Guildhall School of Music and Drama B.A

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Guildhall School of Music and Drama B.A

Guildhall School of Music and Drama B.A

BA (Hons) Performance & Creative Enterprise

In association with

About the course

  • Three years full-time
  • 27 applications / 10 places*

*based on 2015/16 data

The Performance and Creative Enterprise degree is aimed at artists from a range of music and theatre backgrounds. Open to musicians, composers, theatre makers, devisors, spoken word artists, beatboxers and poets, it is intended for those who want to develop their performance, production, collaboration and leadership skills for employment in the arts industry.

This degree course is all about participation in cross-artform projects. Enabling you to collaborate, communicate and lead in a range of cultural and socially-engaged contexts, the programme will develop your curiosity, stimulate your imagination and help you to generate original work. It will also prepare you for life in the professional arts industry, with a strong focus on developing entrepreneurship and employability.

The programme focuses on:

  • Developing your own individual artistic craft through bespoke training (one-to-one lessons and mentoring)
  • Working collaboratively as part of a cross-arts company, creating new work which is live, recorded and digital
  • Collaborating with people in a range of community settings (e.g. schools, hospitals and healthcare centres, criminal justice institutions), creating participatory and socially-engaged artistic work
  • Cultivating employability by developing creative enterprise skills, including project management, fundraising and budgeting, pitching proposals, marketing and online resources

The programme is taught through on-site specialist training and mentoring, and through real world off-site projects and placements. Delivered in association with the Barbican Centre, it features tutors and guest artists from across the Barbican and Guildhall School’s roster such as: musicians Eugene Skeef, Soweto Kinch, and MOBO award-winning singer Zara McFarlane; poets Jacob Sam-La Rose and Paula Varjack; theatre director Ned Glasier, actors Chetna Pandya and Endy Mckay, playwright Luke Barnes, voice coach Tom Morrison, and movement specialist Niamh McKernan. Collaborators from other artforms have included choreographer Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy (Boy Blue) and filmmaker Eelyn Lee.

Course structure

Year 1: Experiments and explorations

The first year gives you space to experiment and create new work, while learning about being part of a company, working collaboratively, and helping to deliver socially-engaged work. Modules include:

Starting Out, The Identity Project: personal storytelling and autobiography, creating work together as a company which leads to short performance pieces. Workshops include stage presence, group formation, devising and improvising techniques.

Collaborative Performance Project: working as a company, deepening your collaborative skills, and devising new work. A wide range of visiting guest artists will share their collaborative working practices with you.

Outside In: an introduction to the notions of participatory and socially-engaged practice. Through a series of lectures and seminars, practical workshops and off-site observations, you will gain an understanding of both theory and practice. You will also participate in and co-lead a range of projects in community contexts, such as hospitals, schools, criminal justice institutions, and elderly care homes/centres.

PREP (Practice, Reflection, Enterprise, Portfolio): 30 hours of one-to-one lessons developing your individual craft; 10 hours of one-to-one mentoring sessions developing your ideas and ambitions; plus workshops on developing a reflective practice and giving/receiving feedback. This module also includes seminars on managing projects, pitching proposals, documenting your learning and experiences and developing a multi-media portfolio.

Year 2: Developments and discoveries

In the second year, you will use your new knowledge and skills to deliver more advanced projects, including off-site participatory work, site-specific performance, and working to a commission. Modules include:

Inside Out: two off-site projects, during which you collaborate in smaller groups and lead project planning, devising and delivery, with mentoring from experienced professionals. These projects will include work in healthcare, elderly care and the criminal justice system, in schools, housing estates, community groups and with young people.

Pop Up Performance: a short performance project where students lead on devising a piece of creative work which is then toured and performed off-site in a range of different contexts. You will be asked to create work which is technically and artistically appropriate for unusual spaces, blending collaborative and socially-engaged practice skills.

Commission: an exploration of creative entrepreneurship, providing real-world scenarios and contact with the industry. During this module, an industry practitioner or organisation will provide a brief for a ‘professional’ commission: for example, a piece of work which responds to an exhibition in the Barbican Art Gallery while simultaneously reaching out to a wider audience. To deliver this commission, you will need to work collaboratively as a team.

PREP: this module continues and deepens the PREP work undertaken in the first year. You will further develop your artistic technique and creative mastery, and will learn how to deal with multiple stakeholders, fundraising, budgets, marketing and contracts.

Year 3: Placements and the profession

By your final year, you will be expected to lead and curate artistic collaborations, both as an individual and as part of a company. You will also benefit from a work placement in a relevant organisation and take specific career preparation sessions. Modules include:

The Residency: an off-site, out-of-London residency, which provides a platform for experimentation. Such residencies might include working with participants from Culture Tech (digital), Verbal Arts and Wall2Wall Music in Derry, Ireland, or an ecologically focused residency with Schumacher College in Dartington. You will be expected to drive the artistic collaboration with support from professional artists as mentors and co-participants.

Final Project: this module runs over two terms and is split into three components:

  • Placement: you will spend 150 hours in an organisation relevant to your skills, interests and ambitions.
  • Enquiry: an opportunity for you to delve more deeply into a particular area of your artistic practice, which can be presented in a range of forms, e.g. presentation, exhibition, written or digital.
  • Performance: you will develop a project which leads to a performance at a final student-curated showcase festival, using collaborators of your choosing.

PREP: the programme culmination, during which you will bring together everything you have learned and create a ‘calling card’ for the industry. You will identify your own individual voice and artistic vision, with a strong focus on career preparation, including refining your online/digital resources and career plan.

Find out more

Find out application deadline, information on fees and funding, course entry requirements or apply for the programme!

Did you know?

Did you know that we offer application fee waivers for this programme? Find out more and see whether you’re eligible for one here.