Graduate employability is a strong focus within the Performing Arts provision and the appointment of a Director of Employability and Director of Enterprise brings leadership, consistency and direction to the existing initiatives across the Department. All of our Programmes are underpinned by the University’s Employability and Enterprise Strategies as the constant themes of entrepreneurship and opportunity recognition are at the centre of our practice.
The degree programmes in the Department have individual employability strategies for preparing students in flexible ways for future employment, equipping them with a competitive, relevant set of subject-specific knowledge understanding and practical skills, alongside a comprehensive set of graduate intellectual and transferable skills. Emphasis is given to providing a wide range of skills development and practice in supporting students to appreciate the value of entrepreneurial engagement.
Modules developing technical skills are offered, while others address employability via the programming of speakers and workshops from visiting industry specialists and practitioners. The University Careers Service deliver talks on applying skills analysis, on creating personal on-line presence, on interviews, on creating CVs, and on alternative career destinations for performing arts students.
Central to our work is the support of the Employer Advisory Panel (EAP) with a regional and UK membership of more than forty companies. Students are encouraged to channel their ideas for enterprise, and develop sustainable business plans with the support of academic staff and panel members to develop relevant external projects with real world contexts.
The Department has been particularly instrumental in facilitating extra-curricular activities that support the development of students’ ‘graduateness’, and their professional preparedness. The undergraduate male dance company Edge FWD was shortlisted for a Times Higher Award for Innovation and Excellence in the Arts after a sell-out season at the Edinburgh Festival. In addition Third Edge Dance Company was created to provide opportunities for student participation in large scale community events which is a powerful advocate for dance in the region. More recently two drama initiatives have been launched including a commedia company, The Fabulous Lancashire Revels, One Hour Theatre Company. In addition to this Musical Theatre have introduced their undergraduate company, Double Edge, and Performing Arts have developed a circus and outdoor arts network, Over the Edge.
A number of student-led undergraduate and postgraduate theatre companies have regularly emerged from the department including Naughty Corner Productions, who have just returned from another sell out production at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2017.