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Applied Performance (Community and Education) - BA (Hons)

Course Overview

The essential course information

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UCAS Code:
W490
Award:
BA (Hons)
Attendance:
Full Time (3 years)
School:
Birmingham School of Acting
Faculty
Faculty of Performance, Media & English
Campus:
City Centre

Our exciting BA (Hons) Applied Performance (Community and Education) provides stimulating, practical-based training to prepare you for a career within a variety of areas of applied performance; giving you the possibility to work as a performance maker/artist through devising, writing and physical movement-based work and as a practitioner delivering workshops in community and/or education settings.

"It's a brilliant course. It's not just about performance skills. We learn about different types of theatre, different types of communities and vulnerable people. It helps us decide what we want to specialise in, what we want to do with our lives, and it gives us the opportunity to challenge stereotypes and say, it's ok to talk about this."
Danielle Cairns, Student
The Guardian, 2 May 2013

It also offers you the opportunity to progress on to specialist Masters-level study of applied performance in particular settings, or with particular groups of people - such as health, prisons and young people.

Alternatively, many graduates also go on to PGCE or GTP programmes to qualify formally to teach Drama.

This course gives you the opportunity to connect with some of the country’s most exciting applied performance practitioners/artists as well as being in an area of incredibly rich cultural and ethnic diversity.

The course is partnered with Birmingham Repertory Theatre, one of the UK’s leading production theatres. This partnership provides opportunities for you to engage with The REP’s facilities, productions and extensive learning and participation programmes.

The course embraces students from a wide variety of performance backgrounds and actively encourages you to develop your own areas of interest and practice.

Recent students coming on to the course have included spoken word artists, musicians/singers, dancers and those with interests as diverse as puppetry and arts administration.

Many students have gone on to, or come to the course with the ambition of, developing and running their own community-based company.

Key Facts

  • Chance to study at a founder member institution of the Conference of Drama Schools (now Drama UK) – the only Midlands member.
  • An innovative course at the forefront of applied performance practice.
  • Stimulating, practical training, connecting you with some of the country’s most exciting community-based theatre and dance practitioners in an area of rich cultural and ethnic diversity.
  • Partnerships and collaborations with a wide variety of companies, venues and organisations, including Birmingham Repertory Theatre - one of the UK’s leading production theatres.
  • Learn from staff that come from the industry, and know exactly how to prepare you for the realities of your chosen profession.
  • Over 88% of respondents to National Student Survey praised the enthusiasm of performing arts staff, the clarity with which they explain their subject, and the way they make it interesting.

Why Choose Us?

  • Close collaboration and placements with a number of theatre companies and venues, such as The REP, Playhouse Theatre Company, Big Brum, HEARTH, Women and Theatre, mac birmingham, The Drum, and local primary and secondary schools, put you in the heart of a working environment as you study.
  • A partnership between The Playhouse Theatre Company and The REP now provides two paid opportunities each year for graduates from this course. There are also opportunities (including paid opportunities) for work throughout studying, for example students who have been paid by schools to return to them to lead workshops after completing a placement there.
  • Excellent connections with local theatres and arts organisations, and proximity to Stratford-upon-Avon and the RSC (who offer access to workshops and associate opportunities), means you see theory in context.
  • Highly affordable and accessible alternative to London drama schools and DADA courses while still being only two hours from London.
  • Work in 10 studios, each containing:
    • specialist acoustic panelling;
    • specialist sprung floors;
    • heating system that radiates heat equally around the studio;
    • air replacement system that maintains a constant room temperature.
  • The Patricia Yardley Studio (black box theatre) features:
    • acoustics which can be adjusted;
    • fully operational lighting rig;
    • quadraphonic sound system.
    • professional raked seating and/or staging system.
  • Join us at our School of Acting Facebook and Twitter pages.

Download the Course Programme Specification

Entry Requirements

You should normally have an A-level or equivalent in drama, dance, performance or a related arts subject. We also welcome applicants with practical experience in the performing arts. You will normally need a range of GCSEs plus a minimum of one of the following:

  • 240 UCAS tariff points
  • A-level in Drama or related subject (C), and two AS-levels both at grade (D)
  • Two A-levels, (C) Drama or related subject and (D) in another A-level
  • BTEC National Diploma (Merit) in Performing Arts
  • BTEC National Certificate (MM) in Performing Arts
  • GNVQ Advanced (Merit) in Performing Arts

Admission to this course is via interview. Please see our Guidance for Applicants for more information.

Application Details

Full Time: Apply through UCAS.
UCAS Code: W490.
Apply via UCAS

Non-EU (International) students:. There are three ways for international students to apply: direct to the University, through a country representative or through UCAS. Please read our guidance on how to apply.

We would prefer you to apply through UCAS, using the code above. However, if you are applying after 31 March, please apply to us directly using the methods below.

Please download and read the Guidance for Applicants before making your application.

Download Guidance for Applicants

Direct Applications

If you are a new applicant please apply using the following methods:

Apply online now!

or download and complete this Application Form PDF

If you are an existing applicant and have previously saved an application which you now wish to complete, please complete your application form here.

UCAS Information

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

UK, EU and international students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

You submit an application via the UCAS website with a list of up to five courses. All choices are confidential during the application process so universities and colleges considering an application cannot see your other choices. Applications must be completed by mid-January of the year that you wish to start university.

You can monitor the progress of your application using the UCAS Apply system.

Fees and Finance

Fees for students from the UK or EU countries?
Start Mode Duration Award Fees
Sep 2014 FT 3 years BA (Hons) £8,200 per year
Fees for students from non-EU countries (International)?
Start Mode Duration Award Fees
Sep 2014 FT 3 years BA (Hons) £14,900 per year

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Apply via UCAS for this Course

Additional costs

You will be required to equip yourself with clothing and footwear appropriate to the often physical nature of classes.

Financial Options and Advice

We have deliberately tried to set fees that reflect the cost of course delivery in order to help our students avoid debt.

Full-time students won't have to pay for tuition fees until after their studies - there are government tuition fee loans available. If you are a full-time student, after leaving university you will start to pay back your loan once you are earning over £21,000 a year, at a rate of nine per cent on any income above £21,000. So if you were earning £25,000, you would pay back nine per cent of £4,000, or £30 per month.

Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis offers key facts on fees, loans and grants:

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

International Students

International Students at BCU

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK. Our reputation for excellence is soaring globally, thanks to the superb links we forge with industry, our international alliances, and our focus on practical, vocational learning.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Open Days

Birmingham School of Acting Open Days

Our Open Days are an excellent opportunity for prospective students to see how we support your progress towards becoming a professional in your chosen field.

Our next general Open Day is scheduled for December. Confirmed dates and registration for this Open Day will be open shortly. In the meantime, please register your interest below in order to receive an email when you can book a place.

Register Your Interest

University Approach to Employability

Expertly woven into our curriculum and work experience opportunities, and underpinned by a diligent approach to career preparation and the close involvement of professional bodies, the University views employment as one of the principal rewards for a student's ambition, application and academic achievement. It's why the University is one of the country's top 30 universities* for placing students in graduate-level employment.

Our close links with business and the professions mean that our courses are always relevant, up-to-date and meet the exact needs of the current marketplace. Wherever possible, we involve employers in planning the curriculum, while many of our lecturers come from and maintain their links with industry, ensuring they are up to speed with the latest developments.

Employability will be an integral outcome of your studies.

* Sunday Times University Guide 2012

Employment Opportunities

This course offers a stimulating, practice-based training that will prepare you for a career within a variety of areas of applied performance, providing the possibility to work as a peformance maker/artist through devising, writing and physical movement-based work and as a practitioner delivering workshops in community and/or education settings. It also offers you the opportunity to progress on to specialist Master's level study of applied performance in particular settings or with particular groups of people such as health, prisons and young people. Alternatively, graduates also go on to PGCE or GTP programmes to qualify formally to teach Drama. within community theatre, providing the possibility to work as community artists, workshop facilitators, writers, choreographers, devisors, community arts administrators or performers.

Placements

During Year 1 there are visits by different practitioners, artisits and companies who deliver seminars and workshops and talk about their work. You will also participate in some workshops or observations of workshops led by companies.

In Year 2 you will have a professional placement in a theatre, education or community company; there are also classes in arts administration and business.

Year 3 prepares you for work in different communities by giving you the chance to create work, performances and workshops in various communities and education settings. Previous projects have included working with homelessness, reminiscence and work with patients (including military patients) at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

In 2013, one of our students is even heading off to Birmingham's twin city in the USA, Chicago, to complete her placement. She will be reporting back on completion of her placement. However, Margaret did leave this report prior to her trip:

"In July 2012 I made contact with Birmingham City Council to find out if the organisation Gallery 37 were still running any projects, as I was really excited by the projects they had done previously with communities in Birmingham. After speaking to a Council representative I found that Gallery 37 stopped running any projects as of 2009 due to the unfortunate cuts to Arts Council funding. So I decided to get into contact with Gallery 37 in Chicago which is where the Gallery 37 in Birmingham had been brought over from.I spoke to them and explained that I was looking to do a six-week internship with them and explained my reasons why. I was delighted when I said that I might be able to work with them but I wouldn’t find out for sure until around December 2012/ January 2013 when they would be planning their spring programme.

I kept in contact with them just to make sure that they would see my interest and passion for art work in community and educational settings and would be able to see the benefits I would hopefully be able to bring to their organisation and vice versa.

In February 2013 I received an email confirming that I could come to work with them in Chicago. I then contacted the Council rep I had spoken to back in July and asked if there was any possible chance that I could apply for funding for my flight and accommodation costs from the Trustees of Gallery 37 Foundation. After finding out that there could be a scope for me to receive a grant, on the terms that I put together a presentation of my internship and present it back to the Trustees, I applied. I was successful and received a letter and a cheque in the post of £650!

At the moment I'm not too sure what to expect as I have never done anything like this before, especially not on my own. Initially I embarked on this road thinking that it was a good idea not for one moment did I think of it as a plausible one. I've been informed that my role whilst on my placement will be their Youth Outreach Officer, which sounds very hands on and daunting. However I'm very much up for the challenge, mainly because I'm going to be seeing a lot of Chicago and working with its different communities. As the days are getting closer I'm getting more and more excited and think that this experience will help me find my feet as a professional in my own right whilst meeting industry professionals and working within a community setting of my choice. I can't wait!"

Course Structure

In year one, students focus on performance skills through a series of practical workshops, projects and skills classes and are introduced to key ideas and elements to practical work, which will inform them as performers, makers of work or workshop leaders. In two core modules students explore the notion of community and identity and consider performance in terms of history and culture.

Year two develops students’ practical skills and discovers how they might apply them to different kinds of work and communities. Students study arts administration as well as making new work through devising or writing for performance. There is also a profesisonal placement within an industry, community or education setting.

Year three sees students practicing their skills by making new work, and community and outreach projects with communities in and around Birmingham.

The course is enhanced by visits from various community companies from around the West Midlands, talking about their work and occasionally giving workshops and by visits out to see work in the area.

Course Modules

Year 1
Skills workshop Contextual studies Community and identity Performance workshop Project
120 Credits - Cert HE
Year 2
Skills workshop Project 2 Professional practice and administration 1 Devising and writing / choreography Applied practice and theory
240 Credits - Dip HE
Year 3
Professional practice and administration 2 Collaboration project Outreach project Community Arts Project
360 Credits - BA (Hons)
Case Study - Kirsty McTighe

Kirsty McTighe

Kirsty McTighe started her career as an actor/teacher at the Playhouse Theatre – a position she was offered as a result of the partnership between BSA and Birmingham REP.

I chose to study at Birmingham School of Acting because I was interested in performing arts and working with children. I had never thought of looking for a course like Community and Applied Theatre (now known as Applied Performance (Community and Education) before, and came across this course after the UCAS deadline but it sounded very interesting so I decided to decline my drama offers and pursue it.

The thing I enjoyed most about Birmingham School of Acting was that it was small enough for you to know everybody in the building and have more direct contact from tutors but you could also have the big university experience. I also loved the fact that most of what we did was practical.

This course led me to something which I love and am passionate about. I am in a job which is precisely what I learnt to do on my course. I wouldn't be able to work to the standards I do now if I hadn't learnt and practiced on the applied theatre course. I am still learning more every day and loving every second!

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities. It’s no surprise that the Complete University Guide placed us in the UK top 10 for spending on facilities in both 2012 and 2013.

Enquiries

T: 0121 331 7563
E:bsaadmissions@bcu.ac.uk

We have Frequently Asked Questions sections relating to applying to drama school and to auditioning.

Prospectus

For an overview of our undergraduate courses and a range of other information order a printed Prospectus or download a PDF of our Prospectus (16Mb).

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