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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.

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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 you for employment in a range of contexts.

Key features

  • 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




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

Vice-Chancellor’s 2020 Scholarship
Up to 50 per cent of tuition fees offered to Home/EU DMU alumni for students who wish to continue their studies at DMU by enrolling on a Postgraduate taught course. For more information visit our Vice-Chancellor’s 2020 Scholarship page.

Vice-Chancellor's Sports Scholarship
Apply for the Vice-Chancellor's Sports Scholarship, worth up to £6,000.

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 2021

Fees and funding: For 2021/22 tuition fees for UK/EU students will be £8,350 (full-time) per year, £4,175 (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.

Key facts for international students

Duration: One year full-time

Start date: September 2021

Fees and funding international: For 2021/22 tuition fees will be £14,600 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.

Entry criteria

Typical entry requirements 

You should have the equivalent or above of a 2:2 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.

Interview and portfolio

Evidence of previous performance practice material (statements, images or online links) is required. Non-standard applicants will be invited to attend an interview.

International students

If English is not your first language an IELTS score of 6.0 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


Core modules:

Performance Company
Gives the opportunity to work with a professional practitioner/ artist relevant to professional level UK and international contemporary practice. You will work as an ensemble to develop interdisciplinary work for public performance. This work will enable you to develop artistic and collaborative strategies and methodologies. 

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

Taught modules that you can choose to study are:

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. 

Negotiated Study
Allows you to pursue a programme of self-directed study, which will be agreed with an individual supervisor via a learning contract. You can choose a relevant research topic to focus on, which further develops you as an independent practitioner or scholar.

Digital Media in Festival and Events
Focuses on the managing of local and community events using digital media arts. You will look at general practices and specific events, as well as the nature of local and community digital media art, in the globalised media world. You will be encouraged to critically analyse and apply theories of Cultural and Commercial Events Management.

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.


On campus, the main Kimberlin Library offers a space where you can work, study and access a vast range of print materials, with computer stations, laptops, plasma screens and assistive technology also available. 

As well as providing a physical space in which to work, we offer online tools to support your studies, and our extensive online collection of resources accessible from our Library website, e-books, specialised databases and electronic journals and films which can be remotely accessed from anywhere you choose. 

We will support you to confidently use a huge range of learning technologies, including Blackboard, Collaborate Ultra, DMU Replay, MS Teams, Turnitin and more. Alongside this, you can access LinkedIn Learning and learn how to use Microsoft 365, and study support software such as mind mapping and note-taking through our new Digital Student Skills Hub. 

The library staff offer additional support to students, including help with academic writing, research strategies, literature searching, reference management and assistive technology. There is also a ‘Just Ask’ service for help and advice, live LibChat, online workshops, tutorials and drop-ins available from our Learning Services, and weekly library live chat sessions that give you the chance to ask the library teams for help.


Learning zones

Our Learning Zones and The Greenhouse also provide space for group or individual work and study.

There are 1,600 study places across all library locations, more than 700 computer stations, laptops to borrow, free wi-fi and desktop power outlets.

You can also book rooms with plasma screens, laptops and DVD facilities for group work and presentations, secure an individual study room with adjustable lighting or make use of our assistive technology.


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. 



DMU Global

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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We welcome applications from students with a wide range of qualifications and experience.

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Vice-Chancellor’s 2020 Scholarship
Up to 50 per cent of tuition fees offered to Home/EU DMU alumni for students who wish to continue their studies at DMU by enrolling on a Postgraduate taught course. For more information visit our Vice-Chancellor’s 2020 Scholarship page.


PACE Building

Discover more about our facilities in the Performance Arts Centre of Excellence building



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