Performing Arts BA (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years)

University Centre Peterborough

January 2019, September 2018

code: 7W73

Apply via UCAS


Whether you see yourself as a director, performer, designer or administrator, this course will prepare you thoroughly for a career in theatre.

Full description


Our graduates have gone on to successful careers in theatre practice, teaching, performing, arts administration, directing, theatre project management, design and more.

Modules & assessment

Year one, core modules

  • Performance Contexts
    You’ll look at the development of Western performance through an examination of both practice and critical material. By considering significant moments, key movements and practitioners in the history of Western performance, you'll question the nature and function of performance, theatre and music and consider their interdisciplinarity. Within this context, you'll be introduced to a range of performance texts as examples for a practical exploration. You will focus on performance processes rather than end product, being introduced to working methodologies and practices from the full history of Western performance, and addressing their political, cultural and socio-economic significance. By relating theoretical and practical approaches, you'll examine changes in form and conventions in performance practices.
  • Studio Performance
    In this module, you'll take part in a collaborative, studio-based live performance based on a selected text or combination of texts, often involving active deconstruction or reinvention of the piece. This 'text' might be a play-text, music theatre text, other devised performance works or live/recorded music. You'll analyse the text's significant actions and meanings, and explore the ways in which they could be realised in performance. You'll be encouraged to develop lighting and sound designs for the performance, documenting them for use by back-stage technicians, and explore effective set or costume design. Throughout the rehearsals, you'll investigate ideas of postmodern performance in practice and consider how the production of such work might differ from traditional techniques in theatre-making.
  • Performance Skills 1A
    In this module you develop your knowledge and understanding of the foundational principles underlying acting, through an introduction to skills relating, predominantly, to naturalist and realist forms. The focus is on a practical introduction to mainstream acting techniques in a contemporary context. These techniques are explored and interrogated through a combination of various exercises, including improvisation and text-based work. You are also encouraged to think about the practices explored from a critical perspective. A key feature of the module is the workshop-based approach, which emphasises 'learning through doing', integrating ideas with creative exploration. You need to be disciplined and committed in your approach to participation in the workshops and discussions. For assessment, you develop a solo and a small-group performance. This is underpinned by the development of a creative process portfolio, where you will record and reflect on your continuous research and practice process towards your assessments. The portfolio will provide you with the opportunity to demonstrate engagement with relevant theories, methodologies and influences as well as tracking your own development.
  • Performance Skills 1B
    On this module, you will focus on the combination of singing/voice and drama, which may include looking at techniques of acting through song, or the combination of vocal techniques and drama. Your work will include vocal and/or musical experimentation, helping you enhance your skills as a performing arts practitioner. You will be assessed through a small-scale performance exploring the synthesis of vocal work with drama, and through the continuing development of your reflective portfolio from Performance Skills 1A. You will continue to record and reflect on your ongoing research and practice process in your creative process portfolio. This portfolio will allow you to demonstrate engagement with relevant theories, methodologies and influences, as well as tracking your development.
  • Digital Performance
    On this module you'll be introduced to the creative use of technology in performance. You'll engage with multidisciplinary performance and explore the distinctions between making live and recorded performance. You'll also develop skills in the traditional technical aspects of theatre (lighting, sound and stage management) as well as newer technologies (video making, use of live feeds, internet performance, using software packages). Working collaboratively on small creative projects, you'll develop a short performance using a mixture of live and recorded effects, drawing on your own experience as a spectator to inform the creative decisions that you make.

Year two, core modules

  • Making Performance
    You’ll design, direct and perform in a large-scale public performance, created from a selected source text. As a group, you must agree effective methods of decision-making, show full commitment to rehearsals and production meetings, and demonstrate a willingness to participate in all aspects of work on the production. If you're a Performing Arts student at Cambridge, you can also be assessed as a musician or singer within the rehearsal process and performance. If you take Performing Arts at University Centre Peterborough, you may be assessed on your physical theatre work. Collaborative production modules require professional conduct from all students. Your conduct will be measured on reliable attendance, punctual arrival at rehearsals, maintaining high levels of concentration within sessions and your willingness to take direction from others. You will be assessed on both the live performance and your research, as well as your attendance and contribution to the production process. This module includes content and assessment relating to the Employability component of Personal Development Planning.
  • The Body in Performance
    On this module, you'll explore the use of the body in contemporary performance and theatre practice, and the ways in which it can challenge dominant political, cultural and artistic ideologies. You'll consider how the body is subject to ideological and social forces that restrain it, and interrogate performance's potential to resist these forces. By critiquing structures of power and knowledge, you'll examine the place of the body in contemporary culture, while posing questions about the political efficacy of performance and the ethical implications of the work. This work could include live art practice, dance theatre, digital performance, activism and bio-art. Each week, you'll concentrate on a particular set of themes, developing theoretical and critical approaches to examining performance in relation to the body. In seminars, you'll look at performance texts, web material, videos, reviews, interviews and critical essays from major theorists in the field. Where possible, you'll be encouraged to attend appropriate performances, exhibitions and installations as part of the course. Your assessment will focus on your ability to articulate research findings through oral presentations, along with a final research essay at the end of the module.
  • New Media Performance
    This module will introduce you to recent innovations in contemporary theatre and performance through a practical and theoretical consideration of new technologies available to theatre-makers at the start of the 21st century. You'll examine the technological interventions that gave rise to mediatised performance as well as the new methods of its dissemination, and explore this in practice by using technologies of sound, music and video to produce a piece of mediatised performance. You'll be expected to engage with the interfaces between live performance, digital technologies, social networking sites, mass participatory sites of video performance, online arts marketing and experimental film-making. You'll be assessed through the production of a short performance piece designed for dissemination through digital technologies. You'll also learn about the production of mediatised performances that can be used as a multi-media element within live theatre practice, studying selected multi-media practitioners as you produce, react to and question the value of such technologies in performance.
  • Performance Skills 2A
    Performance Skills 2A focuses on movement for performance. Movement could encompass formal technique as well as pedestrian vocabularies, which are explored through a variety of practical approaches. You are expected to demonstrate enhanced performance skills through experimentation and increasingly challenging work, delivered with confidence. Assessment is through the development of a short solo study that is used as a departure point for a later small-group movement piece. You also submit a portfolio where you reflect critically on your practical experience of movement training in classes. It includes analysis and critical engagement with contextualising materials and research.
  • Performance Writing
    This module will introduce you to different approaches and creative processes of writing for performance, enabling you to use a range of methods when developing written material. In workshops and exercises, you'll look at different approaches to writing. You'll also be introduced to the work of various performance and theatre practitioners/companies who adopt different writing techniques in their creative process. You'll explore ideas such as combining autobiography and fiction; using stimuli as a starting point; writing through walking; embodied writing; and the use of personas in writing processes. You'll develop a process for creating original material and consider issues of staging. In practical sessions, you'll take part in discussions to contextualise the material and/or exercises being explored. Your assessment will take the form of an end-of-semester solo performance. You'll follow this by submitting a portfolio containing samples of relevant creative practice, as well as a critical evaluation of your work.

Year three, core modules

  • Major Project
    The individual Major Project will allow you to undertake a substantial piece of individual research, focused on a topic relevant to your specific course. Your topic will be assessed for suitability to ensure sufficient academic challenge and satisfactory supervision by an academic member of staff. The project will require you to identify/formulate problems and issues, conduct research, evaluate information, process data, and critically appraise and present your findings/creative work. You should arrange and attend regular meetings with your project supervisor, to ensure that your project is closely monitored and steered in the right direction.
  • Professional Practice
    This module will encourage you to examine and explore the processes involved in teaching and leading participatory workshops in the performing arts. You will gain practical experience and skills in leading and facilitating workshops as practising professionals, which can be delivered in educational, professional and/or community contexts. The module will equip you with theoretical and methodological knowledge relevant to a workshop leader, enabling you to practice and develop confidence in delivering effective and well-prepared sessions. You will be expected to reflect on the responsibilities and practices of leadership in creative contexts and develop enhanced skills for future employability. You will develop skills in independent learning, research and communication of process and product throughout the module. Your assessment will involve facilitating a live workshop with an appropriate group and a critical evaluation that appraises your practice.
  • Special Subject
    This module will allow you to interrogate a specialist area of contemporary research in the subject area, particularly those with ongoing research being produced by staff members in the Department. Some topics may allow you to explore in greater depth matters covered in other modules; others will introduce material not otherwise covered in the existing provision. The choice will vary from year to year. An indicative list of topics might include a selection of the following: stage adaptation; performance & science; operatic and musical theatre production, multimedia performance, Samuel Beckett's plays, applied theatre practices and reviewing new drama. The method of your assessment will vary according to the option, but may be an essay, a practical essay and/or a performance, both supported by appropriate documentation. You will only undertake one method of assessment.
  • Performance and Identity
    You'll interrogate the relationship between identity and performance and the ways in which performance might be deployed strategically in the service of specific political, ethical and cultural agendas. In the course of this, you'll consider the ways in which dramatists, companies and performers have used performance as a vehicle for expressing identity positions that are often marginalised or alienated by dominant cultural practices, such as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, disabled, and marginalised class/ethnic identities. Each week you'll concentrate on a particular set of themes, examining them through selected texts, artists and companies. In seminars, you'll explore relationships between performance and identity through a mixture of performance texts, web material, videos, reviews, interviews and critical essays from major theorists in the field. You'll be assessed through a presentation of your initial findings and a final essay.
  • Devising Performance
    On this module, you'll explore the processes and practice of devising work for the theatre. In the first part, you'll undertake a practical exploration of the various approaches to, and the methodologies of, devising performance through workshops and exercises. You'll also be introduced to the work of various performance and theatre practitioners/companies who utilise devising in their creative process, in order to examine strategies and potentials for performance. As a group, you'll then engage in a production process, led by a member of staff, to develop, rehearse, design, market and realise a piece of devised performance to be presented to an external audience. Prior to the final performance, you'll submit an essay that critically investigates the processes of devising, with specific reference to your artistic, historical and theoretical contexts.
  • Enterprise in the Creative Arts
    This module will provide you with an element of work experience in preparation for your future employment. You'll identify an individual area of work placement before the semester begins and make sure your proposal is doable. You'll need to be critical in your approach, to establish clear parameters for evaluation. You’ll also develop entrepreneurial skills. Early on, you'll give an oral presentation focusing on your proposed content, and the opportunities and constraints of your chosen placement. As well as receiving tutor input at this stage, you'll benefit from the views of both your peers and employers, as well as gaining an insight into how others plan to work within comparable contexts. You'll undertake the work placement element itself either in a 'sandwich' mode during the semester or in a 'block' during the Christmas vacation or January inter-semester period.


We’ll assess your progress sing your written blogs and journals, essays, portfolios, practical work, presentations and live performances.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

Whether you aim to work in the creative industries or the social sciences, the legal profession or public service, the Faculty of Arts, Law & Social Sciences will provide you with the skills and knowledge you need for professional life.

Our lively, diverse community and ambitious academic environment will broaden your horizons and help you develop your full potential - many of our courses give you the chance to learn another language, study abroad or undertake work placements as you study.

If you’re interested in art, music, drama or film, check out our packed programme of events. Together with our partners in the creative and cultural industries, we’re always working to enrich the cultural life of the university and the wider community.

Our research is groundbreaking and internationally recognised, with real social impact. We support the StoryLab Research Institute, whose projects include interactive music apps and documenting lifesaving childbirth procedures, the Policing Institute for the Eastern Region (PIER), as well as nine international research clusters including the Centre for Children's Book Studies and the Labour History Research Unit.

In the Research Excellence Framework 2014, six of our subject areas were awarded world-leading status: Law; Art and Design; English Language and Literature, Communication, Cultural and Media Studies; History; Music, Drama, Dance and Performing Arts.

Where can I study?

University Centre Peterborough
University Centre Peterborough

University Centre Peterborough (or UCP) is our modern campus in the heart of an historic city.

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Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students, 2018/19 (per year)


How do I pay my fees?

You can pay your fees in the following ways.

Tuition fee loan

Most English undergraduates take out a tuition fee loan with Student Finance England. The fees are then paid directly to us. The amount you repay each month is linked to your salary and repayments start in April after you graduate.

How to apply for a tuition fee loan

Paying upfront

If you choose not to take out a loan you can pay your fees directly to us. There are two ways to do this: either pay in full, or through a three- or six-month instalment plan starting at registration.

How to pay your fees directly

Funding for UK & EU students

Most new undergraduate students can apply for government funding to support their studies and university life. This includes Tuition Fee Loans and Maintenance Loans. There are additional grants available for specific groups of students, such as those with disabilities or dependants.

We also offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.

From September 2018, EU students starting an undergraduate degree with us can access an £800 bursary.

Meanwhile, our £400 Books Plus scheme helps with the costs of study. There's no need to apply for this: if you're eligible you can simply collect a Books Plus card when you start your course.

Entry requirements

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Applicants with A level qualifications would normally have achieved 88-104 UCAS points on entry, including grade B in Theatre Studies, Performance Studies or cognate subject area, or VCE double award or equivalent in an appropriate subject.

Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

We don't accept AS level qualifications on their own for entry to our undergraduate degree courses. However for some degree courses a small number of tariff points from AS levels are accepted as long as they're combined with tariff points from A levels or other equivalent level 3 qualifications in other subjects.

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UK, EU & international applicants

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