The department is housed in the Kingsway Buildings a few minutes away from the main Chester site. We have four large multi-purpose performance spaces, music rehearsal rooms, computer suites and seminar/lecture facilities. Performing Arts has a team of committed staff - teachers who believe in creating the best possible atmosphere of support and encouragement for all their students. In the last Research Assessment Exercise, this department was declared to be of international standing, so you belong to a department where cutting edge scholarship in the disciplines will inform all your learning.

Recent Submissions

  • Moby Dick Production Video Trailer

    Piasecka, Shelley; Piasecki, Simon; University of Chester; Liverpool Hope University (n/a, 2017-06)
    Moby Dick Stage Adaptation Written by Herman Melville Produced by Shelley Piasecka and Simon Piasecki At the end of the 19th century a New York customs inspector and writer died in relative obscurity. His name was Herman Melville and he would later come to be regarded as a literary giant, equal in stature to Mark Twain, John Steinbeck and Jack London. Melville published numerous books in his lifetime but is best known for Moby Dick, a story of a young schoolmaster aboard the ill-fated voyage of the Pequod, a Nantucket whaling ship. Melville had experienced whaling himself and also spent some time in Liverpool, whilst travelling the oceans. Here, Melville’s classic is brought to life in a fast moving and thrilling stage adaptation. It is a timeless story that pits man against the forces of nature itself. How far will a man go to satisfy a vengeful obsession?
  • Returning Pretext

    Owens, Allan; Yamani, H.; University of Bethlehem (2017-01-26)
    In the ‘Right to Return Pre-text’ we travel back in time to the year 1967 when Israel opened the border for the first time in 20 years to Palestinians who fled in 1948. Husband and wife Said and Sofia are arguing in their living room in Ramallah, Palestine about whether or not they should take this chance to visit the house for which they still have the key, but which Israelis would now surely be living in. Finally on a sweltering hot June day they set out in their old grey Fiat to make the journey to Haifa to face the un-faceable. Based on Ghassan Kanafani’s (1936-1972) novella ‘Returning to Haifa’ this pre-text explores the consequences of political and military occupation from a deeply human perspective. A series of questions are posed through three scenes that take participants from the known in to profoundly de-stabilising unknown territories.
  • My Old Home Pretext: Interactive Performance

    Owens, Allan,; Green, Naomi; Ohashi, Yosuke; Katayanagi Instiute & Taichi Kikaku Theatre Company Tokyo (Interactive Performance, 2016-04-28)
    The concept of return is at the heart of ‘My Old Home Pre-text’, but in a very different political context, that of China in the 1920’s. A man whose name we never know, braves the freezing cold to make the journey by boat from Peking (now Beijing) with a clear purpose in mind, to sell the old home he last saw twenty years ago and to bring his mother and niece back to the big city with him. He travels resolutely, but is unprepared for the wave of emotions that wash over him as he meets his old friend and questions the lives they are living. Lu Xun (1881-1936) wrote the story on which this pretext was based in 1921 when 2000 years of imperial rule had just ended. Revolts and uprisings had taken place, modernization had begun, but society had not changed and he criticizes this. Through a series of detailed frames participants engage with the mans’ search for hope.
  • It’s All in Proportion: Tracing the Evolution of the Time-Aggregate in Roberto Gerhard’s Music

    Sproston, Darren; University of Chester (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016-12-01)
    This chapter investigates a very specific innovation in Roberto Gerhard’s compositional practice and traces its possible origins. The technique in question is the “time-aggregate” or use of proportions, directly derived from the tone row, as a structural device. This inquiry begins Roberto Gerhard’s article “Functions of the Series in Twelve-Note Composition” and then works in reverse chronological order through his writings and compositions and through the musings of other scholars finally dwelling on three works which are believed to be Gerhard’s earliest experiments in the use of the method: the Three Impromptus (1950), Capriccio for Solo Flute (1949), and the Sonata for Viola (Cello) and Piano (1948/1956).
  • Metamorphosing: The Construction and Deconstruction
 of Roberto Gerhard’s Symphony No. 2

    Sproston, Darren; University of Chester (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016-12-01)
    There are three structural methods, which can be summarised from Gerhard’s paper “Developments in twelve-tone technique”, that employ the series (or its derivative time-set): to fix the length of the rhythmic articulation of individual pitches; to control the ordering of the twelve transpositions of a series so each is presented once before a transposition is repeated; finally, to determine the duration of these transpositions. The series, therefore, has the ability to govern microcosmic and macrocosmic parameters of a composition. All three of these can be found in Roberto Gerhard’s Second Symphony (1957-59). On revising the Symphony in 1967-68 to create Metamorphoses he reworks the material of the original ‘the changes - from slight to complete - take place on all levels: in the writing, in the orchestration, in the ordering, in the disordering (...)’ In the process of recomposing Gerhard, at times, seems to deliberately disregard the methodology he imposed on himself in the earlier version. The aim of this chapter is to investigate how much he ignores this on revising the Symphony; how the changes he made impact on the coherence of the newer version; finally to make some suggestions as to why he felt the structures could be broken.
  • ‘Proxemic Interaction in Popular Music Recordings’

    Dockwray, Ruth; University of Chester (Routledge, 2017-01-01)
    This paper discusses sonic spatialization and the notion of proxemics in recorded tracks. Spatialization or rather the spatial characteristics and positioning of sounds within a track, can directly influence the way a listener can formulate their own interpretation. Through the analysis of proxemic zones within the context of the ‘sound-box’, their impact in terms of interpersonal distance and listener engagement will be discussed along with potential meanings.
  • Experimental Sound Mixing for “The Well”, a Short Film Made for Tablets

    Dockwray, Ruth; Collins, Karen; University of Chester; University of Waterloo (MIT Press, 2017-06-16)
    This article presents an overview of the use of binaural recording and experimental headphone mixing for a short film. Drawing loosely on theories of proxemics, the article illustrates how sound mixing can be used to create a unique subjective perspective. In particular, the authors sought to experiment with and to use the peculiarities of stereo headphone mixing and binaural sound to reinforce visual elements of a film designed for horizontal viewing on tablets.
  • Sevenfold Fugue for Solo Organ

    Sproston, Darren; University of Chester (Darren Sproston, 2015-03-01)
    Commissioned by the University of Chester for its 175th Founders’ Day Service. First performed at Chester Cathedral, March 2015 by Graham Eccles.
  • Chorale Prelude: Lord for the Years for Solo Organ

    Sproston, Darren; University of Chester (Darren Sproston, 2015-03-01)
    Commissioned by the University of Chester for its 175th Founders’ Day Service. First performed at Chester Cathedral, March 2015 by Graham Eccles.
  • Culture, Politics and Drama Education: The Creative Agenda 1997-2015

    Piasecka, Shelley; University of Chester (National Drama Publications, 2016-05-07)
    In the years following New Labour’s election victory (1997) the creative agenda was a visible concern for schools and teachers. A number of influential documents and policy documents were launched to promote creativity in schools. New funding opportunities had been made available to support teachers and classroom learning, most notably the Arts Council initiative Creative Partnerships (2002). Buckingham and Jones (2001) describe the period as the “Cultural Turn” towards the creative and cultural industries. Paradoxically, the creative agenda emerged at a time when teachers experienced unprecedented levels of control over, and public scrutiny of, their everyday working lives; it was a period of time dominated by a ‘bureaucratisation” of education. For Stronach et al. (2002) it was a rise of a performativity discourse in response to the audit culture. Post 2010, the introduction of school performance measures, such as the compulsory English Baccalaureate (2015), offers another kind of performativity discourse, but from a perspective other than creativity. The long-term outlook for creative subjects appears bleak, particularly for dance and drama. This article examines the period 1997-2015 with reference to Neelands and Choe’s (2010) assertion that creativity is a cultural and political idea.
  • Site, Sight, Cite: (Re)Making Locational Identity through Walking and Performance

    Layton, James R.; Molony, Richard; University of Chester (2015-04-16)
    In August 2014, James Layton, Richard Molony and Julian Waite (University of Chester) conceived and presented a participatory performance titled (V)-Is-it Chester?, in which spectators were invited on a walking tour of Chester city centre, reimagining its history and present day reality. Currently, Layton and Molony are using the seeds of this performance to curate a community project that employs participatory performance and walking art practice as a means of engaging a range of Chester residents in the arts. The participants will be invited to make connections between their own identities and familiar locations, thus foregrounding autobiographical and non-rational associations (Smith, 2010). Through the (re)exploration of locational identities, Site, Sight, Cite aims to raise awareness of and engagement in the arts in Chester as the city's new arts centre moves towards completion in 2016. Site, Sight, Cite aims to work with participants in creating their own personal histories of the city. In doing so, the project draws upon notions of 'sited community' (Kwon 2004); performative walking (Smith, 2010; 2014; Heddon, 2012; Mock, 2009), mythogeography (Wrights & Sites, 2006; 2010), and relational aesthetics (Bourriaud, 2002). In this paper, the authors offer a prognosis for the future of the arts in Chester and how, through engaging the city's denizens in walking art practice, locational identity can be (re)examined and (re)evaluated.
  • Borders of knowledge: A reflection on a collaborative international drama project

    Layton, James R.; Loudon, Jane; University of Chester (2014-10-24)
    Iris Marion Young (1990) believes that the ideal of community “seeks to resist the individualism and alienation that is pervasive in late capitalist societies by bringing people together”. Illustrated by an ongoing collaborative drama project between the UK and Romania, this paper seeks to explore the way in which access to knowledge associated with a late capitalist UK and those of the emerging capitalism of Romania informs creative partnerships. Using a case study of 2014 field research in Romania involving UK Drama & Theatre Studies undergraduates, this paper offers a multi-voiced reflection on how we learn from other communities and build sustainable and balanced relationships in an ever-expanding European community.
  • Collaborative Practice: some thoughts

    Jamieson, Evelyn (The Higher Education Academcy: Palatine, Dance, Drama and Music, 2011)
    A snapshot paper concerning values, approaches and modes of practice in higher education performing arts. This paper is contained in the 2011 report, Collaborative Arts Practices in HE: Mapping and Developing Pedgagogical Models by Christophe Alix, Elizabeth Dobson, Robert Wilsmore.
  • Turning to Learning: Organising Reflection and Creating Space for Reflexive Practices via Arts Based Initiatives

    Passila, Anne; Owens, Allan; Sproedt, Henrik; University of Lapeenranta, University of Chester (2015-07-02)
    The purpose of this study is concerned with ‘inclusive growth’ (Europe2020) in the sense of having a clear agenda to develop new skills and jobs as well as new skills for new jobs. We draw on research into conceptualisations of new leadership and management such as Eraut, M. (2000) Non-formal learning and tacit knowledge in professional work. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 70, pp. 113–136; Raelin, J. (2004) Don't bother putting leadership into people. Academy of Management Perspectives August 1, vol. 18 no. 3 pp.131-135; Raelin, J. (2007) Academy of Management Perspectives December 1, 2007 vol. 6 no. 4 pp. 495-519. Our contribution is to discuss innovation potential through the idea of creating a broader participatory orientation where employees, managers, stakeholders, customers/end users and scholar’s needs, expertise and views can be utilized to develop new practices and ways of organizing reflection (Vince 2002; Pässilä & Vince, forthcoming; Vince & Reynolds 2009) and creating space for reflexive practices (Antonacopoulou 2004; Cotter 2014; Pässilä et. al 2013).
  • Critical Reflection and the arts as third spaces

    Lehikoinen, Kai; Passila, Anne; Owens, Allan; University of Arts Helsinki, Lapeenranta University of Technology, university of Chester (2015-04-08)
    The paper discusses critical reflection in the context of the arts as Third Space (TS). It scrutinises TS as an artistically co-created conceptual, physical and egalitarian site for transdisciplinary dialogue and informal learning and also a means to advance the democracy of learning – especially critical reflection. The focus is on theatre-pedagogic ways to set up participatory performative learning arrangements as TS. The analysis addresses examples drawn from an arts-based learning practice called Learning Jam (LJ) that was organized in Copenhagen Business School in August 2014. In the transdisciplinary event, approximately forty artists, researchers, art-educators, managers and arts-based consultants used an artistic inquiry process to explore the topic of transformation. Organised as a jam in the sense of jazz music, the LJ encouraged the participants to improvise collectively in order to move beyond the known and co-create new knowledge through practice in collaboration between practitioners and academics
  • In the Thick of It, Proximities of Belonging in Performance Research

    Piasecka, Shelley; University of Chester (National Drama Publications, 2014-04)
    Themes of belonging: to a group, identity, culture and place have dominated education and performance research in recent years. For the social sciences, the educational significance of belonging tends to surface within ethnicity and race (see Demie, 2005; Hassan, 2009; Tomlinson, 1998), gender and sexuality (see Cole, 2006) and self-esteem and citizenship education (see Ma, 2003; Halliday, 1999; Piper and Garratt, 2004). In these contexts, questions of belonging are typically premised upon ideas of inclusion and exclusion, notions of Otherness and constructs of personal and social identity. For the purposes of this paper, though, I approach belonging from the perspective of the dramatic inquiry and storytelling. To introduce the theme, I refer to proximities of belonging, as exemplified by Conquergood (2004) and for dramatic practice, Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed. By way of illustration, I consider two projects undertaken as part my PhD: Heroes and Villains: a performance project with junior school children from a junior school in Stoke-on-Trent and Robin and the Pirate Letters: an early readers initiative for infant children in Cheshire East.
  • Echo of dreams

    Owens, Allan; Green, Naomi; University of Chester, NEC Katayanagi Institute (2015-04)
    The Echo of Dreams Pre-text allows for consideration of sudden changes in life, the unpredictable , unforeseen and unknowable to create a space for the exchange of such understandings and to allow for a celebration of the human spirit in the face of loss
  • Reaching from Behind: Sillamae

    Owens, Allan; University of Chester, Cumbria Local Education Authority (ETV National Estonian Television, 2014-11-18)
    ETV (Estonian Television National Channel) Interviewer and Arts Commentator Andrus Vaariku asks ‘Can Theatre Change the World?’ An Estonian National TV documentary focusing on three artists in three contexts: Contemporary Performance Practitioner Ene-Liis Semper, Applied Drama Practitioners Allan Owens & Katrin Nielsen ‘Hidden town: Silamae and Hendrik Toompere illusioonl Ugala Theatre Director UGALA.
  • Michael’s Story :Developing Understandings of Gypsy Traveller culture

    Owens, Allan; Pickford, Barbara; Pickford, Tony; University of Chester, University of Chester, University of Chester (Chester Academic Press., 2014)
    Practise based research in 8 schools over a three year period led to the creation of this CDROM and DVD Video. Process drama was used to develop knowledge and understanding of Gypsy Traveller Culture and Lifestyle.
  • Dissolving into Scotland: National Identity in Dunsinane and The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart.

    Pattie, David; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2016-03-03)
    Journal article

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