Performance Practices MA

The Performance Practices MA will allow you to investigate both the creative and critical contexts of performance. Topics studied include the body in performance, audiences, spaces, narrative, memory, digital technologies and collaboration.


Reasons to study Performance Practices MA at DMU:

  • You will investigate both the creative and critical contexts of performance, taught by our internationally recognised staff who are practising artists and scholars
  • Develop your writing, making and thinking by engaging with current contemporary performance practice and theory
  • Establish professional links through placements with regional and national arts-based organisations
  • Topics studied include the body in performance, audiences, spaces, narrative, memory, digital technologies and collaboration, and these are addressed from an interdisciplinary perspective
  • Work with an energetic, research-active staff team with international profiles in contemporary performance practices

The course aims to foster creative and performance skills, theoretical knowledge and research skills appropriate to contemporary performance practices, and is designed for those wishing to develop themselves as independent artists, practitioner-researchers, scholarly researchers and reflective practitioners. It is also suitable for professional artists and educators who wish to reinvigorate their practices and deepen their engagement in performance making.

This programme will assist in developing your skills and knowledge towards achieving your goals; whether it is to become a teacher or performer, start your own company, or pursue further study. It will allow you to gain real life experience through a range of opportunities offered by the industry through our links with local and national organisations.

There is some flexibility in module choice, so that you may broaden existing skills and/or develop new skills that complement your programme specific studies. You may choose to study a module from another similar programme or to undertake placements, further preparing them for employment in a range of contexts.


At DMU, we are committed to helping our graduates enhance their careers and personal development through further study.

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More courses like this:

Fine Art MA

  • UK/EU
  • International

Key facts for UK/EU students

Duration: One year full-time, two years part-time.

Start date: September 2018

Fees and funding: For  2019/20 tuition fees will be UK/EU £5,300 (full-time) per year, £422 per 15 credits (part-time) per year

Find out more about course fees and available funding.

Additional costs: Here at DMU we provide excellent learning resources, including the Kimberlin Library and specialist workshops and studios. However, you should be aware that sometimes you may incur additional costs for this programme.

Contact us: For more information complete our online enquiry form or call us on +44 (0)116 2 50 60 70.

You can apply to study at DMU directly using our online applications portal.

Key facts for international students

Duration: One year full-time

Start date: September 2018

Fees and funding international: For 2019/20 tuition fees will be £13,600 per year

Find out more about course fees and available funding.

Additional costs: Here at DMU we provide excellent learning resources, including the Kimberlin Library and specialist workshops and studios. However, you should be aware that sometimes you may incur additional costs for this programme.

Contact us: For more information complete our online enquiry form or call us on +44 (0)116 2 50 60 70.

International students can apply to study at DMU directly using our online applications portal or direct application form.

Entry criteria

Typical entry requirements 

You should have the equivalent of a 2:1 or above UK bachelor’s honours degree in a related subject, such as Dance, Drama or Performing Arts. 

If you have other professional qualifications and industry experience we will consider your application on an individual basis. Evidence of previous performance practice material (statements, images or online links) is required.

You may be asked to attend an interview, this could be via Skype or phone.

International students

If English is not your first language an IELTS score of 6.5 overall with 5.5 in each band or equivalent when you start the course is essential. English Language tuition, delivered by our British Council accredited Centre for English Language Learning, is available both before and throughout the course if you need it.

Structure and assessment


Course modules

Teaching and assessments




Arts assignment self-directed modules provide a degree of flexibility so that you can design your personal pathway through the MA. These modules might include, but are not limited to:

  • information retrieval
  • literature search/annotated bibliography
  • mapping exercise
  • refinement of research skills
  • practical work
  • critical self-reflection
  • analysis of theory and practices
  • scoping study
  • case study
  • extensive studio practice and critical reflection

Core module:

Research Methods for Creative Arts Practice 
Introduces you to the nature and scope of research methods and the role that research plays in the creative process. You will be taught with students from Fine Art MA and are encouraged to develop personal philosophies with regard to your own creative practice.

Taught modules that you can choose to study are:

Research into Performance 
Engages specifically with critical, theoretical and methodological approaches to research into performance. It addresses strategies and methods used by practitioner-researchers; critical vocabularies; ethics; the purposes and contexts of research and the perspective of the researcher.

Develops an approach to the study of performance in relation to a range of perspectives from C20 and C21 practitioners, theorists and philosophers. Areas of study are approached from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Performance Making 
Enables you as an artist to re-investigate your creative processes in studio/laboratory contexts. The module considers issues and practices key to current performance making.

Education and the Arts 
Explores arts education in both formal and informal educational settings. It is concerned with dialogic relationships between education and the arts in a range of contexts including schools, arts and cultural organisations and community settings.

Negotiated Placement 
Gives you the opportunity to engage in a valuable learning experience in an environment of your choosing external to the University. Examples of placements might include work within an arts administration, marketing, a teaching/pedagogic context, or with a particular company or practitioner. 

Performance, Practice and Technology 
Considers the uses of current creative technologies in relation to performance practice and your own performance making. Through practical and critical investigation students will consider their own performance making by engaging with the potential implications of using technologies in relation to performance.

Music Festivals 
Provides an opportunity not only to examine the nature of specific festivals and their histories but to deepen understanding of specific aspects of their management and development. It considers key management roles; agent, tour manager etc. and revenue streams and licenses within such an event.

Animating Places 
Explores the ways in which artists of all artistic and media disciplines are engaged in the use of public spaces and the notion of place making, with a focus on the UK experience.  It considers the emergent patterns of major events and festivals alongside the need to market places in competition with each other.

Cultural Policy and Planning 
Provides definitions of cultural policy and explores its frameworks and applications. You will gain an understanding of instrumentalism, and will be encouraged to debate the uses of cultural resources across policy areas. 

Major Project
Enables you to undertake independent study and research into an area directly related to your course of study and to produce either practical work with accompanying written documentation, or an all written submission.


Work Based Projects
Provides the opportunity to develop and demonstrate skills acquired from modules on the programme, in a practical context – for example work within an arts administration, marketing, teaching/pedagogic context, or with a particular company or practitioner.


The course is delivered from both scholarly and practical perspectives to ensure that you develop an advanced understanding of current research across a range of theoretical and practical fields. You will be taught through a range of teaching, learning and assessment modes by an energetic research-active team with international profiles in their specialist field. You will engage in independent study that involves practical research and rehearsals; viewing, reading and writing. The diversity of assessment includes practice-based work; written assignments; oral presentations and viva voces. There is an increasing emphasis upon autonomous learning throughout the modules.

Contact hours
In your first two terms you will normally attend around 3-8 hours of timetabled taught sessions hours (depending on your choice of option module in Term 2) including lectures, tutorials and studio sessions each week, and be expected to undertake at least 27-32 hours of independent study each week. Your third term will be pre-dominantly self-directed (including meetings with your supervisor), during which you can expect to undertake 35 hours of independent study each week. 

Part-time study is normally undertaken on a half-time basis.



Facilities and features


The PACE (Performance Arts Centre of Excellence) building will be a focal point for you as it contains state-of-the-art, dedicated and flexible teaching spaces as well as an informal meeting space for students. You can book studio spaces and audio/visual equipment. You will have access to an extensive stock of specialist books; videos; electronic resources and facilities housed in the Kimberlin Library.


We have 1,500 study places and 650 computer workstations across four sites on campus. These give access to more than half a million publications, an extensive range of DVDs, e-resources and thousands of electronic journals. 

The main Kimberlin Library is open 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year (other than in exceptional circumstances).

Award-winning staff are on hand to help and there is a café for study breaks. We offer a range of workshops, drop-in and one-to-one sessions, and our Just Ask service provides email and telephone support.


Learning zones

Our comfortable and well-equipped study areas provide a range of environments to suit your needs.

Originally set up in our main Kimberlin Library, the learning zones proved so popular that more were created in the Eric Wood Building and Greenhouse. These flexible spaces are ideal whether you are working as a group, practising a presentation or working quietly on your own.

They feature workstations with power supplies for laptops, plus bookable syndicate rooms with interactive whiteboards and DVD players. Eduroam wi-fi is available across all campus locations.


Opportunities and careers



Engaging with external, professional organisations as a student broadens your experience, offers valuable networking opportunities and prepares you for the world of work. This course offers an optional Negotiated Placement module that supports you to observe and shadow your host organisation to develop your skills base and understanding of a particular activity. The final Professional Practice Major Project module further supports opportunities for work-based learning in different ways and to varying degrees: you may secure various ‘one-off’ engagements or negotiate a longer placement with a host organisation. 




You will have two opportunities to have an international experience which can support and complement your studies at DMU. One trip is to Sapienza University in Rome, Italy, where DMU students will meet with postgraduate students in dance and drama as part of an exchange of research and experiences. Another trip could take you to the Utrecht Spring Dance and Theatre Festival to engage with a vast range of international artistic practice, work collaboratively with students from the University of Utrecht and take workshops with professional international artists.



Graduate careers

On completion of the programme you will be equipped to pursue a range of careers in the field of performance practices and the creative industries, as well as pursuing further academic study. Recent graduates from the Performance Practices MA:

  • Independent artists and securing funding from Arts Council England
  • Marketing and Communications Manager for UK Young Artists
  • Engaged as Associate Artists at DMU
  • Pursuing postdoctoral study
  • Teaching at University and FE levels

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