University of Chester

Programme Specification
Performing Arts BA (Hons) (Single Honours)
2017 - 2018

Bachelor of Arts (Single Honours)

Performing Arts

Performing Arts

University of Chester

University of Chester

Kingsway Campus, Chester

Undergraduate Modular Programme

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

3 Years

7 Years

Annual - September




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Arts and Humanities Performing Arts

Drama, Dance and Performance (DDP)


Performing Arts

Wednesday 16th January 2013

  • To equip candidates with the academic and practical skills of the learner in the acquisition of performance based concepts.
  • To facilitate the capacity for independent and ensemble work, the management of workload and meeting of deadlines.
  • To enable the demonstration of intelligent engagement with forms, practices, theories and realisations in the performing arts.
  • To enable the student to develop the creative skills necessary to the realisation of performance.
  • To engage with the interplay of theory and practice in making and analysing performance.
  • To enable the student to achieve graduateness and subsequent employability in the cultural industries.

Knowledge and Understanding

Successful students will be able to:

Level 4

  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key practitioners, practices and/or theorists and their cultural and historical contexts; (PA4801)
  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key components of the processes by which contemporary performance is created and realized; (PA4204, PA4802)
  • identify and understand methods and approaches of performance and movement techniques, compositional organisation and performance making, performance processes, histories and production and applied practices; (PA4113, PA4801)
  • identify and understand aspects of theatrical style, genre or tradition and their context within history, society and culture; (PA4801, PA4211)
  • demonstrate some knowledge of key practitioners and practices and/or theorists and their cultural and/or historical contexts. (PA4204, PA4801, PA4211)

Level 5

  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the theoretical and cultural contexts that inform performance through the reciprocity of theory and practice; (PA5216, PA5215)
  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of practices, traditions and histories of performance in relation to contemporary discourses on drama, theatre and the wider field of performance; (PA5211)
  • apply analytical approaches to develop conceptual understanding, techniques and practices within performance; (PA5112, PA5114, PA5115, PA5116, PA5121, PA5216, PA5001, PA5801, WB5101, WB5004, WB5008)
  • demonstrate a breadth of understanding of the practices, traditions and histories of drama and performance, and place these within their historical, social and cultural contexts; (PA5001, PA5121, PA5203, PA5216, PA5210, PA5211, PA5215)
  • identify and critically interpret the cultural frameworks that surround performance events and on which these events impinge. (PA5121, PA5211)

Level 6

  • how to apply knowledge, practices, concepts and skills from other disciplines to the analysis and creation of performance in a wide variety of contexts; (PA6301)
  • demonstrate comprehension and intelligent engagement with forms, practices, traditions and histories of performance and of theoretical explanations of those histories; (PA6003, PA6208, PA6209, PA6210, PA6301)
  • demonstrate contextual knowledge and ability to analyse, interrogate or create, and present findings or results, in a coherent and appropriate format relevant to the fields of study. (PA6001, PA6002, PA6003, PA6004, PA6010, PA6112, PA6208, PA6210, PA6301)

Cognitive Skills

Successful students will:

Level 4

  • have critical and analytical skills in developing ideas and constructing arguments and the capacity to evaluate and present in a range of ways; (PA4801)
  • demonstrate emerging research capabilities and reflective practices within an ethos of creativity and exploration to examine performance concepts, compositional approaches, participatory contexts and performance paradigms. (PA4113, PA4801)
  • show an understanding of the relationship and interplay between theory and practice in performance. (PA4113)
  • demonstrate an ability to evaluate the appropriateness of different approaches to problem solving associated with the discipline.  (PA4204, PA4802, PA4211)
  • demonstrate an ability to apply analytical skills to performance theory and practice.  (PA4204, PA4802, PA4801)

Level 5

  • be able to describe, interpret and evaluate performance texts, production techniques and performance events and engage creatively and critically using a range of critical and theoretical models; (PA5210)
  • Appreciate and employ methods in the subject and/or approaches in practice, critically evaluating the inquiry and ability to exemplify relationship with what has been learned and a wider contextual and/or cultural perspective; (PA5112, PA5114, PA5115, PA5116, PA5121, PA5216, PA5214, PA5801)
  • Describe, interpret and evaluate theatrical styles, production techniques and performance events; (PA5001, PA5121, PA5216, PA5210, PA5211, PA5214, PA5215)
  • Critically evaluate research methodologies and frameworks that surround creative theory and practice; (PA5001, PA5121, PA5203, PA5216, PA5210, PA5211, PA5214, PA5215)
  • Demonstrate critical and analytical skills in developing ideas and constructing arguments. (PA5001, PA5121, PA5203, PA5216, PA5210, PA5211, PA5214, PA5215)

Level 6

  • have acquired appropriate information retrieval skills needed to gather, sift, synthesise and organise material independently and to critically evaluate its significance; (PA6003)
  • identify the cultural frameworks that surround performance events and on which these events impinge; (PA6004)
  • exemplify the ability to gather and assimilate information and to synthesise and organise relevant outputs; (PA6001, PA6002, PA6003, PA6004, PA6105, PA6112, PA6115, PA6010, PA6301)
  • show an understanding of the relationship between theory and practice in performance. (PA6001, PA6002, PA6003, PA6112)

Practical Skills
Successful students will have the following practical and professional skills:

Level 4

  • demonstrate engagement with the skills and processes of production, design and rehearsal by which contemporary performance is created and have the ability to select, refine and present these in performance; (PA4802)
  • demonstrate an understanding of the practices (contemporary and traditional), processes by which performance is created and realised, key practitioners and applied contexts and be able to place these within historical, social and cultural perspectives; (PA4113, PA4801)
  • demonstrate fundamental technical theatre skills relating to sound, lighting and/or digital performance; (PA4204, PA4802)
  • evaluate performance techniques and demonstrate the results of these in performance. (PA4802, PA4211)

Level 5

  • Be able to work creatively and imaginatively and have the developed creative skills needed for the realisation of practice-based work; (PA5001)
  • Demonstrate critical understanding of the practices, traditions and histories of performance and place these within their historical, social and cultural contexts; (PA5112, PA5114, PA5115, PA5116, PA5001, PA5121, PA5216, PA5214, PA5801)
  • Understand professional practice and apply intellectual and imaginative skills in a variety of vocational, academic, educational and creative contexts; (PA5121, PA5001, PA5116, WB5101, WB5004, WB5008, PA5216, PA5801)
  • Demonstrate an emerging sense of personal performance style and specific performance practice skills; (PA5001, PA5121, PA5203, PA5216, PA5210, PA5212, PA5214, PA5215)
  • Work creatively and imaginatively in a group and to have the developed creative skills needed for the realisation of practice based work.  (PA5001, PA5121, PA5203, PA5216, PA5210, PA5212, PA5214, PA5215)

Level 6

  • be able to engage creatively and critically with the creating and/or production of performance through the understanding of appropriate performance vocabularies, techniques, structures and working methods; (PA6208)
  • exemplify competence in the practices, processes, techniques and methodologies required in the study of the relevant sub-discipline(s), and the ability to recognise, apply and synthesize knowledge and skills learnt through such study to other areas, or to other disciplines; (PA6115, PA6001, PA6002, PA6105, PA6010, PA6112, PA6301)
  • demonstrate intellectual curiosity and the potential for continuing artistic and creative development; (PA6003, PA6004, PA6112, PA6115)
  • to critically engage with practical work at a high creative and imaginative level; (PA6001, PA6002, PA6208, PA6210, PA6301)
  • work with an appropriate professional attitude at all times, demonstrating an ability to manage personal workloads efficiently and effectively, to meet deadlines and pursue goals with others, to manage constructively and effectively personal and interpersonal issues. (PA6001, PA6002, PA6004, PA6010, PA6208, PA6210, PA6301)



Successful students will have the following communication skills and will:

Level 4

  • have a developed capacity to analyse the judgements of others to identify and articulate personal strengths and weaknesses; (PA4204)
  • have a developed ability to manage constructively and effectively creative, personal and interpersonal issues; (PA4802)
  • present a structured and coherent simple argument and be able to interpret and evaluate the underlying concepts and principles of the discipline. [All modules]

Level 5

  • have acquired the capacity for independent study, be able to manage personal workloads efficiently and effectively, to meet deadlines and negotiate and pursue goals with others; (PA5216)
  • be able to demonstrate effective communication skills to select, manage and present material in a variety of ways to a range of audiences; (PA5203)
  • effectively communicate information, arguments and analysis in a variety of forms. [All level 5 and 6 modules]

Level 6

  • have the ability to use information and retrieval skills to gather, sift, synthesise and organise material independently and recognise its application and potential; (PA6001, PA6002, PA6003)
  • demonstrate the ability to present work in accessible form, intelligible to both expert and non-expert audiences (readers, consumers etc). Demonstrate the ability to develop ideas and construct arguments in both verbal and written form and to evaluate such ideas and arguments critically. [All level 6 modules]

At level 4, students will engage with a range of areas of performance studies, both practically and theoretically. They will undertake key modules in both dance technique and body care (PA4113 Studio Practices 1), drama and performance theories and movement and voice skills, (PA4801 & PA4211) as well as looking at technical skills and digital work, (PA4204). The students will also opt to be involved in either a drama or dance focussed performance at the end of the year (PA4802)

At level 5, students will be able to either keep the balance of dance and drama focussed work, or skew it towards one or the other. They will also work in a truly interdisciplinary and intermedial way in the core module (PA5216) Interactive Intermedia Performance, as well as looking at the cross disciplinary area of Performing Musical Theatre (PA5801). Alongside this, there are the opportunities to continue with all of the areas studied at level 4. There are also many other optional opportunities at this level. Those with an interest in education or community, Theatre In Education (TIE) based work, can opt for PA5203 Applied Practices, work with text in PA5210, deal with issues of site based performance in PA5214, engage with performance/live art in PA5215 Live Art or take a module in Urban and Street Dance PA5121. A wide range of dance options are available such as; (PA5112) Dance Making and Choreography, (PA5114) Studio Practices 2, (PA5115) Somatic Movement Practices, (PA5116) Dance Teaching and Professional Development.

Students at level 5 can also opt for either an Enhancing your Employability through Work Based Learning experience in WB5101, or undertake a performance based module within the department that will simulate professional working practices in the making of live performance work, exclusively for a period of up to six weeks. 

There are further employability focused, options available such as WB5004 Learning in the Wider World and WB5008 The Study Abroad Experience.

WB5004 is similar in ambition to WB5101 but facilitates undertaking the work based learning placement at a location outside the United Kingdom. WB5004, although available to all students as an alternative to WB5101, must be applied for and participation is restricted to students who meet the criteria of interview, attendance and behaviour during Level 5. All students will be required to receive clearance from their PAT prior to departing on their overseas placement. Students must complete and have a Risk Assessment approved before they are eligible for this module.

WB5008 This module will be offered as a complementary year of study abroad to students who have successfully completed their second-year of study (level 5). Application will occur in January of Level 5. As such, students may be required to present evidence of successful completion of Level 4, satisfactory on-going assessment, academic references and attendance in order for their application to be accepted. Students must also complete a Risk Assessment to indicate that they are fully aware of the requirements for the exchange, university/college and destination that they are applying for.

Students at level 6 have no fixed core modules. They can select their own route through a large number of dance, drama, interdisciplinary, formal taught, independently supervised, written or practical projects.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
PA4105 4 Dance Production 1 20 N/A
PA4113 4 Studio Practices 1 40 Comp
PA4204 4 Introduction to Digital Performance 20 Comp
PA4206 4 Devised Performance 20 N/A
PA4211 4 Introduction to Physical and Vocal Techniques 20 Comp
PA4801 4 Introduction to the Study of Performance 20 Comp
PA4802 4 Performance and Technology 20 Comp
PA5001 5 Performance Practice 20 Optional
PA5111 5 Dance Teaching and Facilitating 20 N/A
PA5112 5 Dance Making and Choreography 20 Optional
PA5113 5 Studio Practices 2 40 N/A
PA5114 5 Studio Practices 2 20 Optional
PA5115 5 Somatic Movement Practices 20 Optional
PA5116 5 Dance Teaching and Professional Development 20 Optional
PA5121 5 Urban and Street Dance 20 Optional
PA5203 5 Applied Practices 20 Optional
PA5206 5 Interactive Digital Performance 20 N/A
PA5210 5 Interpretation: performing through text 20 Optional
PA5211 5 Theoretical Study 20 Optional
PA5212 5 Movement and Voice for Performers 20 Optional
PA5214 5 Site Specific Practices 20 Optional
PA5215 5 Live Art 20 Optional
PA5216 5 Interactive Intermedia Performance 20 Comp
PA5801 5 Performing Musical Theatre 20 Comp
WB5004 5 Learning in the Wider World 20 Optional
WB5008 5 The Study Abroad Experience 120 Optional
WB5101 5 Enhancing your Employability through Work Based Learning 20 Optional
PA6001 6 Negotiated Study (single) 20 Optional
PA6002 6 Negotiated Study (double) 40 Optional
PA6003 6 Dissertation (Performing Arts) 40 Optional
PA6004 6 Developing Professional Practice 20 Optional
PA6010 6 Pedagogy and Policy 20 Optional
PA6105 6 Screendance 20 Optional
PA6112 6 Creative Practice 20 Optional
PA6115 6 Emerging Dance Ensemble: Studio towards performance 40 Optional
PA6208 6 Actors Workshop 20 Optional
PA6209 6 From the Post Modern to the Present Day 20 Optional
PA6210 6 Final Drama Production 40 Optional
PA6301 6 Liquid Space - The intermedia ensemble 20 Optional

Level four of the programme corresponds to Framework of Higher Education Qualification (FHEQ) Certificate level, successful completion of which would entitle a student to an exit award of a Certificate of Higher Education (120 Credits).

Level five of the programme corresponds to FHEQ Intermediate Level 5, successful completion of which would entitle a student to an exit award of a Diploma of Higher Education (240 Credits).

Level six of the programme corresponds to FHEQ Honours Level, successful completion of which would entitle a student to an exit award of a Bachelor Degree with Honours (360 Credits).

UCAS points: 112 UCAS points from GCE A Levels or equivalent. Typical offer - BCC/BBC.
GCE A Level: The Department requires one of the following subjects:
Drama, Drama and Theatre Studies, Performing Arts, Performance Studies

BTEC Extended Diploma (Performing Arts): DMM

BTEC Diploma (Performing Arts): D*D*

Irish/Scottish Highers: B in 4 subjects
International Baccalaureate: 26 points, including 5 in HL Theatre Arts
Access Access to HE Diploma (Drama/Performing Arts), to include 45 credits at level 3, 30 of which must be at Merit
OCR: OCR National Extended/Diploma: merit profile plus one of the GCE A Level subjects listed above
Extra Information:

Please note that we will accept a maximum of 8 UCAS points from GCE AS Levels and that the Welsh Baccalaureate (core) and A Level General Studies will be recognised in our offer. We will also consider a combination of A Levels and BTECs/OCRs.

Applicants will be invited to audition which will involve participation in a group workshop.

Candidates who do not meet the minimum entry requirements, or who have non-standard qualifications and/or relevant performing arts experience, are encouraged to apply and will be considered if they can demonstrate appropriate ability through their audition.


The Subject Benchmark Statements for Performing arts are available on the QAA website (

The Subject Benchmark Statements for Performing arts are available on the QAA website ( The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) is the government agency that seeks to establish and maintain standards of academic quality and consistency across Higher Education programmes of study. The structure of the Single Honours Performing Arts programmes takes into account the National Benchmark Statement for dance, drama and performance, (DDP). Close attention has been paid to the DDP Benchmark Statements in reviewing this programme’s aims, content, learning outcomes and methods of learning, teaching and assessment.

The module learning outcomes draw from the indicative statements of threshold (Level Four) and focal (Levels Five and Six), levels of achievement, in relation to the “Knowledge, understanding and abilities”, “Subject Skills”, and “Generic and graduate skills”, benchmarks. Through engagement with theory, practice and professional practice, the Single Honours programme is rooted in the study of current contemporary Performing Arts practice. The programme aims to facilitate in developing students critical faculties, introducing various modes of knowledge production with a strong focus on imaginative and creative processes. Whilst established methods, processes and techniques continue to inform approaches to practice, clear recognition is given to the impact of emerging technologies, interdisciplinary practice and new conceptual frameworks which have arisen out of interdisciplinary and inter-media performance, encouraging students to develop a diverse range of key practical and cognitive skills essential to working within a changing and dynamic arena.

The National Benchmark statement recognises a number of key issues related to the study of performance, citing common characteristics including; knowledge and understanding of the ways in which “performance originates, is constructed, circulated and received”, examples of which can be found in modules which focus on performance techniques and production. Subject knowledge of  “…. key practitioners and practices, and/or theorists”, are explored and “….. the interplay between theory and practice”, underpins all work in Performing Arts. The Benchmark Statement also makes reference to a “….range of general abilities…..and transferable skills in relation to various critical, analytical and expressive skills”. Skills such as "developing ideas and constructing arguments" and the capacity to present them in appropriate ways; collaborative skills, “…negotiate and pursue goals with others”. It is important to note that although learning outcomes provide a clear indication of student achievement within a module, they will never reflect the full range of teaching and learning activities or student achievement, and whilst not always listed as a learning outcome, a number of benchmarks are evident in most modules, for example, "appropriate information retrieval skills”.

All programmes in the Department of Performing Arts aim to develop students who are performance literate through rigorous engagement with theory, process, practice and notions of professional practice. Teaching in the department seeks to move students from being interested spectators and occasional practitioners towards being professionally engaged in their own creative production. Most modules will encourage learning by trying and testing under tutor supervision, but significant learning will also be planned through writing, lectures, demonstrations, screenings, seminars, dialogues, tutorials and relevant field visits.

The delivery of individual modules within this programme adopt a variety of approaches in order to maximize the student experience and introduce a range of teaching styles appropriate to module content. Students will have had experience of large group lectures, large and small practical workshops, field trips, small research seminars and one-to-one tutorials. This varied mode of delivery also enables staff and students to benefit from the opportunity that interdisciplinarity - departmental and college wide - affords whenever possible. Across the whole programme, students will encounter a mix of learning and teaching methods which take account of the subject matter, student group size, student's previous experience and resources available. Methods of learning and teaching will include:

  • Formal lectures
  • Small group and independent exercises
  • Practical and theoretical workshops
  • Performance skills classes
  • Practical and conceptual problem solving learning
  • Staff and student organised workshops and rehearsals
  • Individual and group tutorials
  • Staff and student led seminars
  • Community and individual field work
  • Library and web-based research exercises
  • Attendance at performances, conferences and professionally led workshops
  • Self-directed learning

Range of assessment

Assessment is designed to allow students to demonstrate achievement of the stated learning outcomes of every module they study. Given the constant relationship between practice and theory, students will encounter a range of assessment demands including:

  • Public performance
  • Practical demonstrations
  • Lecture demonstrations
  • Oral examination
  • Formal Essays
  • Reflective notebooks
  • Seminar presentations
  • Presentations supported by appropriate media
  • Planning and facilitating workshops for others

Formative assessment

Formative assessment in the form of pre-assessment, peer appraisal and self-appraisal is normally a feature of all practical work. It is a keystone method in developing practical and written work and in strengthening autonomous learning. Reflection and critical contextual commentary on the student's own practice will be encouraged through ongoing discussion, and will be summatively assessed through an oral examination at level 5 and 6. Reflective writing will be used to further develop students' autonomy as both learners and practitioners, and will be summatively assessed via reflective notebooks or journals. Formal essay skills will be developed across the whole programme.

Patterns of assessment

Modules in Performing Arts are assessed in line with general departmental policy. This means that progressive development for the student occurs between each level within the programme. The weighting of assessed components within modules places greater emphasis on critical analysis and evaluation of practice informed by theoretical understanding as the student progresses from Level 4 to Level 6. Components of assessment in individual modules generally follow the principle of enabling students to interrogate theory through practice and critically evaluate the aesthetic, procedural and/or technical outcomes in the light of current theory.

The QAA level H characteristics include the abilities to:

  • Apply the methods and techniques that they have learned to review, consolidate, extend and apply their knowledge and understanding, and to initiate and carry out projects;
  • Critically evaluate arguments, assumptions, abstract concepts and data (that may be incomplete), to make judgements, and to frame appropriate questions to achieve a solution - or identify a range of solutions - to a problem;
  • Communicate information, ideas, problems, and solutions to both specialist and non-specialist audiences.

Qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring:

  • the exercise of initiative and personal responsibility;
  • decision-making in complex and unpredictable contexts;
  • the learning ability needed to undertake appropriate further training of a
    professional or equivalent nature.

The University is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.


Research, scholarship and professional practice are vital components of the programmes within the Department of Performing Arts. The vibrant research environment created by the staff and students is very important and much investment is made in order to ensure its success. Furthermore, significant grants have been awarded to staff from organisations such as the British Council, European Union and the Arts and Humanities Research Council in order to fund cutting edge work.

Staff are producing books, book chapters, journal articles, conference papers as well as a plethora of practice-based research such as performances, choreography, digital media and compositions. Without exception the research interests of staff make a direct contribution to the curriculum and several modules derive directly from staff research thereby constituting research based teaching in the most complete sense. Research interests include: contemporary performance practices; applied drama and theatre; performance theory; the theatre of Beckett; site specific performance; Boal's practices; the application of technology to performance; conflict resolution; Scottish theatre; performance illustration; ethnography; traditional performance, dance development; dance pedagogy; anthropology, dance, and performance studies; collaborative practice; autoethnography; choreography; the interface between embodiment and the perception of block, performance; transcription; songwriting and composition; popular music; popular culture; vocal health; performance anxiety; collaborative practice; analysis.

There are a number of PhD students studying across drama practices, applied drama and music. All postgraduates (research and taught) and staff are active members of the vibrant Departmental research seminar series and contribute papers to this and the Faculty’s Centre for Research in Arts and Media. Furthermore, the Faculty and Department have organised a number of conferences, the most recent being held in June 2012 on the subject of Contemporary Ethnography and Traditional Performance which revisited the meetings of folklore, anthropology and the performing arts that formed a foundation for performance studies from an international point of view including representation from Canada, England, New Zealand, Philippines, Scotland, and Spain.

Induction for New Students:

A one week induction period is provided. Sessions typically cover familiarisation with the structure of the programme and introductory lectures and practical workshops. Students are also introduced to the expectations of life as an undergraduate in the Department of Performing Arts, key study skills, managing time, managing finances and personal safety. Students will be able to meet and discuss any concerns with department staff. This is followed with an intensive period of staff-led collaborative workshops, which aims to integrate the new cohort to the department and peers.

Personal Academic Tutors:

The department fully endorses and adheres to the Universities established Personal Academic Tutorial scheme. All students on degree programmes are allocated a personal academic tutor and students are required to see their personal tutor regularly and particularly during the first year. This personal tutor (PAT) will usually remain with the student throughout their studies, providing advice on academic development and progress.

Academic/Learning Support:

In addition to the personal tutorial system, academic members of the Department of Performing Arts seek to be available and approachable for individual consultation. Although students will receive written feedback on their work, they may also make an appointment to see the relevant lecturer regarding any work submitted.

Programme Information and University Regulations:

Students will have access to a student handbook detailing the structure of the programme and relevant information concerning the University’s regulations. All such information is widely available through Sharepoint.

Careers Advice:

Careers Advisors have been allocated to the Faculty of Arts & Media and students in the Department of Performing Arts are able to access information concerning both vocational and educational opportunities both during their studies and after graduation.

** DBS checks will be carried out as required * *

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