Specialised Performance Skills

The details
East 15 Acting School
Southend Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 4
Thursday 03 October 2019
Friday 26 June 2020
04 July 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA W412 Acting and Stage Combat

Module description

These units look at increasing your range of skills, while instilling the principles that will be taught in EA154 Performance Skills 1. By concentrating on more specific disciplines, you will gain skills that will be called upon in performance, extend your range as a performer, and introduce alternative styles of approaching character or a rehearsal situation. These units provide the building blocks for further specialist skills and performances that you will encounter as you progress through the first year.

Terms One and Two – Singing
At East 15 singing is a crucial part of the actor training programme. By the end of this unit the successful student will be able to progress with an adequate knowledge of vocal technique, an ability to begin the control of nerves in performance, and a sense of the combinatory nature of singing, music, movement, voice and acting, as exemplified in the song presentations in which he/she will have participated. The student will also have begun to understand the individual characteristics of his/her own voice, and the appropriate care needed to maintain it.

Term Two - Commedia Dell'Arte
This unit is designed to enhance a variety of the students' skills, including physical, imagination, and
improvisation. The style reflects a boisterous type of theatre during the Italian Renaissance, in which the actors improvised the dialogue as they went along. The commedia script consisted only of a scenario and stock characters - and the main interest lay in the comic characters. The unit will help you progress in both movement skills and character development. While the style differs from other forms of acting that are taught at Year One, there is still the underlying principle that you must truthfully commit to the requirements of their character and imaginary situation.

Module aims

- Understand the fundamentals of good voice production (posture, breath, onset of tone)
- Begin to acquire a sense of rhythm and aural awareness
- Understand basic score-reading skills
- Understand ensemble singing disciplines
- Begin to appreciate the role of music as an entity in theatrical performance
- Understand the connection to be made between singing, music, movement, voice and acting in approaching song performance

Commedia Dell'Arte
- To extend the students’ physical expression and introduce them to an alternative style of theatre
- To develop improvisation skills and increase their imaginative flexibility
- To develop confidence and freedom as a performer
- To consolidate appreciation of the strength of the ensemble
- To widen the range of physical skills

Module learning outcomes

1. The student will be able to demonstrate:
- understanding of the fundamentals of intercostals diaphragmatic breathing, posture and relaxation
- an ability to identify a constricted sound and/or poor use of breath
- an awareness of the various resonators and differentiate between them
- a recognition of the function of the jaw, lips and tongue in singing, and their correct use
- understanding of the function of balance in relaxation and energy in singing
- development in abdominal support and anchoring
- understanding of resonance and placement
- awareness of group singing dynamic
2. The student will be able to demonstrate a basic sense of the “geography” of a song in printed form, recognising repeat sections, codas, segnos, length of notes and Italian instructions.
3. The student will be able to demonstrate an awareness of and an ability to maintain ensemble singing disciplines – pitch, rhythm, dynamics, harmony, group-awareness.

Commedia Dell'Arte
- Confidently use the body to the full in a free, safe and flexible manner
- Communicate physically and vocally in performance with confidence and assurance
- Deliver a committed contribution to the group process
- Apply research and skills to performance work
- Connect to an audience while sustaining character

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

Practical classes, presentations, tutorials, research, rehearsals, screenings.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Practical   Singing    50% 
Practical   Commedia    30% 
Practical   Devised Performance Project    20% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Mr Gordon Kemp, email: gkemp@essex.ac.uk.
Gordon Kemp, specialist tutors
East 15 Acting School Gateway Building Elmer Approach Southend-on-Sea SS1 1LW



External examiner

Mr Philip D'Orleans
British Academy of Stage and Screen Combat
Physical Skills Instructor
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.


Further information
East 15 Acting School

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