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Performance Practices MA

Discover creative and critical contexts of performance through the exploration of theoretical and practical performance skills. This course is ideal for developing independent artists or researchers, and for professionals who wish to reinvigorate their practices.

Winner: Best University Careers and Employability Service
NUE Awards, 2021
Learn more


On this course you will explore contemporary performance practices to develop your creative performance skills and deepen your understanding of theory and research. You will explore topics such as the body in performance, audiences, spaces, narrative, memory, digital technologies and collaboration, all through our flexible curriculum, enabling you to build on new and existing skills. Topics are explored from an interdisciplinary perspective, supporting you to push the boundaries of the discipline and to produce innovative work as an emerging artist across a broad scope of dance, drama and performance arts practices.

You’ll develop an advanced understanding of performance aligned to current real-world thinking, with teaching covering new theoretical and practical perspectives from our energetic, research-active academics with international profiles in their fields.

Specialist areas of expertise include writing for performance, psychodynamic performance, improvisation, digital and sonic arts, interactive technologies and solo and collaborative performance making. You can gain industry experience through placement opportunities and work-based projects and benefit from our links with local and national organisations such as Leicester based community dance organisation People Dancing, and the city’s Attenborough Arts Centre.

The course is designed to develop independent artists, researchers and reflective practitioners. It is also ideal for professional artists and educators who wish to reinvigorate their practices.

Key features

  • Study the body in performance, audiences, spaces, narrative, memory, digital technologies and collaboration, considering how disciplinary boundaries can be pushed.
  • Gain opportunities to work with the industry through our local and national links, work-based projects within arts administration and in fields such as marketing and teaching.
  • Investigate the creative and critical contexts of contemporary performance, taught by our internationally recognised staff who are practising artists and scholars.
  • Work alongside an international artist to devise work for public performance, developing artistic and collaborative strategies.
  • DMU is recognised as a Centre for Excellence in Performance Arts with great facilities providing specialist studios and rehearsal spaces designed specifically for learning activities in dance and performance.
  • Our programme is designed to develop you to achieve your personal goals; whether it is to become a teacher or performer, start your own company, or pursue further study. 




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

Postgraduate Alumni Scholarship
Up to 30 per cent of tuition fees offered to DMU alumni who wish to continue their studies at DMU by enrolling on a Postgraduate taught course. For more information visit our Postgraduate Alumni Scholarship page.

Sports Scholarship
Apply for the DMU Sports Scholarship, worth up to £6,000.

More courses like this:

Fine Art MA

  • UK
  • EU/International

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

Start date: September 2021

Fees and funding: 

2021/22 tuition fees for UK students: £8,350 (full-time) per year, part-time fees will be £695 per 15 credits.

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.

Duration: One year full-time

Start date: September 2021

Fees and funding: 

2021/22 tuition fees for EU and international students: £14,600

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.

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:

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.

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.

Note: All modules are subject to change in order to keep content current.


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

Performance facilities

Recognised  nationally as a centre for  excellence in performance arts, DMU  has outstanding courses, teaching and  facilities. Our  Performing Arts Centre for Excellence  (PACE)  building provides  sector-leading spacious studios,  rehearsal rooms  and fully equipped  performance spaces.  There are further performance spaces  in  our  Campus  Centre and The Venue@DMU, a purpose-built space created to host events, performances and celebrations.

All of our spaces can be transformed to turn your ideas into a reality. Your creative work is supported by expert technicians and you can book rehearsal space and equipment such as digital video cameras, sound recording equipment and editing suites.

Take a look at our stunning showcase of the PACE building and facilities at

More flexible ways to learn

We offer an equitable and inclusive approach to learning and teaching for all our students. Known as the Universal Design for Learning (UDL), our teaching approach has been recognised as sector leading. UDL means we offer a wide variety of support, facilities and technology to all students, including those with disabilities and specific learning differences.

Just one of the ways we do this is by using ‘DMU Replay’ – a technology providing all students with anytime access to audio and/or visual material of lectures. This means students can revise taught material in a way that suits them best, whether it's replaying a recording of a class or adapting written material shared in class using specialist software.



The home of  De Montfort Students' Union, (DSU) our Campus Centre offers a welcoming and lively hub for student life. Conveniently located at the heart of campus, it includes a convenience store, a Subway and a Starbucks. Here you can find the DSU-owned charitable accommodation service Sulets and DSU’s shop, SUpplies, selling art supplies, stationery and clothing, and printing and binding services. The building is also home to the DSU officer team. 

Opportunities and careers

Winner: Best University Careers and Employability Service
NUE Awards, 2021
Learn more


During this course you will have the option to complete a placement year, an invaluable opportunity to put the skills developed during your degree into practice.  Placement years will normally take place between semester two and three.

The course also offers an optional Negotiated Placement module that supports you to observe and shadow your host organisation to develop your skills and understanding of a particular activity. The final Professional Practice Major Project module further supports opportunities for work-based learning, where you may secure multiple ‘one-off’ engagements or negotiate a longer placement with a host organisation.

This insight into the professional world will build on your knowledge in a real-world setting, preparing you to progress onto your chosen career.


DMU Global

Our innovative international experience programme DMU Global aims to enrich your studies and expand your cultural horizons, helping you to become a global graduate, equipped to meet the needs of employers across the world. Through DMU Global, we offer a wide range of opportunities including on-campus and UK-based activities, overseas study, internships, faculty-led field trips and volunteering, as well as Erasmus+ and international exchanges.

Previously, students have participated in an exchange with Sapienza University in Rome, Italy, sharing research and experiences with other postgraduate students in dance and drama. Students have also engaged with international artistic practices at the Utrecht Spring Dance and Theatre Festival where they worked collaboratively with students from the University of Utrecht and took workshops with professional international artists.

While overseas DMU Global opportunities are not currently possible, DMU will continue to review government advice and, if travel is permitted, we hope to offer a small number of extra-curricular opportunities in the summer of 2021.


Graduate careers

Our graduates  are creative, entrepreneurial practitioners who are able to  respond to the  ever-changing  demands of performance practices and the creative industries. Many of our graduates build careers as independent artists and freelance choreographers, or land roles with creative companies and arts organisations, including:

  • Marketing and communications manager for UK Young Artists
  • Associate director at the Lichfield Garrick Theatre
  • Choreographer at MoveOn Dance Fusion Founder of performance dance company Near Miss
  • Curator of performance art festival Little Wolf Parade

The strong focus that we place on research means that this course also provides  an excellent stepping stone to  study at PhD level, which can lead to exciting opportunities. For instance,  PhD student Sophie Swoffer recently organised a conference ‘Cracking the Established Order: Practice-Based Research in Academia’, and was invited to guest edit a special edition of the practice-based journal, The International Journal of Creative Media Research.

Graduate Aundre Goddard praises DMU for providing him with the platform for his career as a Drama coach. He said: “The lecturers draw out the latent curiosity that you have to explore, experiment and try new things – it’s been amazing. Since leaving university, I’ve started working as a Drama coach at Berzerk productions. We create and run our own classes for students and everything I learnt at university I have been able to apply to my career.” 

DMU Open events

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How to apply 

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

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More about your DMU

Postgraduate events


Our dedicated Postgraduate Alumni Scholarship provides DMU graduates with a tuition fee discount of up to 30 per cent. The discount is available on selected full-time and part-time postgraduate taught courses running across multiple start dates in the 2021/22 academic session, with the first intake in September 2021.

The scholarship, based on academic achievement and merit, applies automatically to all DMU UK, EU and international students who are graduating in 2021.



The best way to find out more about DMU is to attend one of our postgraduate events to find out how our courses can enhance your knowledge and benefit your career path.

These events are a chance to learn more about our extensive careers and employability support, as well as fees and funding opportunities such as scholarships. They're also an opportunity to speak with current students and academics to really get a feel for studying your course. You can also take a tour of our beautiful campus and facilities from the comfort of home via our Virtual Open Day.



The Faculty of Arts, Design and Humanities is home to research staff with international reputations in a wide range of creative and scholarly fields, blending traditional disciplines of critical enquiry and analysis with practice-based research and creative work employing cutting-edge technology. Find out more.


Leicester guide

Studying here gives easy access to the vibrant hub of entertainment, shopping and culture that is Leicester. There are clubs, bars and pubs, as well as festivals, live music, theatres and cinemas. Leicester City Football Club play in the Premier League while Leicester Tigers are one of Europe’s biggest rugby clubs. Find out more.