Higher Certificate in Performing Arts
Basic Performance Skills
In Basic Performance, students learn how to and practice: Creativity & Improvisation, Storytelling, Voice & Speech and Movement/Physical Performance. At the start of the year, students can choose which stream they want to follow in their studies, Stream “A” being Acting and Stream “B” being music performance. During the course of the year, students work towards doing either an acting or music-based practical.* *Music performance is only offered on selected campuses.
Students begin their Performing Arts journey by learning basic Creativity & Improvisation theory. Once familiar with the techniques, students practice them. In Storytelling, acting students learn about, and practice, presentation and narrative in performance, while music students learn and practice instrumentation and music software and technologies. In Voice & Speech, acting students do Voice Production & Technique, while music performance students do Vocal Tuition, Ensemble Work & Technique. In Movement/Physical Performance, students practice Physicality, Characterisation and Technique in the acting stream while music students practice Choreography and Staging.
Later in the year, students do technique exercises in Creativity & Improvisation as well as revise theory. In Storytelling students advance the techniques and theories that they were introduced to previously, such as Oral Traditional Story-Telling in Acting and Sight Reading in Music. Themes covered in Voice & Speech include Vocal health, Breath Support & Vocal warm-up, as well as technique & exercise in stamina & support. In Movement/Physical Performance students advance the techniques and theories that they were introduced to earlier in the year and cover new themes, including building strength and stamina for performance, physical preparation, and warmup techniques.
Students also take part in practical performances/assessments whilst attending the theoretical and technical classes. In the practical sessions acting students cover basic principals of screen acting and theatre making while also taking part in workshops and masterclasses. Music students prepare a practical while also taking part in workshops and masterclasses. In Voice & Speech and Movement/Physical Performance students advance skills introduced to them in previous terms while also preparing for practicals.
Towards the end of the year, 10 out of the 12 sessions are dedicated to practicals. Students perform with, and in front of, their fellow students as well as their lecturers. The remaining two sessions are a Voice & Speech Session and a Movement/Physical Performance session.
Students who wish to further their studies after completing the Higher Certificate In Performing Arts can do so by joining the Bachelor of Arts in Live Performance offered on all AFDA campuses. The three year degree ensures that students are equipped to go into the world of acting and/or music with all the necessary abilities required to perform on a professional production.
Basic Assist Roles in Theatre
BART is a subject within the Performing Arts Higher Certificate course that shows students how to assist themselves, and others, in stage productions for acting and music. The content covered in this module includes Directing & Production, Role Development & Directing, Stage Props & Costume, Sound & Lighting and Live Performance Practical.
In Directing and Production, students learn the reasons and necessity for a hierarchy within a production and learn the best way to navigate it. In Role Development & Directing, students become familiar with: The directors role & performance direction; Building a performance from page to stage; Applying direction & notes and Script mark-up process. In Stage Props & Costume students become familiar with how to create a props and costume list from a prescribed text as well as sourcing & making. In Sound & Lighting students are introduced to lighting/sound function & roles as well as lighting/sound rigs & operation. Students also apply LFX (Lighting effects) & SFX (Sound Effects) practice. In Live Performance Practical, students bring into practice all the assessment elements of the course to prepare for a practical performance.
Students continue to further their understanding of each of these areas throughout the course of the year. For the second term Live Performance Practical, students once again bring into practice all the assessment elements of the course, as well as adding an experimental component to the practical.
Later in the year, Higher Certificate students advance their understanding of costume design and execution; lighting design & execution; and technical operation / LFX & SFX practical. Towards the end of the year, the students mostly focus on the graduation cycle of the Live Performance Practical. There is also a session for both Stage Props & Costume and Sound & Lighting. In the Stage Props & Costume session, students complete costume designs for prescribed presentations based on their Live Performance practicals. In Sound & Lighting, students practice technical operation and LFX & SFX for their Live Performance practicals. The year concludes with a graduation performance from the student.
As the AFDA Higher Certificate programme gives students access to Degree level studies, HC students can further their studies with the Bachelor of Live Performance degree programme, offered on all AFDA campuses. This three year degree ensures that the student knows how to perform in professional settings, while also encouraging the student to continue producing their art, be it acting or music.
Academic Development & Computer Literacy
Academic development and computer literacy is a module which enables the student to seamlessly integrate into any study or work environments that require the skills covered. Over the four terms students learn and practice: What performing arts is; Script Analysis & Development; Critical Thinking and Writing; Communications & Presentations; Computer & Internet Skills; Direction & Production Theory; Performing Arts Management; Sound & Lighting Theory and Stage Props & Costume theory.
At the start of the module, students are introduced to what the performing arts industry is and the history of theatre. In Script Development, acting students learn different dramatic forms and genres, while music students are introduced to lyrics & songwriting and music theory & appreciation. In Critical Thinking & Writing, students are taught how to: Write and reference academically; Apply reading & research methodologies and a basic introduction to academic ethics. In Communications & Presentations students are taught how to present to potential colleagues, employers, employees, and teams. In Computer & Internet, students are introduced to the basic essential software used in most professional productions.
Students are then introduced to Directing & Production theory, in which they learn the roles of the director and producer and the history behind them in South African theatre. In Performing Arts Management, students become familiar with the different jobs and functions/activities that support a production, as well as theatre management structures, the music business (Recording Artist & Album production) and theatre technical & operational structures. In Critical Thinking & Writing, students further their understanding of academic writing and referencing as well as become familiar with critical thinking methodologies. In Communications & Presentations and Computer & Internet, students advance the skills they acquired in the previous term.
Later in the year, students engage in the Performing Arts Management content by doing a case study of producing houses or collectives in acting. In music, students do a case study of copywriters & ownership in music, as well as Theatre technical & operational structures, Roadies association and unions & guilds. In music, students learn about Personal management & booking agents.
Towards the end of the year, students start off with being introduced to, and furthering their knowledge of Textual analysis/Play-script & Screenplay in acting, and Lyrics & Songwriting / Music Theory & Sight reading in music. In Performing Arts Management, students are introduced to the basic principles of publicity and marketing for Live Performance productions. They are also taught how to academically engage with the basic principles of administration, financials and funding for Live Performance productions.
Students who wish to further their studies after completing the Higher Certificate In Performing Arts can do so by joining the Bachelor of Arts in Live Performance offered on all AFDA campuses. The three year degree ensures that students are equipped to go into the world of acting with all the necessary abilities required to perform on a professional production.
AFDA has a unique learning system that provides students with authentic undergraduate & postgraduate learning environments that are relevant to vocational opportunities, both locally and abroad.
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