Learning and Teaching Strategy applicable to all course at MPA

The majority of the teaching and learning is studio-based. Technique and performance in dance, singing and acting is taught in regular daily sessions in order to sustain the ‘training’ element of the practical work. This is accompanied by sessions in body and voice maintenance. Understanding how to maintain good health during a physically demanding training and career is a key feature of the provision.

Performance studies are taught throughout the three years of study and the work becomes increasingly sophisticated and challenging as the students progress. Repertoire from major shows, both past and current, are staged and performed publicly throughout the three years of study and students become confident and proficient in a wide variety of performance work. Major directors, choreographers and producers from the professional world are involved in staging performance works at MPA and thus students are constantly linked to the profession and its chief protagonists. This is supported by a contextual understanding so that students not only know the ‘what’ of their performance work but also understand the ‘why’. Creativity is promoted through student-led performances, where students are entirely responsible for realising their own pieces both for in house and public performances.

Supporting Professional Studies include reflective practice, production techniques, self-management and specific subjects in preparation for professional work such as audition techniques, working with theatrical agencies, administrating income tax and membership of professional job search agencies like Spotlight and Dancers’ Pro. An understanding of arts practice in general with exploration of philosophical views from performers and creators is also included to enhance the depth of expression and interpretation in performance. This teaching is lecture and seminar-based and includes a considerable amount of private study and autonomous learning.

Assessment Strategy applicable to all course at MPA:

Assessment of practical work is undertaken both formatively and summatively. Technique subjects of the first and second year programme have formative assessment points in November. Summative assessment takes place at the end of years one and two to ensure adequate achievement allowing for progression to the next level of study.  Each unit of study, on the fully validated courses, is awarded credits when successfully completed by the students and the credits per year allocated to Technical Studies reflect its importance and students must gain these credits in order to pass the year of study. In year three there is a summative assessment only, half way through the year, to allow for the intensive performance work, auditions and professional placements, which are a feature of the study programme at this level and follow during the second half of the year. The Unit is assessed in genre based tasks, which are weighted according to their significance to the achievement of the Unit. For the degree students in years two and three a 10% weighting is given to study in a self-elected particular genre and this additional study gives the student the opportunity to build on strength and aptitude in a particular genre to a high degree of expertise.

Performance work is assessed through on-going assessment of rehearsal processes and final assessment of both solo and group performances at designated points throughout the study. Again, assessment tasks are weighted within the credits allocated to the Unit. There is also a contextual study component in this Unit.

A professional studies portfolio is assessed at the end of years one and two and evidence of lectures, assessment tasks, reflective journal and autonomous learning activities is included. A final project in the 3rd year is designed to give the student the opportunity to research, develop and evaluate a ‘signature’ performance piece demonstrating individual strengths and artistic identity.