Your second year provides key practical and public experience. This includes working in partnership with practicing professionals to create theatre based on the stories of local people alongside a range of other opportunities:
You also undertake an internship with a professional company, which enhances your practical understanding of the community theatre industry and helps you to forge useful links for your future.
- Applied theatre skills I: consulting the community
In this compulsory second year module you begin to develop relationships with key local organisations and to explore the different influences and contexts that form the cultural landscape of communities.
The module is project-based and encourages you to engage with your local communities in Southend, Loughton and the wider south east England region. You gain experience of working with and for a range of people from the very young to very senior citizens, to create and present community theatre.
Projects draw on observation and narrative, exploring and referring to local histories and identities. Performances take place in a range of environments such as on campus, in studios, care homes, public libraries or outdoors.
The first project in the module is designed to introduce students to the techniques of reminiscence with older people.
- Community consultation
- Principles of reminiscence
- Participant centred approach
- Interview techniques
- Working with elderly people
- Verbatim theatre techniques
- Researching oral history
- Devising theatre from memories
- Workshop Facilitation
In this project you develop skills in facilitating drama-based workshops with a group in the community. You gain knowledge of and be able to apply techniques to engage participants in theatre-making.
- Theatre Games
- Group dynamics
- Theatre of the oppressed
- Forum theatre
- Playback theatre
- Workshop preparation and planning
- Delivery of a series of workshops in the community
- Reflection and critical analysis of a series of drama workshops
This project offers students an opportunity to write for theatre, in consultation with a group of school-aged children, to develop a play for a short tour of schools.
- Advanced processes of consultation
- Primary research
- Learning through theatre
- Advanced understanding of scene and performance structure
- Extended character research and development
- Considerations for small scale touring theatre
- Workshop development for use with scripted material
- Applied theatre skills II: developing the community
This compulsory second year module has a focus on community development, and you have opportunities to investigate equality of opportunity and community cultural development as you engage with communities in Southend, Loughton and the wider south east England region.
You extend your experience of creating theatre in a range of forms, styles and performance environments. You explore a variety of approaches to physical theatre, object manipulation and outdoor performance, extending your technical and acting skills to apply to the demanding environments of street theatre. The work of this module culminates in the creation of Pandemonium – a street theatre festival for the people of Southend.
This project develops students skill in non-verbal performance, emphasising skills such as physical theatre, mime, puppetry and object manipulation. Students will also explore soundscape and sound design in developing a performance for a suitable audience such as work for Early Years.
- Physical theatre
- Theatre for children
- Theatre for early years
- Puppet making and puppet and object manipulation
- Devising physical theatre
- Rehearsal and performance
Commedia and Street Theatre
This project investigates celebratory theatre through carnival, commedia and street theatre. Students will have the opportunity to develop and perform in a street theatre festival.
- Commedia dell’ Arte
- Clowning and circus
- Techniques of carnival and procession
- Invisible theatre and gorilla theatre
- Street theatre case studies
- Street theatre audiences
- Rehearsal and performance of a street theatre festival
- Community theatre arts management
In this compulsory second year module you examine a range of community theatre contexts of arts management. You explore the structure and management of small-scale community and voluntary sector arts organisations, and community and education departments within large organisations.
The module includes preparation for work placements assessed in the final year. By the end of the module you are prepared to learn and begin to apply arts administration skills in a professional company context.
Aspects of event management and production management are explored. This may include such aspects as marketing, databases, budgets, liaison with agencies, licensing, risk assessment, audience management and other aspects of health and safety, along with scheduling and logistics.
The structure and purpose of organisations involved in community theatre: community, voluntary, public and relevant departments under the umbrella of larger organisations.
Case studies in organisational structure of small to medium-sized arts organisations and departments:
- Management structures, organisational roles, project roles
- Involvement of administrative support through the life of a project
- Relationship of artistic and production goals of a project
- Placement of a company through its philosophy and organisational style
- Databases, budgets and the use of Excel
- Cultural policy development, its underlying assumptions and its influence on arts organisations
- How projects are funded
- Case studies of management in community arts organisations
- Basic arts administration skills
- CV preparation and presentation, interview and self-presentation skills applicable to:
- An independent, freelance artist
- A small-scale performing arts organisation
- Community/Education departments within large organisations
In preparation for entry to your final professional preparation year, you learn how to explore avenues to approaching companies who employ performers in the community theatre sector and recognise your transferable skills from non-theatrical employment.
You meet guest lecturers from organisations in the community theatre sector, initiating the establishment of networks with arts practitioners in Southend, London and the South East England region. You undertake research to identify opportunities for their final work placements and investigate organisations:
- Working practices
- Level of activity in the community sector
- Culture and management
You may undertake initial observation visits to potential work placement providers. Event management will be explored in the context of the annual street theatre event. You undertake production roles, focusing on:
- Liaison with agencies an licensing
- Marketing and promotion
- Liaison and engagement of the community
- Risk assessment, audience management and other aspects of Health and Safety
- Scheduling and logistics
- The definition and functions of key role in production management
You consider issues of scale, visibility, sightlines, audibility and accessibility in outdoor performance and explore approaches to capturing and sustaining the audiences’ attention outdoors. Students will learn how to encourage and manage audience participation through the design of outdoor performance.
- Technical theatre skills
The emphasis in this module is on developing design concepts and technical expertise for mounting small-scale community theatre, and developing technical skill in video documentary. You explore case studies of design for performance in the community. You are encouraged to make use of found materials and low-budget solutions suitable for small-scale touring and work in community settings.
You gain an understanding of the technical, legal and health and safety issues of performance in a range of scales and settings. You learn to carry out established risk assessment procedures and to propose appropriate solutions to health and safety issues.
You begin the work of the module with a technical induction into the use of video recording equipment to prepare you for documentation of major projects. Toward the end of term one you shoot material for a short documentary video with a group within the community. You are encouraged to consider issues of design and realisation for your projects within specific ‘givens’ of space, text, budget, timescales and portability. Small-scale practical exercises are undertaken in design, visualisation, presentation and realisation of costume, props and set, including design sketches.
You focus on costume design and making, and undertake an individual costume design project with a showing of the work. You engage with managing, making and sourcing props, and mask and puppet making. Basic carpentry skills are covered and applied to a relevant construction task.
Introduction to offline editing of video will lead to students editing a short scene.
You have opportunities to consult with staff on designs for set, costumes and props for project work, applying skills as they are developed.
You consider the legal and licensing requirements for performances in community settings including working outdoors:
- The definition and functions of key roles in production management
- Insurance: public liability, performers and venue personnel
- Licensing procedures, fire regulations
- Health & safety issues, particularly for outdoor performance
- Risk assessment
Project management – you contribute to the production management and as production crew of your street theatre festival. You also execute a practical project in the form of research, design and construction of an appropriate costume/head-dress for an outdoor performance.
You consider issues of scale, visibility, sightlines, audibility and accessibility in outdoor performance and explore approaches to capturing and sustaining an audience’s attention outdoors. You learn how to encourage participation through the design of outdoor performance.
- Special performance skills
The work of this module provides a training in voice, music movement and any other skills required for performance in community settings. You explore techniques of physical theatre and extended vocal work. You expand your understanding of dance and movement vocabulary including popular and culturally diverse dance forms.
The work of this module provides you with an overview of the music appropriate to contemporary and historical contexts of your acting projects. You are able to apply standard body and vocal warm-ups and take active responsibility for identifying and remedying areas of personal weakness in performance. Contemporary theatre practices extend your understanding of physicality, voice, movement and characterisation in relation to community theatre.
You undertake a series of intensive workshops with visiting practitioners active in the contemporary theatre profession to stimulate fresh responses to space, place and identity.
The work of the module is completed by providing you with opportunities to develop a range of skills in samba, street music-making and circus in support of the outdoor project being developed in Applied Theatre Skills II. You learn how to perform percussion improvisations using junk and found instruments to create outdoor processional spectacles. You explore a range of carnival traditions and learn to make appropriate choices for your use in practical projects.
You build on the skills developed in the first year to extend your technique in movement, voice and music. You are offered challenges and opportunities which can develop your competency to industry entry level. As well as developing the skills required of performers in community theatre, you develop specific skills related to your projects such as period dance or song, song writing and playing samba instruments.
New skills are introduced in combat (to foundation level) and circus skills. You develop one circus skill to performance level competence.
- Contextual studies
This is a compulsory full-year module explores the role of the arts in the public realm and introduces the wider history and context of community theatre in the UK and Europe.
It draws on the development of ideas of ‘popular theatre’, including theories of carnival, spectacle and community empowerment, with examples from a range of cultural contexts and practices. You also explore theories of representation including semiotics, drawing on visual, aural and popular culture
You critically analyse performances, lectures and classes you have attended, drawing on appropriate technical and theoretical vocabulary. They learn to locate performance practice within a social and cultural framework.
- Theories of culture, community and identity
- Community and Education
- The work of Paolo Freire – oppression or empowerment?
- Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed
- Forum/Participatory theatre and activism
- Introducing Semiotics
- Analysing Popular Culture
- Theories of Representation
- Semiotics and Theatre
- Analysing Performance
- Open/Closed Performance
- Feedback, questionnaires and assessing success in learning through the arts
- Commedia dell’arte
- Vaudeville and Music Hall
- Bakhtin’s theory of Carnival
- Defining the Popular – Theories of High and Low Art
- Brecht and Political Theatre
- Joan Littlewood and Theatre Workshop
- Invisible Theatre