Applications remain open for all applicants.
The BA (Hons) Contemporary Performance Practice programme is an interdisciplinary performance-making degree focused on the generation of new and original performances that sit outside of traditional theatre.
This four-year degree brings together performance-makers, educators, advocates and active citizens who challenge norms, break down barriers and aspire to transform the world around them. This is a programme for the curious and creative, who want to become collaborative and socially engaged artists.
At the core of Contemporary Performance Practice is a commitment to the sustainability and social function of performance and how it can be ‘an act of community’.
Students are equipped with multiple skills, not only in performance-making but also in facilitation and working in communities, to create powerful performances everywhere from hospices, prisons and schools to swimming pools, beaches and building sites.
They encounter a range of concepts throughout their studies including social practice, live art, performance art, post-dramatic and post-modern performance, installation, performance research, site-specific and documentary practices.
Students develop their artistry with the care and support of expert mentors in one of the world’s top ten destinations for performing arts education.
They are part of a dynamic, creative community both within the Contemporary Performance Practice cohort and the wider institution, where collaboration flows through the curriculum, offering opportunities to connect with artists from across the disciplines of music, drama, dance, production, education and film.
Contemporary Performance Practice encourages students to claim their education and develop their unique arts practice to make a difference in the world. We seek to develop critically engaged artists who are able to engage with and encounter a range of perspectives, approaches and practices during their studies and beyond.
Its groundbreaking graduates make an impact all across the UK and beyond and many start their own performance companies including Glas(s) Performance (which developed award-winning young company Junction 25), Superfan (current company- in-residence at the National Theatre of Scotland) and 21Common (directed by CPP staff and alumni Gary Gardiner and Lucy Gaizely).
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:
The focus is on the ego-centric artist – 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.
Personal Archaeology in Performance (40 credits)
Persona and Context (40 credits)
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.
Performance as Social Practice: Experimentation (20 credits)
Performance as Social Practice: Application (30 credits)
Choreography, People and Place (30 credits)
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.
Collaborations (20 credits)
Placement (20 credits)
Performance Research (30 credits)
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.
Into the New:
Producing (60 credits)
Artist in Development (30 credits)
Site-Specific Performance / Arts in Prisons / Directing: Re-imagining Classic Text / Secondment (all 30 credits)
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.
If we are truly contemporary, our research, practice and pedagogy must respond to the now. Here are the current projects we are working on:
The evidence of racism and persecution highlighted by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, demonstrates that our learning environment, pedagogy and community need to be actively anti-racist. This needs to be addressed by us as individuals, a community of students and staff, and as an institution. The Contemporary Performance Practice team is committed to developing anti-racist approaches to our pedagogy and curriculum. The Contemporary Performance Practice Anti-Racist Action Plan is currently being developed and will be made available one consultation is complete. The RCS Anti-Racism plan is available to view.
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. By creating a nexus for disparate programmes and individuals to intersect and exchange ideas we hope that we can work together in addressing the issues which are most pertinent in educating future-focused contemporary artists.
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. The team has co-authored an article “Training Artists in Times of Crisis” which will be published in Performance Research in 2021.
After the success of Propel: A Festival of Digital Performance in June 2020, CPP launched a new short course Creating Contemporary Performance for Digital Platforms and also introduced an online version of the Arts in Prisons module for the academic year 20-21.
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. We will share any new graduate opportunities on our social media platforms.
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. We are a partner with the Present Futures festival (February 2021) curated by Colette Sadler and produced by Feral.
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 Macrobert, Libellule Theatre, Janice Parker, National Theatre of Scotland, Glas(s) Performance, 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.
written in March 2020 in response to the global pandemic and lockdown
We are creative people.
We adapt and are flexible.
We can be responsive.
We are in a hugely challenging and uncertain moment.
How can we as artists, find creative, hopeful and new ways to be together and to make art?
How can we respond to this particular moment in our pedagogy and our artworks?
We say: ‘The CPP programme aims to develop socially engaged artists who can make a contribution in the world as performance-makers, educators, advocates and active citizens. The programme is committed to exploring the ecological and social function of performance and how performance can be an “act of community”.’
How can we do this? How can we do this in this moment?
Nobody wanted the illness, social distancing, the dispersal of our community and the end of our usual collaborative ways of working.
Nobody wanted to move all of our learning online, for us to amend teaching materials, to have to teach remotely or to have to learn from home when we are so used to our shared learning environments.
Nobody wanted to have to navigate new technologies, in a very short space of time, or to have to find access to learning materials and online resources.
We are going to prioritise supporting each other.
We are going to prioritise solutions that are inclusive.
We are going to prioritise sharing resources (within our community and beyond).
We are going to prioritise communicating clearly in a time of uncertainty.
We are a performance degree. We make live work, with others, in shared spaces, and then we show this work to others. Some assignments are no longer possible.
Some ambitions are no longer reasonable.
New artistic forms, practices and approaches will emerge from this that we would never have otherwise thought of.
We will remain open to the possibilities as well as the challenges.
We will provide accessible content for diverse access, time zones and contexts.
We will provide opportunities to regularly meet to learn together, make work together and combat isolation.
We will reimagine what our community moments look like.
We will be kind to each other.
Nobody knows where this is going, how long it will take or what we will need to adapt.
Some people may be affected more than others and we need to be mindful of that.
Everybody needs support, understanding and patience in this unprecedented moment. We are in unchartered waters.
Artists are needed in times of crisis. Artists are often those who are able to respond to change – to even be ‘at home’ with change. How can our art matter at this time?
Take care everyone.