Reimagining Performance Practice

MFA, MA, PGDip, PGCert

Video credit: Aubrey Simpson films dancers from Dotdotdot Dance during the Dartington Music Summer School 2018.

Reimagining Performance Practice*

MFA, MA, PGDip, PGCert
Full time and part time
Starts January 2022
Deadline for applications: 16 August 2021

Reimagining Performance Practice is an integrative, transdisciplinary programme for performers, and anyone working in the field of performance, who are determined to reimagine performance and performative public engagement for the coming decades.

Post COVID-19 it seems highly likely that we will have fewer venues and perhaps less access to traditional performative spaces, especially for more creative and experimental work, and the new landscape is likely to require self-starting, entrepreneurial, even activist approaches. This is a time for action! We are also seeing a continuing cross-pollination of disciplines within the broad field of performance, whether music, dance, theatre, film or other modes of performance,  and this course is designed to help you think creatively about interdisciplinary work as a means to continue performing and producing performances, all be it in specific new contexts.

You will develop your performance practice alongside a teaching programme equipping you with critical research methodologies and the practical skills and networks needed to operate in new, community and place based practice. The course is designed to help you gain the skills to create your own alternative performative cultural outcomes. 

Key Info

A full-time (1 year) or part-time programme (2 years) with 4 x 30 credit modules and 1 x 60 credit dissertation or major project module. The taught (30 credit) modules are six weeks’ long. Teaching at Dartington is concentrated into two-week periods for each of the first four modules, with supported e-learning and independent learning in between.

Focused on performance in all its facets, this course is for self-starting, entrepreneurial, activist, auteur, performers, writers, directors, companies, producers. There is an emphasis on self-starting, entrepreneurial and activist approaches, plus opportunities to engage in creative practice alongside and in dialogue with your more theoretical studies. Students have access to bookable studios and workshops at Dartington Trust.

The MFA option involves a further 60 credits of study resulting in a significant, self initiated public outcome, performance, exhibition or publication. Participants will be drawn from our own MA programmes as well as those from other institutions.

Programme information 

IMPORTANT: Please ensure you consult the Applicant Information page for full information on tuition fees and other key information about our courses.

You can then return to this page for programme-specific information and to make your course application.

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how to apply

Application form

Click below to apply for this course online(form opens in new window/tab)..
Deadline for applications: 16 August 2021


Please ensure you submit your supporting materials (see below) after completing your application form.

Additional Documentation in Support of your Application

After you have submitted your application, please send all necessary supporting information listed below as soon as possible to allow us to process your application. As our staff are mostly working from home at present, please send scanned copies or electronic versions of the below to:


1) Certificate(s) or transcript(s) of first degree or equivalent qualifications: these can be Original or certified copies:

Photocopies MUST be certified by a public notary or solicitor (with contact details provided for them).

Any documents which are not in English MUST be accompanied by a full translation then certified by a public notary or solicitor. All translations must be accompanied by the certificate or transcript in the original language.

Important notes for students requiring a Student Visa

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will only accept original copies of your documents during the visa application process. We are happy to accept originals, but it is safer to post certified photocopies which meet the above guidelines. Please bring the originals with you to enrolment if offered a place.

UKVI also require a full translation of any documents that are not in English.

Dartington Arts School is licensed under Dartington Trust as a Student Visa Sponsor. To comply with our sponsorship duties, we are required to check other aspects of your application in addition to your academic achievements. We will look at previous studies in the UK and other aspects outlined in UKVI guidance for sponsors. Information you provide on your application form will be passed on to the UKVI once you have been offered a place and Dartington Arts School agrees to sponsor you.

2) A recent passport-size photograph

3) A copy of the front cover and information page of your current passport (inform us immediately if you get a new passport before you come to the UK to study).

4) A copy of any previous or current UK visa.

Translations of documents which are not in English

The original translation must contain:

  • confirmation from the translator/translation company that it is an accurate translation of the original document
  • the date of the translation
  • the translator/an authorised official of the translation company’s full name and signature, and
  • the translator/translation company’s contact details.

Documentary requirements for Student Visa applicants can be found here ( Please read the Guidance and Appendix at the bottom of the page.

TERM DATES AND teaching dates

Taught Dates

3–7 January 2022: Welcome Week
24–4 February 2022: Module 1 Teaching Weeks
7–18 March 2022: Module 2 Teaching Weeks
18–29 April 2022: Module 3 Teaching Weeks
30 May–10 June 2022: Module 4 Teaching Weeks

programme structure and modules

MA Reimagining Performance Practice is a full-time (1 year) or part-time programme (2 years) with 2 x 30 credit module and 2 x 60 credit modules (research and development and dissertation or final project module. For the MFA, a further 60 credit Professional Project is added at the end of the programme.  Below are draft modules, which are indicative only at this stage, though we hope to confirm more details soon.

Module One: Ensemble Practice (30 credits)

The module explores practical and theoretical, legal and well-being issues surrounding forming, working within, managing, collaborating, creating structures, including democratic and hierarchical models, for ensemble and collaborative practice. The module looks at deep listening, different modes of authorship, socially, ecologically and politically engaged practice and at learning communities. The module also starts to build level 7 research knowledge and approaches and looks at audience, performance, improvisation and uncertainty. 

Module Two: Sited Community Practice (30 credits)

Through explorations of the state of the cultural sector, site, community, context and ecology, in this module students will experience the roles of director, choreographer, author, performers, cast member, collaborators and many other roles. Every student will be expected to develop and propose performance practice in response to specific selected sites and communities. Students will need to build teams capable of delivering performance. They will need to engage with the site and community, find venues, consider documentation and conduct evaluations. Additionally, this module requires students to project forward, to imagine their career trajectory and to understand their own strengths and areas for development and to plan the ongoing Personal Development Plan they require.

Module Three: Research and Development (60 credits)

As with previous modules, Reimagining Performance Practice requires students to develop their individual practice while continuing to collaborate with their peer group. Students will be expected to be author, cast and crew for each other in the creation of a number of proposals, productions, performances and happenings, all of which respond to place, community and audience. The module also supports students in the further refining of their Personal Development Plan, setting goals and starting to propose projects for their substantial 60 credit Major Project.

MA Dissertation / Final Project (60 credits)

 This module supports the student’s creative, theoretical and reflective work.  The module culminates in a public showing of work, relevant and authentic to the practice and the submission of a formal piece of writing. Outputs from the module will evidence the depth of development and synthesis of knowledge from the programme.

MFA Professional Project (60 credits)

This module is self-initiated from the outset and prioritises individual research, conducted under supervision with identified tutors and other mentors and external advisors considered essential to the study. MFA students learn from and contribute to the delivery of the module through their interaction with peers, tutors, place and the wider community. Emphasis is placed upon independence, originality, initiative and enterprise. Teaching and learning will be complemented by the wide range of visiting lecturers (e.g. artists, choreographers, directors, performers composers, critics, curators, etc), providing the opportunity to discuss work with renowned experts. Students will develop individual opportunities with local, national and/or international venues, opportunities, residencies, agencies, etc., which may also result in working independently or at distance. Culmination of the module is the production of a substantial and resolved creative outcome that will be exhibited/performed/published and assessed in an appropriate public arena.



Tim Bolton, Head of Programmes, Dartington Trust


remote learning

All our low-residency degree programmes are available as online only pathways from June 2021 onwards. Following a year of successful online and hybrid delivery, we have now developed an online distance learning model that allows you to attain your postgraduate qualification even if you are unable to physically travel to Dartington. The online pathway joins existing modes of studying with us, such as the residential pathway (two weeks on site per module) and a hybrid pathway that allows you to combine online and on site learning to suite your circumstances. (Please note that international students taking online only pathways do not need to apply for a Student Visa.)

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