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HomeUKDrama school blasted for £11,000 'Mickey Mouse' course in 'queer performance'

Drama school blasted for £11,000 ‘Mickey Mouse’ course in ‘queer performance’


Drag queen master’s degree? Drama school whose alumni include Oscar winner Gary Oldman and Tom Baker blows up for £11,000 ‘Mickey Mouse’ course in ‘queer performance’

  • Kent School of Performing Arts draws fire for ‘Mickey Mouse’ master’s degree
  • Critics say the course will not provide essential skills for a competitive job market

A master’s degree in “Queer Performance” offered by a university of higher education in Kent has divided opinion, with critics calling it a “Mickey Mouse degree.”

Rose Bruford College in Sidcup, known for star actor alumni including Gary Oldman and Tom Baker, plans to run the postgraduate course from September 2023, charging £11,000 for the 15-month course.

The course is billed as the “first and only MA of its kind to focus on queer performance, [offering] broad training in a range of queer performance practices, delivered by renowned queer artists, theater makers, academics and researchers’.

The hybrid coursewhich costs international students £18,000, asks for ‘good Honors Degree (usually a 2.1)’ in a related field to apply, and welcomes students with an interest in making performances, or as a researcher, critic, facilitator or producer.

Conor Holohan, campaign manager at the Taxpayers’ Alliance, told De Telegraaf the diploma would not provide young people with the skills needed on the labor market: ‘Far too many Brits follow these kinds of Mickey Mouse courses with little economic perspective.’

Danny La Rue as the Merry Widow Twanky in Aladdin at the London Palladium

The course is divided into four modules, including “Thinking Queerly”, “Creatures of the Night”, “Queer Dramaturgies”, and an independent research project.

Acclaimed Drag Scholar Stephen Farrier, who according to his profile has extensive experience in doctoral counseling in the areas of gender, sexuality, queerness and identity, will take a leading role in the course.

The Common Sense Group of Tory MPs warns that the diploma would be a waste of money. Sir John Hayes, who leads the group, said: ‘Danny LaRue, Paul O’Grady and my favorite Barry Humphries didn’t need a degree to know how to dress and perform as a woman’.

Actor David Cann warned that specialization in a “certain work style” would limit career opportunities as the styles evolved or “went out of fashion.”

The exact value of different courses is difficult to measure.

In 2021, the Conservative Party angered many young people with a campaign to promote STEM degrees at the expense of more “flowery” humanities subjects.

In the same year, the party announced a £4 million Latin Excellency Program to increase take-up at GCSE level.

But student loan debt has been a costly challenge for the government. £140 billion was owed before the pandemic and several initiatives have been launched to push students into jobs that put them above the minimum repayment threshold.

This was compounded by the pandemic after which three quarters of recent graduates noticed a drop in the number of opportunities available.

Just before the pandemic, nearly a fifth of 2017/18 graduates surveyed were studying creative arts subjects.

They were more likely to be unemployed than the general graduate population, with 5.4 percent still unemployed 15 months after graduation — compared to an average of 5.1 percent.

Rose Bruford College is a renowned performing arts institution in Sidcup, Kent

Rose Bruford College is a renowned performing arts institution in Sidcup, Kent

Gary Oldman, Rose Bruford alum, attends Slow Horses premiere in London in 2022

Gary Oldman, Rose Bruford alumattends the Slow Horses premiere in London in 2022

MailOnline contacted the college for comment.

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