Reimagining Performance Practice

MFA | MA | PGDip | PGCert
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  • Focused on performance in all its facets, this course is for self-starting/entrepreneurial/activist/auteur performers, writers, directors, companies, and producers
  • An emphasis on self-starting, entrepreneurial and activist approaches
  • You’ll have 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


MA: 1 year FT, 2 years PT.
Other routes are available, including online options – see ‘Learning Pathways’


start date: january

full Term dates

Term dates

Winter Term: Monday 10 January – Friday 1 April 2022
Spring and Summer Term: Monday 25 April – Friday 22 July 2022
Autumn Term: 12 September-2 December 2022
Deadline for Major Project/Dissertation: 8 December 2022

Contact us for details of part-time programme patterns and deadlines.

Onsite Teaching Weeks

10-14 January 2022: Welcome Week
24 Jan–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

An online version of this course is available – see ‘Learning Pathways’, below

next application deadline

All upcoming application and decision deadlines can be found here.

Learning pathways

Our degree programmes are designed to suit the complexities of modern life, allowing you to live where you live and work where you work, whilst studying the subject you are passionate about as a member of our wide-reaching learning community.

Some qualifications are offered part-time – these are indicated below. Please note that we do not offer online-only pathways for this course.

MAster's (ft/pt; 180 credits)

A full-time (1 year) or part-time programme (2 years, UK students only) 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.

MFA (ft/pt; Master's plus further study)

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.

Postgraduate Diploma (ft/pt; 120 credits)

A full-time (1 year) or part-time programme (2 years, UK students only) with 4 x 30 credit modules. Students taking the full-time option will study all four modules during the first two terms.  For full details on part-time pathways, please contact us.

Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits)

A full-time programme with 2 x 30 credit modules. Students will study both modules during term one.

First module only (30 credits)

The first module from this course can be studied on a standalone basis, with 30 credits allocated per module.

To apply for the accredited single module option, apply in the usual way, selecting the ‘Module One’ option during the application process.

course content

Reimagining Performance Practice is an integrative, transdisciplinary programme for performers, and anyone working in the field of performance, who is ready to question and reimagine performance as a mode of public engagement and regeneration for the coming decades.

The continuing cross-pollination of disciplines within the broad field of performance, in theatre, scenography, digital performance, dance, live art or other modes of performance, demands a continuing repositioning of how, and with whom, performance can be made.

This course is designed to help you think creatively about transdisciplinary performance work as a means of rethinking and re-enacting the reach and impact of performance as it unfolds in specific new or established contexts that engage with the artistic, social, political, and environmental challenges that confront us.

The programme assumes students already have a performance practice, which they will bring to the course. You will continue to develop and hone your practice outside of taught time, alongside a teaching programme that equips you with critical research methodologies and the collaborative skills and networks needed to operate in new, community, environmental and place-based practice.

The programme aligns with Dartington’s organisational strategies in numerous ways, supporting the core values of the organisation in that it is inherently spirited, interconnected, creative, pioneering, progressive, expert, empowering and encouraging of artistic enterprise.

Reimagining Performance Practice seeks to inspire resilience, sustainability and effectiveness in nurturing and developing outstanding creative practice, and helps students find new professional pathways. The teaching and learning environment is collaborative, nurturing and empowering in a community shaped as a cohort of equals.

programme structure & modules

MA Reimagining Performance Practice is a full-time (1 year) or part-time programme (2 years) with 4 x 30 credit modules and 1 x 60 credit module (dissertation or final project). For the MFA, a further 60 credit Professional Project is added at the end of the programme.

Module One: Reimagining Performance Practice (30 credits)

24 January–4 February 2022 onsite + 4 weeks online*

We start with what each student brings to the programme and how an individual’s skills and experiences connect to their aspirations, and to their peers. Through self-evaluation and diagnosis, critiquing, individual processes of making work, and reimagining performance practice students identify / rethink the material, cultural and social conditions of contemporary performance in rapidly shifting contexts.

Module Two: Collaborations – Developing Performance Practices and Research Methods 1 (30 credits)

7–18 March 2022 onsite + 4 weeks online

An artist-led intensive studio workshop on collaborative processes and strategies provides practical grounding, to which students respond by making short performance or presentation. The module also introduces the contextualisation and dissemination of performance practices, their relation to site, environments and communities, to other artforms and their collaborative approaches.

Module Three: Sites, Collaborations and Communities (30 credits)

18–29 April 2022 onsite + 4 weeks online

This module explores the development of performance practice in sited, collaborative and community contexts through negotiated fieldwork – individually or with others – of one or more small-scale projects, allowing students to extend their understanding and creative engagement with the complexities of generating and developing communities through performance.

Module Four: Communities – Developing Performance Practices & Research Methods 2 (30 credits)

30 May–10 June 2022

The module starts with a 5-day, artist-led, intensive studio workshop on strategies and processes for generating reimagined performance practice in relation to communities, it provides a practical grounding and exemplar in response to which students make short performances or presentations. Students complete a portfolio of processes, strategies and methodologies supporting their practical performance research.

Module 5: MA Dissertation / Final Project (60 credits)

September–November 2022 – Supported through tutorials onsite or online

This module supports the student’s creative, theoretical and reflective work. The module culminates in a public showing of work that is relevant and authentic to the practice and/or 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.

Module 6: MFA Professional Project (60 credits)

January–March 2023 Supported through tutorials onsite or online

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 a 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.

*Students can book studios for independent work during and outside the onsite taught periods. The Dartington Library is available throughout your studies. You also have access both remotely and physically to University of Plymouth Library.

This is a low-residency programme, which means that you can opt to live onsite or offsite throughout your studies. If living offsite, you can book accommodation onsite or in the surrounding area for the two-week onsite taught periods. You can opt for tutorials onsite or online for modules 4 and 5.

entry requirements

Qualification(s) required for entry to the MA

BA (Honours) Degree: A first degree in an arts, or humanities subject. All applicants will be required to present examples of relevant work. Where the first degree is not arts or humanities-related, a portfolio of work will be required in support of the application or experience that is equivalent and demonstrates interest or track record in related field.

Other non-standard awards or experience: A willingness to engage with the field of Performance Practice. Candidates will be considered with prior credited learning and prior experiences subject to interview.*

Interview requirements: All applicants are required to attend an interview, either at the School or online.

*For further information please contact our admissions team at


For full details on our fees, plus information about scholarships, student loans and bursaries, click here.


Emma Bush

Emma Bush

Emma Bush is senior lecturer, Poetics of Imagination and Associate Lecture for Reimagining Performance Practice. She works in the field of art and ecology, making performance, site-specific walks, writing and workshops.

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Tracey Warr

Tracey Warr

Tracey is Head of Dartington Arts School and Head of Research. She is a fiction and non-fiction writer and also works with text in the vicinity of art.

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Ric Allsopp

Dr Ric Allsopp

Dr Ric Allsopp is Associate Faculty for Reimagining Performance Practice, and co-wrote the course with Tim Bolton.

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latest news & blogs

Performance at Dartington

Performance at Dartington

Emma Bush, Associate Lecturer for our Reimaginging Performance Practice course, on what it means to be an alumni of the original Dartington College of Arts, and how her experience shapes her teaching today.

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Top image credit: Grace Gelder