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Physical Theatre for Dancers and Actors (PGCert)

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Course overview

This course will enable you to enhance your expertise in physical theatre through working with professional performers (this year from the Jasmin Vardimon Company) within the university context.

Throughout the course, you will have the opportunity to participate in independent and group-based practical projects, and to experientially and critically explore the methodological, historical and theoretical parameters of physical theatre. You will have the opportunity to produce solo and small group performances with an emphasis on integrating dance and theatre practice.

This is a stand alone continuing professional development course. On successful completion, suitably qualified students may apply to undertake two further modules from the MA Contemporary Performance Practices to complete a Master’s degree.

Key facts

Key facts about the course
Qualification Postgraduate Certificate
Duration 1 year part-time (8 weekends and a full-time week in June)
Department and Faculty Drama and Theatre, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Partner institution(s) Jasmin Vardimon Company
Course director Dr Libby Worth
+44 (0)1784 414337
Contact for more information Drama@rhul.ac.uk

Fees / funding

Please visit the Fees and funding pages for the latest information about tuition fees and the different sources of funding which may be available to you.

How to apply

Applications for entry to all our full-time postgraduate degrees can be made online.

Further information on making an application, including the documentation that you will need to submit with the application is available in the How to apply section of this site.

If you are interested in applying to Royal Holloway, why not arrange a visit to our campus to see for yourself what academic and student life is like here. More information on arranging visits is available on our Open days pages.


Entry requirements

Entry criteria:

UK Upper Second Class Honours degree (2:1) or equivalent.

Professional qualifications and work experience in an associated area will be considered.

English language requirements:

IELTS 6.5 overall with 7.0 in writing and a minimum of 5.5 in all other subscores. For equivalencies see here|.


Students from overseas should visit the International pages for information on the entry requirements from their country and further information on English language requirements. Royal Holloway offers a Pre-Master’s Diploma for International Students and English language pre-sessional courses, allowing students the opportunity to develop their study skills and English language before starting their postgraduate degree.

Additional requirements:

  • Applicants may be invited to interview/audition; those unable to attend, such as overseas students, will be asked to send a DVD of practical work to demonstrate their practice.

Why choose this course?

  • The practical teaching for 2010 - 2011 will be undertaken by highly skilled and experienced members of the Jasmin Vardimon Company, renowned for groundbreaking work in physical theatre.
  • The teaching group is capped at 15 and we actively encourage a mixed group of actors and dancers to share their professional skills in the class context.
  • The 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) shows strong results for the Department with the majority of our research activities ranked as world-leading ( 4*) or internationally excellent ( 3*).
  • The Department fosters an excellent research environment and supports an active population of postgraduate and doctoral students. The topics taught reflect the research excellence of the course faculty and our distinctive commitment to fostering critically-informed practice.
  • The Department is well resourced with three distinctive and divergent performance spaces: the Studio, the Boilerhouse Theatre, and the Handa Noh Theatre.

Department research and industry highlights

  • The Department has strong links with a range of theatre companies, organisations and practitioners and regularly invites visiting speakers and practitioners to work with students.
  • There are a number of active research groups in the Department that organise a range of activities each year addressing specific subject areas and research questions.
  • Members of the academic staff are leading researchers in the field of theatre and performance practice.

Course content and structure

The course will consist of eight intensive weekend workshops and a full-time week in June and will cover the following:

  • the practice of physical theatre in relation to the techniques utilised by a chosen performance company
  • practical methods and skills of creating physical theatre work as a creator, a performer or a creative viewer
  • how to move into a new area of work, namely dance theatre, by introducing new techniques that combine vocal, kinaesthetic and visual skills and responses. 

On completion of the course graduates will have:

  • developed insight into the practice of a chosen physical theatre company
  • understood how a performer might use dance and voice skills to develop an independent creative response
  • participated in research into new ways of creating physical dance theatre work
  • evaluated and reflected on dance theatre performance and practice
  • worked with video, set or props to understand how visual language can bring another dimension to dance theatre work.

View the full course specification for Physical Theatre for Dancers and Actors (PGCert) in the Programme Specification Repository


Assessment is primarily through practice, including a short solo piece and a longer final group project (70%). Constructive critical reflection and analysis of each practical project will be examined through a short viva for the solo and a written portfolio and performance critique for the final project (3,000 – 3,500 words).

Employability & career opportunities

This taught postgraduate certificate is designed as a stand alone qualification to enhance professional level performance skills and is the equivalent of the two practical modules in the MA Contemporary Performance Practices. Suitably qualified candidates may apply to continue their studies by undertaking the two other modules on the MA.


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