2014 brings a new direction to the Centre for Theatre and Performance. There have been changes in Faculty structure, degree structure, even unit structure. This document attempts to clarify some key questions for current students, potential students, graduates and for those who care about CTP.
1) What’s going on with the BPA? In 2014 there will be no Bachelor of Performing Arts intake. The Faculty has pulled back on speciality degrees and has instructed CTP to withdraw the BPA and its manifestations (BPA/Mus; BPA/LLB) after 2015. There is of course a sentimental attachment to this degree and we are sad to see it go. It is important to note however that something very similar to the old BPA will still exist for students wishing to take a Theatre Major coupled with a Performance Minor (see below). However students will no longer be able to take a Performance Major and, as such, the BPA in its old form is no longer on offer.
2) What does this mean for students currently enrolled in the BPA? The Arts Faculty has assured CTP that all students currently enrolled in the BPA will be allowed to complete all relevant units and attain the degree for which they auditioned and into which they were accepted. For students going into BPA 2nd and 3rd year in 2014, all units –including production units- will be on offer. For students going into BPA 3rd year in 2015, all units –including production units- will be on offer. There will be no change for students currently enrolled in the BPA. CTP and the Faculty are committed to ensuring all students currently enrolled are able to complete their Bachelor of Performing Arts. That means that even if you have to intermit or go part time, you will still have sufficient units on offer to enable you to graduate with a BPA. There are no time restrictions on this, other than the usual University guidelines for completion of a Bachelors Degree.
3) What does this mean for students coming into CTP? Students coming into CTP at First Year level in 2014 will only have one unit to choose from per semester. This is in line with the Arts BA Review which proposed that each Major offer one single Gateway unit per semester. Voice and Movement units will no longer be available at First Year. Similarly (because the Performance Major no longer exists) there will be no Performance / Production Investigation units at First Year. It is important for all incoming students to be aware that taking First Year Theatre units ATS1287 and ATS1288 Performance in Context I and II, is essential for students wishing to pursue a Theatre Major, Theatre Minor or Performance Minor.
4) Will the First Year experience change? The BPA has always been the exception amongst performance degrees in staging a First Year production after providing students with only a relatively short period of training. In the new structure, basic premises of performance will be explored in Performance in Context units and these units will have a stronger focus of exploring ideas through performance: the more rigorous performance work, however, will only begin from second year for students taking the Performance Minor. Meanwhile the new Faculty structure means that all 1st year students will have the opportunity to undertake more eclectic study in the full range of BA units. The broader educational opportunities this provides for first year can only add to the foundational knowledge of undergraduates – making them more informed theatre and performance students when they get to specialise in CTP elective units in 2nd and 3rd year.
5) What is this Performance Minor anyway? From 2015 students entering 2nd year (i.e. students entering 1st year in 2014) will have the option of pursuing a Performance Minor. This will be a non-audition Minor (however Performance in Context I and II in 1st year are pre-requisites). The Performance Minor allows students to take specific units in performance techniques; devising techniques; technical skills; directing workshops; staging techniques and dramaturgy. Students will be given opportunities and responsibilities for creating their own performance outputs in various units but there will be no specific production-only units in the Performance Minor. Students complete a minimum of 4 units to gain the Minor. Usually this will complement their Theatre Major. This is recommended for students wishing to teach performance, become practitioners, prepare for further study or improve their basic performance / presentation skills.
6) And the Theatre Major? The CTP Theatre Major remains largely unchanged in 2014 and beyond, except that certain units will offer more performance options and assessments. Units in script development, Musical Theatre, theatre theories and histories, play text study and Theatre Internship Units will all still be available.
7) The change of School? CTP has traditionally been part of the School of English, Communications and Performance Studies (ECPS). As of 2014 this School no longer exists and the Centre for Theatre and Performance has become an independent Centre within the Faculty of Arts. CTP however will share many services and administrative staff with our colleagues within the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music.
We know there are a lot of changes and we realise that with change comes uncertainty. Our discipline however teaches us that great things can come from change. Even though many of these adjustments are beyond our control, CTP staff feel confident that these changes can help strengthen the degree we offer. If you have specific questions or uncertainties about how this affects your degree, then come and speak with us.