Robert Marsden, Course Leader
Robert balances his work at Staffordshire University with that of being a freelance theatre director.
In this course “learning through doing” underlies the way we teach. Also, the work you undertake will normally reflect the collaborative nature of Acting.
Workshops develop vocal and communication skills, and include exercises in improvisation, relaxation and confidence-building, as well as tuition in particular performance techniques for stage and screen, direction and production roles [for example, sound design] as well as Health and Safety procedures and practices.
Staff and student-led rehearsals are used to develop work for presentations and public performances, and for exploring a text in more detail for presentation to others in a class. The nature of the performances and presentations will vary according to your level of study and the learning outcomes of the module, but are designed to develop you to the point where you are capable of independently staging and performing in complex, full-length theatre production and major film projects by the end of your studies.
In addition to workshop and performances you will also have lectures which cover both areas of theatre and film acting history, key theories and practitioners, set texts and films and provide historical context, and are also used to introduce and explain technical disciplines of staging practical work. Within lectures a range of strategies or technologies may be used: for example, screenings of extracts from plays and films, audio-visual material from primary or secondary sources.
You also have the opportunity to explore these topics further through a variety of different seminars which are either led by tutors or students. You are encouraged to engage in group and individual learning across both practical and academic work
Your teaching is enhanced by a range of group theatre visits, which take part throughout the year enabling you to understand more about live performance. You also have the opportunity to undertake a placement module where you can work either in a production or outreach role at one of the two professional theatres in Stoke-on-Trent, or in an educational environment [for example, at a specialist performing arts college].
When not attending lectures, seminars, laboratory or other timetabled sessions, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve utilising a range of digital resources including our virtual learning environment; reading journals, articles and books; working on individual and group projects; undertaking research in the library; preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for examinations. Your independent learning will be supported by a range of excellent facilities. These include the library, open access computer facilities, informal learning zones, a range of laboratories and performance and studio spaces.
Your study time will consist of class contact hours, self-directed learning, assessment and placements where appropriate. Your actual contact hours will depend on the subject area, on the option modules you select and professional body requirements. A typical composition of study time for this course is:
Year 1: you'll spend 31% of time in lectures, seminars or similar, and 69% of time in independent study.
Year 2: you'll spend 25% of time in lectures, seminars or similar, and 75% of time in independent study.
Year 3: you'll spend 27% of time in lectures, seminars or similar, and 73% of time in independent study.
Progression routes to masters