Be a Changemaker: Study Acting and Performance at Sheffield Hallam University

Theatre and performance are a vital part of expressing identities, building communities and overcoming the many social, cultural and environmental uncertainties that we face. The past year has been hugely challenging, not just in Higher Education but in our communities in Sheffield and in the creative industries where many of our graduates will forge careers. As we emerge from lockdown, the performing arts are going to be a vital part of our recovery, making the training that our BA (Hons) Acting & Performance students receive all the more important.

Sheffield Hallam University is one of the UK’s largest and most diverse universities, with a community of more than 30,000 students. Our mission is simple: we transform lives. This doesn’t just mean the lives of our Acting & Performance students, who develop the skills, knowledge, and character attributes to be able to work successfully in a range of careers - from acting to filmmaking, and journalism to education - it also refers to the lives of the many individuals, communities, and organisations with whom our students work.

Whether producing radical stage shows that alter public perspectives on climate change, or devising lively one-to-one encounters that put smiles on the faces of young people in hospitals, the one thing that unites our work is that we aim to make a real difference. Our students have created image theatre performances that highlight the plight of refugees, and reimagined classic texts in powerful and politically relevant ways, and they’ve not done this on their own.

Our talented undergraduates have worked on performances and live brief projects with leading theatre-makers, artists, and partner organisations in the UK and internationally. Some of our local collaborators include Sheffield Theatres, John Godber, Forced Entertainment, Chris Bush, Welcome to Yorkshire, Stand and Be Counted Theatre Company, Utopia Theatre, Theatre Delicatessen & Doppelgangster. In recent years, the students have performed at high-profile festivals and events in Berlin, Paris, and even at the Venice Biennale! Amazingly, this year, despite lockdown restrictions, our students have created original performances for major festivals in Sheffield and Australia, and they’ve just finished working on an exciting project that’s going to be performed in Argentina. Learn about some of the exciting projects our students have been involved in.

This practical industry-focused degree is delivered by our team of six highly experienced academics and leading professional theatre practitioners. Working alongside a wider team of top-level professionals, we provide students with experience in stage, screen, and audio/new media; while also helping them to establish and develop their digital professional portfolio before completing their training by contributing to our public showcase: ChangeMakers Festival.

We’re located at the Performance Lab in the city centre, a short walk from Sheffield train station, and just across the road from Sheffield Theatres, the largest theatre complex outside of London! It’s a great place to learn, create, and perform (although we’ve had fewer opportunities to do that in person than we would have hoped this year). Under normal circumstances, the Performance Lab is a hive of activity, with students, staff and professional theatre-makers meeting, making, and learning together in our purpose-built studios. Sometimes it gets a bit messy, as students rifle through the costume store, or paint sets and build props in the Green Room. We’ve missed these lively signs of life, and so we’re excited to announce that we’ll be coming together again this June to make a new outdoor performance with Babbling Vagabonds. Awakenings is an exciting new show that celebrates the joy of being creative and the thrill of working together. It’s being devised with students from a whole range of degree programmes, including Photography, Fine Art, Creative Writing, Events Management, and our very own Acting & Performance students. Watch this space!

We’re recruiting now for September and we’re looking for all kinds of people to bring their experience with them and to develop new skills as they work collaboratively to make exciting acting & performance projects as part of their studies on the degree. You may be a recent school leaver with a formal education in the performing arts, or you may have relevant life and work experience. The most important thing is that you are keen to get stuck in, to contribute to our fantastic learning community, and be a changemaker.

At Sheffield Hallam University, each student has a support triangle that includes an Academic Advisor, a Student Support Advisor, and an Employability Advisor. This support is designed to catch you when you fall, guide you through your studies, and lead you towards future employment. We’ll provide you with the support that you need, when you need it, and ensure that you have the best chance of succeeding.

Applications are open. If you want to find out more about the degree or would like to speak with someone on the team, get in touch!

Dr Tom Payne

Course Leader BA (hons) Acting & Performance

Click here to learn more about our degree and to apply.

Dr Tom Payne is Senior Lecturer in Performance and Course Leader for the BA (hons) Acting and Performance at Sheffield Hallam University

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