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Five tips to get the most out of your Screen Performance degree

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Published: 28 May 2020

For any student joining us on the Screen Performance degree, you will need to find a good balance between performance, production and theoretical knowledge and experience to prepare yourself for a future in this industry.  Here at the University of Sunderland, you’ll be at the centre of a city teeming with culture, working alongside a dedicated and highly skilled team of staff in the ideal surroundings to hone your craft. Senior Lecturer Dr. Adelle Hulsmeier gives her five tips to getting the most out of your Screen Performance degree.

Four students are sitting on bleacher seating next to a stage. They are talking amongst themselves

Take advantage of practical opportunities

At the heart of any performance degree is performing, and getting to grips and mastering your craft is essential to ensuring your future. At Sunderland, we place an emphasis on practical work throughout. “The BA (Hons) Screen Peformance course gives students a vocational experience of the industry,” says Adelle, “We work with a range of performance briefs that allow students to explore the potential of acting for screen, not just limited to traditional TV and film work, but also multi-platform performances such as presenting, virtual reality and green screen. It's important to have experience of the multi-disciplinarity that this subject affords’’.

Tailor your course to suit your own interests and career goals

BA (Hons) Screen Performance covers a wide range of different areas; both practical and production. Even if you love the subject, there’s a good chance that you’ll have your own passions and interests that are unique to you. Sunderland allows you to personalise your course, giving you an array of different options, whether you see yourself in front of the camera or behind it. 

As Adelle explains: "There is a good mix of modules that are purposefully designed to fulfil your interests in work that takes place infront of and/or behind the camera. It remains important to explore all opportunities that this industry affords, hence why we offer eclectic modules that allow you to create a ‘pick ‘n’ mix’ course or a more bespoke route. Our vision is to offer our students a robust experience of all avenues into screen performance; production, scriptwriting, editing, camera-work, performance, actor-training, directing and producing". 

Get real-life experience to boost your chances of success

To make it in the industry, you have to have 'the full package' and numerous strings to your bow. This includes having that all important real-life experience as a graduate. At Sunderland, you’ll be given every opportunity to gain that experience and push yourself to the next level as a performer.

“Getting experience is extremely valuable to students, especially those trying to break into the industry,” explains Adelle. “We work with real clients. For example, on our TV Drama projects module we work with Northumbria Police on a live client brief and students are asked to produce films for awareness and training purposes that are used within the policing industry.

A large group of people are sitting in the cinema in the Media Centre, clapping.

Be a part of a cultural centre

For any performance student, it is crucial to have a city on your doorstep which offers you plenty of opportunities. Here in Sunderland, the Arts and Cultures scene is growing at an exponential rate, giving you every chance to get out and showcase your skills to the wider public. Adelle continues: "We’ve already got the Empire Theatre and the National Glass Centre as cultural hubs, but the city is also opening up the Old Fire Station in town as a cultural venue and theatre, with Dance City and Live Theatre having residency here. There is a lot to be excited about!”

Finally, make sure the university is right for you

Ensuring that the university is right for your development is vital. Adelle’s final piece of advice is clear – make sure that the university is a good fit for you. “The best advice I can give would be to come and see us in advance of starting your course here. It’s as much about you auditioning us as it is about us auditioning you."

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