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BA Contemporary Performance Practice

Introduction

Our students say that studying Contemporary Performance Practice (CPP) at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is like nothing you could ever imagine. It’s total immersion in a challenging programme with a central philosophy that human beings make art in order to understand better the world in which they live. This programme is for aspiring performance makers who wish to develop their skills as innovative and socially engaged performers, directors, teachers, and cultural leaders, who can realise their aspirations to create and shape the future of new work. This could be the programme for you if you are passionate about creating performance, but you’re unsure of what you’d specifically like to do in the field.

You will be able to explore realisation of your ideas through the disciplines of performance, education, installation, movement, research, and documentation. We will help you to develop your performance skills in our world-class facilities working with our staff, visiting practitioners, directors and lecturers. You will have regular opportunities to take part in specialist workshops and masterclasses, you will push yourself and push boundaries, creating new works with image, action, sound, and text.

You will leave RCS as an independent and entrepreneurial self-managing ‘eco-centric’ artist with an awareness of the aesthetic, intellectual, social, emotional, political, and ecological considerations of a holistic and sustainable arts practice.

Introduction

Our students say that studying Contemporary Performance Practice (CPP) at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is like nothing you could ever imagine. It’s total immersion in a challenging programme with a central philosophy that human beings make art in order to understand better the world in which they live. This programme is for aspiring performance makers who wish to develop their skills as innovative and socially engaged performers, directors, teachers, and cultural leaders, who can realise their aspirations to create and shape the future of new work. This could be the programme for you if you are passionate about creating performance, but you’re unsure of what you’d specifically like to do in the field.

You will be able to explore realisation of your ideas through the disciplines of performance, education, installation, movement, research, and documentation. We will help you to develop your performance skills in our world-class facilities working with our staff, visiting practitioners, directors and lecturers. You will have regular opportunities to take part in specialist workshops and masterclasses, you will push yourself and push boundaries, creating new works with image, action, sound, and text.

You will leave RCS as an independent and entrepreneurial self-managing ‘eco-centric’ artist with an awareness of the aesthetic, intellectual, social, emotional, political, and ecological considerations of a holistic and sustainable arts practice.

Programme structure

Year One
In the first year the focus is autobiographical – you learn about yourself and what you are bringing to a space as a performer. You will learn about the methods and strategies of making performance using autobiography as your material. You are encouraged to question your attitudes, values and understandings and translate these discoveries into original performance work.

Year Two
In your second year you begin to explore how to apply your arts practice in social and participatory contexts including community and educational contexts. You will take part in a residency in a community which will result in an original piece of performance work. This stage of the programme focuses on your development as a socio-centric artist and how you engage with other people.

Year Three
The emphasis is on the researching artist. You will learn how to create text for performance, supported through individual mentoring by a performance tutor. You will study the ‘researching artist’ culminating in a dissertation exploring an idea relevant to your own performance practice. You can also undertake a professional placement and create an original collaborative performance.

Year Four
In your final year the focus is on ‘The Ecocentric Artist”, you will work towards developing a sustainable arts practice that will support your transition into your chosen professional field. You will make an original performance work for the Into The New festival staged in a performance venue in Glasgow. You will have the opportunity to select projects which focus on directing, arts in participatory contexts, arts in criminal justice settings, site-specific work or an international professional secondment.

CPP Choice Modules offered include Arts and Medicine and Somatic Practices.

Keep up to date with the CPP course on Facebook.

 

Staff and masterclasses

The CPP programme is delivered by a core staff team and a large number of visiting artists, choreographers, designers and educationalists. Unlike many other higher education institutions, contact time between students and staff is very high at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. You can expect to be working in RCS five days a week upon joining the programme.

We place great emphasis upon preparing you for professional practice and to do this you must achieve an ‘exit velocity’ by drawing upon your own fascinations and ingenuity.

Programme Team

Deborah Richardson-Webb – Head of Performance Pedagogy

Dr Laura Bissell

Gary Gardiner

Laura Bradshaw

Rachel O’Neill

Josh Armstrong

Centre for Voice in Performance

Why choose us?

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is third in the world for performing arts education.

  • Excellent staff-student ratio and small class sizes ensuring individual attention
  • Opportunities for artistic collaboration across RCS
  • 86% of undergraduate respondents from the School of Drama are in employment or further study (HESA, 15/16)
  • World-class facilities and performing venues
  • Emphasis on preparing you for diverse careers in professional practice
  • Annual, sector-leading festival Into the New features student performance alongside international artists
  • Work opportunities include performance and professional collaborations with cutting-edge practitioners, companies, festivals and arts venues. Recent projects have included work with Imaginate, National Theatre of Scotland, Glas(s) Performance, Tramway, Buzzcut, Corali, Ruth Mills Dance, Caroline Bowditch, ArtsAdmin and Nic Green

How to apply

Applications for the BA (Hons) Contemporary Performance Practice should be made through the UCAS Conservatoires website. There is a UCAS application fee of £25 (which is in addition to the audition fee) which allows you up to six choices of programme of study.

For more information on how to apply, please visit the Apply section.

Before applying we recommend that you read the Guide for Applicants which provides information regarding entry requirements, and the full application and audition process.

Begin your Applicant Journey here.

Entry requirements

  • Scottish Highers – 3 passes (grade C or above)
  • A Levels – 2 passes
  • International Baccalaureate – minimum score of 24 with 3 subjects at Higher Level

For entry to the BA (Hons) Contemporary Performance Practice Programme, it is necessary to obtain English or Drama at Higher, Advanced Higher or Advanced Level. We offer a flexible approach to students taking Highers over more than one academic year and/or who achieve their qualifications in more than one sitting.

Entrance to the Conservatoire is based on talent, potential and ability, therefore consideration will be given to relevant experience which is deemed to compensate for any traditional education. We accept a wide range of qualification, including international qualifications. If you wish to check the suitability of your qualification/experience, please contact us ( admissions@rcs.ac.uk ).

English Language

The language of study is English. Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of proficiency in English. We accept the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Other equivalent English Language qualifications may be considered, please contact us ( admissions@rcs.ac.uk ) for more information.

  • IELTS – 7.5 with a minimum score of 7.5 in speaking

Fees & scholarships

Tuition fees for academic year 2018-19

  • Scottish/EU Students – £1,820
  • Rest of UK (RUK) Students – £9,250
  • International (Non EU) – £16,026

Scottish/EU students

The Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) will pay tuition fees for all eligible full-time Scottish-based and other non-UK undergraduate EU students, who are studying in Scotland at degree level for the first time. Students should apply to SAAS for payment of tuition fees even if they are not applying for any other means of support. Eligible students can also apply for student loans through SAAS . For further advice and to check eligibility contact SAAS directly on 0300 555 0505 or visit their website .

Rest of UK students

Students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland studying in Scotland will be eligible for the same funding/loan package that they would benefit from if they attended an institution in their home country. For further advice please visit student finance England , student financeWales , or student finance Northern Ireland as appropriate.

International students

Students from outside the EU typically fund higher education by a variety of resources, depending on the home country. More specific information on funding options relevant to specific countries can be found here .

Scholarships

Any potential student who auditions for a place at the Royal Conservatoire will automatically be considered for a scholarship. They are awarded on a combination of talent, potential and financial need. More information about Scholarships is available here

Sources of external funding

For more information about alternative funding sources, including external scholarships and bursaries, please visit here.

The Conservatoire’s International and Student Experience team are available to advise and assist applicants and current students in respect of queries about funding your studies at the Conservatoire. Please email or telephone +44 (0)141 270 8281/ +44 (0)141 270 8223 for further information.

Graduate destinations

We place great emphasis upon preparing you for a range of diverse careers in professional practice, the programme is packed with work opportunities. Performance and professional collaborations with national and international cutting-edge practitioners, companies, festivals, and arts venues are central to the programme. Recent projects have included work with The Arches, the Macrobert, Libellule Theatre, Janice Parker, National Theatre of Scotland, Glas(s) Performance, the Tramway, Fish and Game, the British Red Cross, and Nic Green. Several students have gone on secondment to international locations such as the USA, Switzerland, Germany, India, and Zambia.

Our graduates are working as solo artists in the live arts sector; directors and performers in devised, community, or educational performance, 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 and specialists. Alumni from the programme include:

  • Nic Green
  • Jess Thorpe
  • Tashi Gore
  • Peter McMaster
  • Becki Gerrard
  • Gary McNair
  • Johnny McKnight

All of whom produce performance work internationally, and frequently teach or give workshops at RCS.

Facilities

CPP students have full access to the Royal Conservatoire’s award-winning facilities, including the Wallace Studios at Speirs Locks and the practice rooms and performance spaces in the Renfrew Street Building. Including five professional performing arts venues, a student IT Suite, dance studios and drama rehearsal rooms. The Whittaker library has one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of performance materials and you will also have access to thousands of electronic resources which you will find useful for the Critical and Contextual Studies strand of the programme.

CPP students will also often use rehearsal space at UKTheatre School and Scottish Youth Theatre and in 2016 CPP held the annual graduate showcase and festival, Into the New, in the historic Pearce Institute.

Images and videos

Into the New 2017

The Into the New 2017 symposium, I only went out for a walk is inspired by the writings of 19th century naturalist and environmental philosopher, John Muir.

“I only went out for a walk

and finally concluded to stay

out till sundown,

for going out, I found,

was really going in.”

John Muir

Through a series of performance lectures, practitioners from an array of disciplines share their experiences of what can happen when an artist ventures out into the landscape beyond ‘the studio’. How does landscape shape the artist, the work, and the community? Can the ‘outside’ be brought back into the studio? Is it possible for the artist to break down the studio walls and inhabit a place of natural vulnerability? How do we create the potential for ecological change within the audience, the community and ourselves? What happens when we shift our perspective from ‘visiting the wild’ to ‘being wild’?

The Jones

Enconium

Into the New

Terrible News, Terrible Weather

One Night Only

 

 

Auditions

We’re holding auditions in Chicago and London!

From February 5 – 8 2018, we are holding auditions in Chicago at Palmer House Hilton Hotel, 17 East Monroe Street, IL 60603

In London on Saturday 17 February 2018?

So are we!

The auditions in London will be held in Battersea Arts Centre with limited places available.

If you would like to book an audition, contact auditions@rcs.ac.uk – we look forward to meeting you! You can also find out more on our US Auditions website.


 

What to expect

The selection process has four parts: the written exercise, the workshop, the performance piece and the interview. The audition is a chance for you to see if the programme suits you.

The written exercise

On the day of the audition you should bring a short performance analysis that you have written. You should submit your performance analysis when you arrive at RCS.

You are invited to write about a live performance event you have seen recently, saying what you found effective about it and why. You are asked to explain why this performance was an important experience for you. The written performance analysis will give us an indication of your ability to communicate your ideas about performance in good written English. You are advised to write about a live performance event which you feel strongly about.

Your performance analysis should be no longer than 500 words and must be all your own work.

The workshop

The workshop will take place in the morning. It lasts approximately three hours and involves all candidates.

Three lecturers, normally including the Head of Performance Pedagogy, will work with you. We try to make this stage as non-competitive as possible, because we would like the opportunity to see you working with other people. You cannot prepare for this session other than by being determined to participate and enjoy yourself!

The workshop will include exercises and activities, which will allow us to see:

  • your performance skills
  • your vocal skills
  • your movement skills
  • your listening skills
  • your ability to work co-operatively and collaboratively with others
  • your creativity and imagination

During the workshop, you will be invited to present a short pre-prepared performance piece.

The performance piece

You will be invited to prepare an original, devised performance piece, using as a starting point, your selection from a number of pictures which will be sent to you with your invitation to attend for audition.

You may, if you wish, choose elements from any or all of the pictures. They are random pictures but you may see a connection in them and wish to explore that. The piece must last no more than three minutes, so rehearse and time yourself. It does not have to be naturalistic or ‘tell a ‘story’.

The main thing to avoid is performing a ‘talking head’. In other words don’t just perform a spoken monologue in character without any of the ideas below. Try, as far as possible to turn your ideas into performed images. Try to give your piece a structure (even though it’s only three minutes) for example, you may begin and end with the same ‘moment’ in time.

Your piece may include one, some or all of the following:

  • Real objects: e.g. teapot, iron, hat, suitcase, clothing, etc. Symbolic objects: e.g. cross, flower, mask, etc.
  • Spoken word: e.g. text you’ve written yourself, text from a play, text from a poem, a newspaper article, a politician’s speech, etc.
  • Action and movement: e.g. gestures, everyday activity, found activity (copying the way someone you see in the street walks, an air hostess giving emergency instructions, someone dancing in a club etc.), dance etc.
  • Music: e.g. a song sung live, music and/or sound recorded onto MP3 or CD, music played by you on an instrument, etc.

It may not include any flames, candles or burning of items. If you anticipate that your performance will be messy, it is essential that you bring everything that you will need to clean up after yourself quickly and effectively.

Following the workshop you will be given time to have lunch, to see the School of Drama’s facilities and to talk to students about life at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Over lunch a list will be posted indicating those we would like to see for an interview.

The interview

It’s important to be yourself during the interview and to answer our questions honestly. It’s a chance for you to show your understanding of contemporary performance work and what your future aspirations are.

You will also be able to present a portfolio or other evidence of your experience and interest.

Find more information on our Guide for Applicants Journey.