that we can work both live and digitally, we will continue to explore the possibilities of hybrid performance interrogating questions of what it is to work on and with the body at this time.

Developing Graduate Opportunities

Graduate Pathways, a publication documenting the opportunities the programme offers graduating artists was published in December 2020. These include professional opportunities and residencies with Artsadmin, Cove Park, Jupiter Artland and the RCS Archives and Collections; pathways into postgraduate study, RCS-wide opportunities, and graduate stories.

New opportunities have been developed for 2021 graduates including a partnership with Scotland and Venice to attend the Venice Biennale for a month in April 2022 (supported by RKE), two degree shows being programmed for Tramway TV and work opportunities with Origins Young Company and on Climate Portals.

2020 graduate Minnie Crook was the first graduate to undertake the Archives and Collections residency and the first recipient of the Cove Park Graduate Residency was 2021 graduate Sally Charlton.

Developing Partnerships and Collaborations

The Contemporary Performance Practice team is working to build partnerships with organisations within Glasgow, Scotland and beyond. We are currently developing collaborations with festivals and a number of initiatives to support students and graduates of the programme. If you would like to work with us then please do get in touch with Head Dr Vania Gala – we are particularly interested in developing collaborations with international and European arts organisations and networks.

Student Voice

Yas Mawer

Yas Mawer graduated in 2019 and has performed work around the world. Listen to her experience of studying Contemporary Performance Practice.

Graduate destinations

We place great emphasis upon preparing you for a range of diverse careers in professional practice and there are a range of opportunities to engage with the sector while undertaking your studies. Performance and professional collaborations with national and international cutting-edge practitioners, companies, festivals, and arts venues are central to the programme. Projects include work with the National Theatre of Scotland, Glass Performance, Tramway, Janice Parker, Imaginate, and Nic Green. Several students have gone on secondment to international locations such as the USA, Switzerland, Germany, Finland, and Zambia.

Our graduates are working as solo artists in the live arts sector; directors and performers in devised, community, or educational contexts, and as freelance drama workers. A significant number of graduates have set up  their own companies. Other graduates have undertaken further study at masters and doctoral level and also become drama teachers, teachers and specialists.

Althea Young

This year CPP graduate Althea Young has been supported by the Research and Knowledge Exchange at the RCS and the British Council to embark on a career-defining journey designed to provide an invaluable learning experience in the visual arts.

Althea will be one of nine students and early career practitioners from nine universities, colleges and arts organisations across Scotland to invigilate Alberta Whittle’s exhibition Deep dive (pause) uncoiling memory at the Venice Biennale.

Deep dive (pause) uncoiling memory is a new exhibition by Whittle that features film, sculpture, tapestry, and painting to tell a universal yet deeply personal story of racial identity, belonging, and place in today’s world.

Virtual Tour

Explore the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in our 360 virtual tour. You’ll be able to see our rehearsal and practice rooms, professional performance venues, production workshops, editing suite, ballet studios and more.