Critical and Textual Studies
In a nutshell
This course is the only one in the area combining vocationally focused learning opportunities in both media production and performance – live and recorded. You will have the opportunity to explore a range of performance skills and approaches from the experimental to mainstream live, TV and radio work. You will be able to develop your skills behind the camera or microphone and to analyse and reflect on your learning through academic study. In addition, you will gain the knowledge, skills and understanding to become a versatile and resilient creative practitioner.
You will be able to choose from a range of options to pursue your own interests, including acting for camera, presenting, comedy writing and performance, radio performance and production, scriptwriting, media production and directing and producing. You will also have the opportunity to take part in video drama projects led by professional directors or staff members.
In your final year you can develop your own project, choosing from a wide range of performance and media areas. These could include devised or scripted live or recorded performance, an original film script, multimedia, stand-up, a ‘mockumentary’, documentary or a directing project.
We have excellent links with performance and media companies and professionals across the region and encourage you to make the most of the many project and networking opportunities offered to you during your time at the University of Salford.
- Learn to create cutting-edge media and live performance
- Study in a vibrant city with a fantastic theatre, arts and music scene
- Engage with industry through networking, masterclasses and a suite of professional development opportunities
This is for you if...
You want to develop your skills in front of and behind the camera or microphone
You have some experience in the area of acting/drama/performance
You can use voice and physicality effectively
All about the course
As a Media and Performance student, you will learn through a mix of lectures, seminars, workshops and practical performance projects. Assessment will be through a range of means including essays, presentations, in-class performance presentations, video and audio projects and publicly performed projects.
The core curriculum in year one will give you foundation knowledge and skills across the spectrum of media and performance. In year two you will study a combination of core and optional modules so that you can pursue your individual interests, develop your talents and explore new areas. In year three you will combine taught optional modules with your own project work, including practical research or a dissertation.
As the course progresses from year one to year three you will be given support and guidance to enable you to work independently, to manage your time and to collaborate creatively with others. You will also attend a number of careers-focused masterclasses and presentations that will give you practical advice in many employment areas relevant to media and performance graduates.
This lecture and seminar based module focuses on textual analysis and critical approaches to live and mediated performance texts. It also considers key theories and practitioners who influenced the development of particular disciplines within performance.
Performance in Context
Provides the historical framework to examine the development of performance from the late 19th century onward. Movements like Realism, Expressionism, Surrealism and Dada are examined in relation to other movements and across performance disciplines. Small group seminars will support the lectures.
Acting for Recorded Media
This module will acquaint you with the range and scope of television and radio drama and involves an exploration of a range of techniques for performing on camera or for the microphone, as well as providing knowledge of fundamental procedures and skills of studio operation.
Acting Methods 1
This primarily practical module focuses on the creative practices essential to build characterisations for live performance in a naturalistic context, drawing on Stanislavsky's System.
The module combines both technical and creative aspects of media production as you develop a broad awareness of the range of skills required for video production, including camera, lighting, editing and sound – imperative to contemporary theatre technology.
You will learn how to produce from script to screen a short video drama. Working to health and safety guidelines, students develop group-working skills appropriate to a professional drama production.
In lectures, screenings and seminars the approaches to textual critical analysis introduced in the first year are further developed, as are your academic writing skills.
A range of optional modules are offered, including:
Radio Performance and Production
This module enables you to work on a range of exercises designed to develop your characterisation, vocal expression and tonal variety in performing audio drama. You are introduced to studio equipment for recording and editing and contribute to studio management for the assignment. You are assessed on the performance and production of a recorded radio drama script.
Directing and Producing
Emphasises the aesthetic aspects of directing for screen along with the practical decision-making and problem-solving aspects of camera and lighting, sound recording, video editing, artistic resources and time management. You will be introduced to the role of the producer with regard to budgeting, scheduling and contingency planning.
Integrated Production Skills
This module develops the skills and approaches introduced in first year production modules, offering the opportunity to further explore camera, editing, lighting and sound recording.
Programme Production Techniques
This offers you the chance to explore the practical and creative challenges in planning and producing a studio-based TV show. This module is one of two that are based in our professional quality TV studio on our MediaCityUK campus.
You will explore performing pieces to camera, engaging with the audience by `breaking through the lens'; interview technique, the importance of asking pertinent questions, listening and putting an interviewee at ease; voice-over work - the importance of performing with energy, clarity and correct intonation. You will produce a five - eight minute magazine item containing an intro, a walk and talk piece to camera, practical exercise or short demonstration, voice-over, researched interview and outro, targeted at a specific audience and presented in an appropriate style.
The module centres on building confidence in singing and developing your vocal agility through a range of exercises and songs performed in solo and group situations. The module introduces basic musical notation, sight singing, and harmony work and you will also experiment practically with microphone techniques.
Comedy Writing and Performance
You will discuss examples of a range of radio and TV comedy before working in a small group to create an original comedy idea and to develop your own characters within it. You will be encouraged to develop range and flexibility in your vocal, facial and physical skills in order to produce a range of comic personas. You will then perform, record and edit the resultant TV/radio sitcom or sketch show. The module also examines aspects of storytelling‚ theme, narrative structure, character development, comic types, the relationship of character to plot, use of subplots - in relation to the writing of comedy drama and situation comedy. The module explores the writing and devising of comedy for recorded media.
Acting for the Camera
This module gives you experience of working with ex-broadcast drama scripts, which you will rehearse and record for camera under conditions mirroring industry practice.
Voice and Text
Through exercises and reflective analysis, you will develop vocal techniques and learn to apply interpretative skills to the performance of dramatic texts.
Comedy Improvisation Techniques
Following on from the Comedy Acting Methods module in your first year, you will explore areas of 'Shortform' and 'Longform' Improv. techniques following the teachings of Keith Johnstone, Viola Spolin, Del Close and other. The module explores the skills needed to be able to act 'on the spot' with confidence, to create characters and perform them with strength and consistency. The module wraps up with performing improvised scenes, games, and Longform formats and building on core knowledge of Improvisation in performance.
Introduction to Screenwriting
You will examine fundamental aspects of storytelling: narrative structure, character development, character types, relation of character to plot, the use of subplots. You explore differing conceptual and technical approaches in scriptwriting for theatre, TV and film.
You will learn skills of analysing and writing plays for the stage. The module covers history of playwriting, an introduction to the playwriting industry and the development of skills in areas such as concept, story, structure, characterisation and dialogue. You will have the chance to work with professional playwrights in this course and write a play for your assessment.
Shakespeare In Performance
You explore Shakespeare’s plays through performing them and through deconstructing performances of them. You also enjoy the opportunity here of working with students on other degree programmes.
Introduction to Multimedia Performance
This module is designed to develop skills in and approaches to the making of multimedia performance, through practical workshops, which are underpinned by reference to key theories and practitioners in the field. You will focus on a number of different aspects of multimedia performance and in sessions, will develop skills in these areas, through practical experimentation and collaborative creative work. Sessions will also offer examples of practices and concepts relevant to each area, which will be discussed in relation to your developing work.
Theatre and Communities
The module provides students with a practical knowledge and theoretical understanding of the uses, applications and value of drama and theatre as an aspect of social engagement and personal empowerment outside of the conventional theatre environment. The module explores the history of the 'form', and key practitioners and areas of contemporary practice. Practitioners/companies may include Cardboard Citizens, 7.84, TiPP, Geese Theatre UK, and Clean Break
Introduction to Theatre Directing
In the first part of the module, a series of workshop/seminars will introduce you to the role of the director, using a range of contemporary and historical play texts. We will explore and apply appropriate theatrical vocabularies in order to help you develop your own directorial approach. You will also lead small group work in terms of exploring and experimenting with a range of directorial approaches to both script and to performers. Consideration will also be given to the relationship between the director and other key members of the production team (eg set designer, lighting & sound designers and stage manager).
The middle section of the module offers interpretation and adaptation workshops, which will provide strategies for thinking creatively about how to approach a text for performance. Particular reference will be made to mise-en-scene and aspects of production design.
The final block comprises practical student-led project work (with tutor guidance) focusing upon: ‘text’ analysis and/or stimuli; research methods; rehearsal preparation and scheduling; interpersonal/communication skills; rehearsal procedure.
You will also choose either a Video Project or a Radio Comedy Project:
You will gain experience of the disciplines of shooting as well editing your footage.
Radio Comedy Project
This project is led by a member of staff or a visiting practitioner. You will work in an ensemble to create original comedy sketch ideas and develop your own characters within them. The performance, recording and editing of selected sketches before a live studio audience constitutes the practical element of the assignment.
This module aids you in beginning to research and develop ideas for your Dissertation or Practical Research Project for semester two. You will learn key research skills and be supervised in developing your ideas in order to create a strong base for the Dissertation or practical project.
You will gain experience of the disciplines of shooting as well editing your footage.
You will choose either a Dissertation or Practical Research Project:
Dissertation - Media and Performance
You will complete a major piece of independent written work which results from extensive research supervised by a dissertation supervisor. You will undertake your own research and while this will draw on other sources it is expected that the study will display a central thesis of your own construction.
Practical Research Project
You will develop your own topic or area of practice and method of investigation. It may represent a vocational or career-focused endeavour or act as a springboard for postgraduate study. Project outcomes could include: a devised performance; an original script – comic or dramatic - a physical theatre piece, a live art installation, multi-media performance or a directing project.
You will choose two of the following options:
Scriptwriting for TV and Film
Through a professionally geared script development programme, you will create first a premise, then treatment, step outline and first draft for a complete screenplay of at least fifty minutes. In seminars you will discuss ideas for story, character and theme within the group. Treatments, step outlines and the first draft are developed in one-to-one tutorials.
Creative Techniques for Video Drama Production
You will examine specific approaches and processes in direction and production for professional broadcast media. This includes pre-production planning, directing actors, and effective decision-making to ensure fluidity and continuity in editing. You will then develop your knowledge and skills as director, lighting camera-operator/director of cinematography, sound recordist or editor.
Gender, Sexuality and Performance
The module examines the importance of gender in the development of contemporary drama and performance. Gender as a social construction is investigated through a series of key movements that reflects a cultural shift in attitudes to heterosexuality and increased awareness of alternative gendered choices in Western culture.
New Trends in Theatre and Performance
The module explores the spectrum of new trends in performance. Practices may include Live Art, multimedia/digital performance; immersive theatre; headphone performance; pervasive gaming; one-to-one performance; You will examine the work of current practitioners and will focus on how relations of space and place and audience and performer are being reconfigured and redefined in the 21st century. You will then choose an area of practice to explore through the creation of a solo or collaborative performance piece.
This module comprises sessions on production technique, including researching for television, producing and directing actors/presenters, producing and directing camera crew (studio and location), managing contributors, televisual grammar, programme structure, copyright issues, health and safety considerations, leading to the team production of weekly programmes, either in studio or on location, researching programmes and briefing studio guests.
You will work on a range of exercises and texts, which are aimed at both extending your range of characterisation for radio and developing detail and complexity in vocal performance delivery. Technical workshops examine studio operation including recording levels, mixing, spot and pre-recorded effects, and you work in teams to record and produce radio drama pieces.
Renaissance Theatre Acting
You will work with a range of texts, including Elizabethan, Jacobean, and Restoration works. In practical workshops you are encouraged to experiment with rhythm and language, and to apply characterisation and physicalisation techniques within the context of both naturalistic and non-naturalistic performance styles.
Through class interaction, individual research and tutor supervision, you are encouraged to develop your own comic voice and persona and to devise and write original ideas toward solo live performance. A visiting professional comedian will be invited in to give feedback on the work before it is performed and/or recorded.
You will analyse, research, rehearse and perform a number of television drama scripts – and work in depth on a specific character from one of them. Rehearsals of the extracts are videotaped and critically reviewed in seminar sessions. Particular attention is paid to the layering of subtext, psychological details and technical skills.
You will explore the key elements that characterise comedy performance and the specific cultural and political contexts that influence scripting and “persona”. Intensive practical workshops, to develop comedy characters (personas) and short routines culminate in recorded in-house performances. Each workshop contains elements of scripting work and improvisation, including performance skills to develop vocal diction, range, expression and tone.
Documentary to Mockumentary
This module aims to investigate the historical, social and industrial changes in Documentary production. The module is concerned with the development of competing theories around documentary. It will address conflicting definitions of documentary and mockumentary within a global marketplace and will compare and contrast the range of production strategies adopted within mainstream TV and cinematic documentary modes. It will build on the existing production skills from your second year, providing students with the opportunity to produce and direct a short documentary or mockumentary film.
This module begins with series of classes exploring the role of the director in relation to a range of contemporary and historical scripts. Under close tutor guidance, you will then consider and apply appropriate theatrical methodologies in order to develop your own directorial approach. All students will be given the opportunity to lead small group work in terms of exploring and experimenting with a range of directorial approaches to both script and to performers.
Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.
What will I be doing?
You will learn through various teaching methods. Practical classes will furnish you with a range of approaches and techniques for performance creation and will help you develop your performance skills and, where appropriate, production skills. Lectures and seminars will apply critical theory to live and mediated performance forms and methodologies. You will undertake project-based work including major performance projects and you will attend workshops with visiting professional practitioners.
You will be assessed using a combination of methods. These include:
School of Arts and Media
The School of Arts and Media is the largest School at the University of Salford with more than 4,000 creative students. Across sites at MediaCityUK and the University's Peel Park campus, we offer a huge variety of courses, from fashion image making and styling, television and radio, creative writing and music to journalism, animation, design and performance.
This broad range of disciplines offers enhanced opportunities for specialist and interdisciplinary study, including collaborative work across subject areas.
You will study in our £55 million New Adelphi building, the home of creativity on campus. This means You will have access to broadcast standard TV acting and presenting studios (including green-screen), a radio drama studio, postproduction video and audio facilities, state of the art location cameras (including 4K) and excellent live performance spaces including purpose-built flexible theatres.
What about after uni?
Media and performance graduates have forged successful careers as, among other professions, actors in film and TV (Jim Sturgess, Joanna Higson), theatre and radio, as stand-up comedians (Peter Kay, Jason Manford), writers, researchers, production managers, producers and directors.
Many of our graduates have progressed to employment in an impressive range of arts, entertainment and media organisations. These include the BBC, ITV, The National Theatre, The Lowry in Salford; The Green Room Theatre in Manchester and several Theatre in Education (TIE) companies.
The University of Salford has a reputation for providing the industry with highly skilled and dynamic graduates, whose names can regularly be seen on television and theatre credits, both as performers and 'behind the scenes' creatives. Many graduates also go into careers in teaching, community work or as workshop leaders or on to further postgraduate education.
In addition to developing your performance skills and techniques and giving you opportunities and contacts for professional development and employment, this degree will also give you many transferable skills which are highly sought by employers. These include collaboration and team-working; communication and negotiation skills, time management and organisation; and presentation skills. These will equip you to work in many different professional fields, as well as in the arts.
You will be taught by practitioners who have worked with, and have active links with, leading film and TV companies including BBC TV and Radio Drama, ITV, Channel 4 and Red Productions.
Our staff have also worked with traditional and experimental theatre companies of many kinds including the Royal Exchange, the Young Vic, the UK's leading contemporary performance companies Blast Theory, Imitating the Dog, Plane Performance and Reckless Sleepers.
What you need to know
A strong personal statement articulates a candidate’s interest and experience in the area of acting/drama/performance. It shows she or he can articulate his or her previous academic and/or performance practice experience. It also allows the candidate to demonstrate an appropriate level of independence and maturity necessary to engage with learning in a higher education environment.
In a strong audition, candidates exhibit an ability to adapt and respond to stimulus and potentially new or unfamiliar approaches in relation to acting/drama/performance. The candidate will show an ability to use voice and physicality effectively. A strong audition also highlights a candidate’s ability to work sensitively and co-operatively with others and to sustain energy, concentration and focus throughout all stages of the audition process.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS
International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0, with no element below 5.5, is proof of this.
Please note: The entry criteria below are related to entry onto this course in the 2020/2021 academic year. If you’re interested in a future intake year, please check the course entry on UCAS.
English Language at grade C/level 4 or above (or equivalent). Maths at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent) is preferred but not essential.
You must fulfil our GCSE entry requirements as well as one of the requirements listed below.
112 points including Performing Arts or similar subject
UCAS tariff points
112 points including Performing Arts or similar subject
BTEC National Diploma
DMM including Performing Arts or similar subject
Access to HE
112 UCAS Tariff Points from a Level 3 QAA approved Access programme. Must include Media/Performance.
112 points including Performing Arts or similar subject
Irish Leaving Certificate
112 points including Performing Arts or similar subject
31 points, 5 or 6 (Higher level) in a relevant subject
Pass Diploma with 72% overall
Salford Alternative Entry Scheme (SAES)
We welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully. Once we have received your application we will assess it and recommend it for SAES if you are an eligible candidate.
There are two different routes through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. Assessment will either be through a review of prior learning or through a formal test.
|Type of study||Year||Fees|
|Full-time home/EU||2020/21||£9,250per year|
|Full-time international||2020/21||£15,240per year|
You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.
Scholarships for international students 2020/21
If you are a high-achieving international student, you may be eligible for one of our international scholarships worth up to £5,000. Our international scholarships include the Salford International Excellence Scholarship.
For more information go to International Scholarships.
All set? Let's apply
Course ID W400