Performing Arts BA (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years, 4 years with foundation year)




Take your skills in drama, dance and music to the next level by studying our full-time Performing Arts degree in Cambridge. Choose to study abroad for a semester. Perform alongside others who share your passion and become a versatile, confident and powerful artist, ready for a career in the performing arts.

Full description


We work with employers to make sure you graduate with the knowledge, skills and abilities they need. They help us review what we teach and how we teach it – and they offer hands-on, practical opportunities to learn through work-based projects, internships or placements.

Find out more about our placements and work experience, or the faculty's employability support.

Our performance culture and creative thinking will prepare you for a career in the performing arts, whichever aspect you want to take up. You will receive the ideal training for any position that require creativity, self-reliance, imagination and teamwork.

Upon graduation our students take different paths depending on their interests and aspirations. The main career paths you can access are:

Creative industry - You can work as a performer, director or stage manager. You could also create your own company, produce new work and tour it globally.

Art industry - You can access jobs within arts organisations and management, acting as a performing arts producer or event organiser, or join theatre and companies' marketing teams

Creative-related industry - Creative industries are broad and exciting, and feature a variety of opportunities. If you’re academic-minded, you can become a performing arts journalist or critic or, if you like numbers and have good interpersonal skills, you can work within the performing arts fundraising and budgeting business.

Education - As a performing arts graduate you can access numerous job opportunities within the educational world, pursuing a career as primary or secondary school teacher, or as a workshop facilitator for a variety of communities. Also, you can work as a performing arts assistant, supporting school and students' productions.

Further studies - If you wish to continue your studies after graduation, you can take a Masters Course or an Artist Diploma and, later on, a PhD or MPhil. This route will give you the chance to explore your subject of study in a deeper academic way, carrying further research and access academic jobs in higher education.

If you have an interest in arts therapy, you might decide to move on to our MA Dramatherapy.

Modules & assessment

Level 3 (foundation year)

  • Foundation in Humanities, English, Media, Social Sciences and Education
    This module will provide students with the necessary skills to begin studying at level 4 in courses related to the humanities, social sciences, English, media and education. Students will be introduced to the core skills necessary to succeed in higher education, including thinking critically, researching, and referencing appropriately, demonstrating appropriate numeracy and ICT skills, and communicating effectively verbally and in writing. In addition to these fundamental study skills, Students will be given an introduction to a broad range of disciplines whose skills and theories are widely applicable. Students will study a variety of writing styles in order to recognise, deconstruct and replicate various forms of persuasive, analytical, and informative writing. Students will learn the basics of intercultural studies and how these theories can be applied to real-world problems. Students will consider social perceptions held across western cultures, and the difference between social and self-perception, participating in structured discussion and argument. Students will be introduced to the core principles of psychology and will explore various current applications of psychological theory. Students will also be introduced to ethics and will learn about some of the key theories and thinkers in the development of current ethical considerations in a range of scenarios. This module is made up of the following eight constituent elements: Interactive Learning Skills and Communication (ILSC); Information Communication Technology (ICT); Critical Thinking; Intercultural Studies; Psychology; Composition and Style; Ethics; Social Perceptions.

Year one, core modules

  • Production 1
    This module will involve you in staging a short theatrical performance, directed by a tutor and possibly assistant-directed by students attending the Level 6 Directing module. You'll form a small company to work alongside your director in the realisation of a contemporary performance text, engaging in a series of practical workshops to explore different performance elements through exercises and in-class staging of a range of source texts. These staging experiments will at times require you to work collaboratively and follow the lead of a directing student, overseen by the guidance of the lecturer. You'll then engage in a full rehearsal process, in which you will deconstruct and reinvent these sources texts with the guidance of your tutor. You'll also be expected to work independently on this material and find your own creative solutions. The semester will culminate in an assessed performance, for which your group will rehearse a piece under the leadership of a directing student and the supervision or your tutor/director. This performance may include acting, music and movement, as necessary. The module requires professional discipline, including a willingness to take direction from tutors as well as your peer students, contribute to the numerous staging ideas that the production will require, and work positively towards creative solutions. Your assessment will consist of a live performance (70%) and a process mark (30%). The latter will consider your attendance, your contribution to the production process, and your regular engagement with the given material during your own independent study.
  • Acting 1: Foundations
    The Acting modules of the Performing Arts course will form part of your central core of study. They will develop your knowledge and understanding of the fundamental skills and styles of acting - elements that will both inform all the production modules you'll encounter and strengthen your appreciation and ability within the fields of the performing arts. A key feature of the Acting modules is the workshop-based approach, which emphasises ‘learning through doing’, integrating ideas with exploration. You'll need to be disciplined and committed in your approach to participation in the workshop and discussions. In Acting 1: Foundations, you'll concentrate on the foundational principles underlying acting, such as voice, movement and character work. You'll apply these to naturalistic and contemporary play texts and musical theatre repertoire. You'll also be encouraged to develop a critical and self-reflexive practice, to assess and progress your ability as a performer. Your assessment will comprise a live performance in which you'll act and stage selected texts and a creative portfolio providing reflections on the skills and techniques explored in class.
  • Music 1: Ensemble Singing and Music Foundations
    The Music modules of the Performing Arts course represent part of your central core of study. They aim to develop some of the vital skills required within the musical theatre profession, as well as an awareness and comprehension of both singing for the stage and music reading; disciplines that will strengthen your appreciation and ability within the fields of music-theatre and the performing arts. On Music 1, you'll focus on two complementary aspects: firstly, the discipline of singing within an ensemble, considering your vocal presence as part of a choral group and/or small ensemble. This will allow you to develop synchronicity, dynamic presence, vocal extension and modelling, as well as an overall musicality based on ensemble interaction. Secondly, the foundations of musical score reading. This will allow you to gain knowledge of basic music theory elements, such as pitch recognition, rhythm, articulation and dynamics; elements that will inform both your musical knowledge and ability of execution. These practical and theoretical elements will develop your knowledge and understanding not only of music and singing, but also of musical theatre and the performing arts in general. The repertoire explored in class, in fact, will comprise a selection of the musical theatre repertoire as well as choral pieces that draw on and/or include theatrico-dramatic elements. This module is workshop-based, emphasising ‘learning through doing,’ and integrating theoretical ideas with pragmatic exploration. You need, therefore, to be disciplined and committed during workshops and discussions. Your assessment will comprise both a live performance and a basic music theory test. For the live performance, you'll sing in small ensembles of three-to-five members, a selection from the repertoire explored in class, as in a concert version. The music theory test will assess your knowledge of the basic elements of music theory discussed in class.
  • Dance 1: Foundations and Posture
    The Dance modules of the Performing Arts course form part of your central core of study. They will develop your knowledge and understanding of the foundational principles of movement, from general posture to kinetic interaction, from popular dance styles to choreographed movement. On Dance 1: Foundations and Posture, you'll focus on the basic principles of movement, exploring the fundamental methods, techniques and vocabulary that are necessary for the understanding of the moving body in performance. As well as general posture, you'll explore the way the body moves according to impulses, phrases and gestures. Similarly, you'll consider your body in terms of balance, symmetry and pace. As part of the module you'll encounter a variety of contemporary dance techniques for the body to move skilfully and creatively, developing the fundamental tools for training the body. Your practice will also include ensemble work, exploring the above principles in terms of bodily interaction. These principles and practices will enhance your stage presence and motion as a performer as well as contributing to your overall knowledge of the body within dramatic, musico-theatrical and performing arts representations. This module follows a workshop-based approach, which emphasises ‘learning through doing’. You'll need to demonstrate discipline and commitment as part of the workshops and discussions. Your assessment will comprise a 15-minute succession of different 2-3-minute movement phrases as studied in class.
  • Production 2
    This module will involve you in staging a directed musical theatre performance. In the style of a professional music-theatre company, you'll take on a performance and/or significant backstage role to work alongside your director and/or music director in the realisation of a contemporary piece of musical theatre. This will be selected by your director and/or music director according to casting needs, and will belong to the traditional, mainstream repertoire. As part of the module, you'll engage in a full rehearsal and production process, analysing, exploring and performing the selected work within the context of your wider studies. The module will allow you to put into practice all the skills, theories and techniques you have explored during your Acting, Music and Dance modules. Your rehearsal process will involve active participation in the interpreting and staging of your script and score, requiring you to engage with dramatic practices relevant to the selected work. The module requires professional discipline, including a willingness to take direction from tutors as well as your peer students, contribute to the numerous staging ideas that the production will require, and work positively towards creative solutions. Your assessment will consist of a live performance (70%) and a process mark (30%). The latter will consider your attendance, your contribution to the production process, and your regular engagement with the given material during your own independent study.
  • Acting 2: Practitioners
    This module continues the focus on the principles of acting that you developed in Acting 1: Foundations. You'll build on these skills and apply them to a more stylistically challenging repertoire, concentrating on a series of specific acting styles and techniques that constitute the principal resources for the professional actor. The styles and techniques you'll encounter include non-naturalistic performance texts and the heightened styles of acting common to musical theatre repertoire. You'll also work on a range of textual passages. Possible practitioners might include Stanislavski, Chekhov, or Strasberg. The methods proposed by these authors will, in turn, be applied to texts from musicals such as The Threepenny Opera, West Side Story, Oklahoma!, Mamma Mia and Hairspray. Through these, you'll engage in practical explorations of monologues, duologues and other ensemble interactions that will develop your knowledge and understanding of musical theatre and the performing arts. Your assessment will comprise a live performance, in which you'll present the textual material explored in class, and a creative portfolio, reflecting and discussing the styles and methods explored in class.
  • Music 2: Solo Singing and Music Theory
    On Music 2 you'll focus on solo singing and elements of music theory. As part of your solo singing exploration, you'll work on and perform instances of musical theatre repertoire chosen by both your tutor and yourself. This will enable you to explore ways to energise your vocal presence as well as reflect on how musical features can be embedded within your vocal performance. You'll also consider your singing performance in relation to musical forms and details, according to the score and its theatricality. The elements of music theory you'll encounter as part of the module will include fundamentals of harmony (e.g. intervals, chords and scales) and complex rhythms. These will allow you to gain further knowledge of the score and your interpretation of it as a performer. Also, you'll practice solo singing alongside a pianist, exploring the performative language that is proper of the solo-repetiteur duetting. This module has a workshop-based approach, emphasising ‘learning through doing’. Your assessment will comprise both a live performance and a music theory test. For the live performance, you'll sing a selection of solo songs (and/or duets including clear solo passages) from the repertoire explored in class. The music theory test will assess your knowledge of the music theory elements discussed in class.

Year one, optional modules

  • Dance 2: Jazz and Street Dance
    Dance 2: Jazz and Street Dance will offer you the opportunity to explore, create and perform in a choreographic production based on 20th-century popular/commercial dance styles. These will include jazz and street dance, with an attention to related styles, which may include Lindy Hop, Charleston, Hip Hop and Breaking. Classes and rehearsals will be tutor-led, and will culminate in a final, assessed performance. As part of the module and performance process, and with the aid of the tutor-choreographer, you must agree effective methods of rehearsing, choreography-making and team working. Similarly, you should demonstrate a willingness to participate in all aspects of the choreographic production and collaborate with peer students as well as the tutor-choreographer. This module will allow you to gain a robust insight into the most popular dancing styles and choreographical techniques of musical theatre and applied performing arts. This module will support your stylistic stage presence and motion, and will contribute to your overall comprehension of the body within dramatic, musico-theatrical and performing arts representations. Your assessment will consist of a live performance (70%) and a process mark (30%). The latter will consider your attendance, your contribution to the production process, and a regular engagement with the given material during your own independent study.

Year two, core modules

  • Production 3
    Production 3 will give you the chance to perform in, design and produce a large-scale public performance based on a selected musical theatre piece. You must show full commitment to rehearsals and production meetings and demonstrate a willingness to participate in all aspects of work on the production. Similarly, you'll be expected to follow and put into practice the input of the director and musical director as appropriate to the production and rehearsals. Production 3 will be an opportunity for you to refine and further develop the methods, techniques and skills you previously encountered in Production 2 and the Acting, Music and Dance modules. At the same time, this module will enable you to reflect on, develop and put into practice musico-theatrical interaction of an advanced nature. You'll operate according to those interdisciplinary processes that are proper to musical theatre making. Similarly, you'll engage with an in-depth study and practical application of both the script and score, according to the style and aesthetics of the selected piece. This is a collaborative production module, and you'll be required to maintain professional conduct; measurements of such conduct will include reliable attendance, punctual arrival at rehearsals, high levels of concentration within sessions and a willingness to take direction from others. Your assessment will consist of a live performance (70%) and a process mark (30%). The latter will consider your attendance, your contribution to the production process, and your regular engagement with the given material during independent study.
  • Production 4
    Production 4 will give you the chance to perform in, design and produce a large-scale public performance based on a selected source text. 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. Progressing from the previous Production modules, Production 4 will draw from contemporary aesthetics, allowing you to engage with sophisticated, complex and unconventional artistic ideas, reflected in both the practical and intellectual features of the production. This module will also allow you to put into practice the theories and pragmatic exercises explored in previous modules. You'll engage with and be assessed on a variety of performing disciplines, which may include acting, physical and/or choreographic movement, singing and/or playing, and production roles as appropriate to the source text and the directorial vision. This is a collaborative production module, and you'll be required to maintain professional conduct; measurements of such conduct will include reliable attendance, punctual arrival at rehearsals, high levels of concentration within sessions and a willingness to take direction from others. Your assessment will consist of a live performance (70%) and a process mark (30%). The latter will consider your attendance, your contribution to the production process, and your regular engagement with the given material during independent study.
  • Movement Composition
    This module will allow you to explore the fields of dance theatre, choreographed theatre, abstract physical pieces and installations, considering the principal features and aesthetics of 20th and 21st century contemporary performances. It will help you navigate some of the most iconic pieces of the dance performance scene, for instance Kontakthof and Rosas danst Rosas. Through a series of workshops and lectures you'll encounter the composition techniques and styles of choreographed theatre, which have concentrated on shaping bodies on stage. Indicative examples of practitioners and choreographers might include Merce Cunningham, Pina Bausch, DV8, Ultima Vez or De Keersmaeker. Such an exploration will allow you to develop an awareness of the body in performance, the stylistic peculiarities of dance theatre, and their associated theories. You'll be expected to read and discuss some of the main writings examining this field and bring a critical approach to class discussions; at the same time, such key texts will act as the inspiration for the exercises and practical research explored in the module. Your assessment will consist of a live performance, presented in small groups, and a 1,000-word essay, enabling you to reflect on and discuss the theories encountered during classes.

Year two, optional modules

  • Principles of Dramatherapy
    This module is an introduction to the theory and practice of dramatherapy, as practised by registered professionals in the UK. It will not train you to be a therapist, but will equip you with knowledge of the field and some introductory skills that will be useful if you are considering dramatherapy as a vocation. You'll be introduced to the clinical field and will learn about the principles of dramatherapy and other related professions, such as work in applied theatre, teaching and nursing. You'll be taught through experiential workshops linked to theoretical seminars, and also a possible field trip. Audio-visual presentations will enable you to view clinical work in process. Through these activities you'll be able to evaluate, develop and analyse your potential in this discipline and explore the application of arts media to therapeutic situations. Your assessment will comprise small group practical work in which you will actively demonstrate an understanding of the use of drama as a therapeutic tool. You'll be individually marked during this task, according to the specified learning outcomes. The knowledge you gain on this module can be applied to other modules. It may involve improvisation, role-play or performance, and can contribute to a basic understanding of groups and how they function.
  • Music Theatre Relationships
    This module will give you an understanding and contextualisation of the main relationships between music and theatre. Through a number of selected instances, you'll explore the historical and cultural development of music theatre from the early forms of opera to twentieth century musical theatre works, reflecting on and investigating different forms of music theatre, musico-theatrical genres and interdisciplinary relationships. These music theatre forms may include recitativo, ritornello-song, opera buffa and seria, Musikdrama, rock opera, choreographed music theatre, popular music theatre, and postmodern music theatre; genres that define different and often contrasting music theatre relationships. Similarly, you'll explore relevant composers and practitioners such as Bernstein, Sondheim, Lloyd Webber, Monteverdi, Mozart and Wagner, among others. Understanding the contextual development of these practices, why they emerged and what they were responding to, will allow you to contextualise key moments of performance and reflect on current practices more fully. For each music theatre example, you'll examine relevant scores, librettos and critical writing, to see changes in form and conventions in performance practice. Material will be encountered through weekly group seminars. Your assessment will comprise two components: a written essay and an oral presentation.
  • Professional Theatre Practice 1
    Entry to this module requires Course Leader approval. Please be aware that the roles available for professional supervision will vary; you must pick a reserve module in case the role you wish to pursue cannot be offered. This module is designed to accommodate specialist training under professional supervision in defined area of theatre production. The type of work undertaken will be driven by the staffing requirements of a particular theatre or studio placement. Indicative areas of work may include developing technical skills in lighting, sound, video or specialist software, stage design, stage management, wardrobe and make-up, theatre management or marketing. You will work under the supervision of professional staff to understand the demands of each role and to gain practical skills specific to your defined aspect of theatre production. This is a module dependent on experiential learning and you must demonstrate a professional attitude to co-operation with the theatre staff under whose supervision you will work. You will be expected to be flexible in adapting to the jobs assigned to you and be willing to work during the particular hours that may be necessary in your role. Your hours will increase during production weeks; you must demonstrate your professionalism as a responsible, reliable and competent member of the production team at this time. You will be assessed by the quality of your work as visible during a performance event. Where your work is less evident during a performance, such as marketing or theatre administration, a portfolio of work covering your role will be presented. This will be followed by an oral examination, where you will be expected to bring critical thinking to bear on the work experience gained.
  • Physical Theatre
    On this module you'll focus on physical theatre techniques as developed by key practitioners and companies. Figures and topics might include Jacques Lecoq at the International Theatre School in Paris; experiments in dance theatre by Pina Bausch; the plays and performances of Complicité or Steven Berkoff; and the techniques taught by Frantic Assembly. In weekly workshop sessions you'll engage practically with physical methodologies for creating original performative work. These methods may include improvisation exercises, development of mime and gestural languages, experiments with neutral and expressive masks, ‘non-human’ movements, multi-role playing, clowning, chair duets, ‘pedestrian’ dance and the analysis of play-texts for their potential transformation into physical theatre performances. The movement of the body through space, and what this might be made to mean, will be a central concern on this module. This is a deceptively simple proposition, but the development of physical precision, rhythm and disciplined ensemble performance is a labour-intensive task. You'll be expected to be self-critical and able to develop your own physical work towards increasing clarity and complexity. Weekly sessions are collaborative in nature and you must be prepared to play a full part in the exercises undertaken. It is essential to wear suitable clothing to these sessions to enable you to ‘play’, according to Lecoq’s meaning of that term, which includes maintaining discipline in your work. You will be asked to work independently in small groups to devise a physical theatre performance for your assessment. You'll be asked to explain the rationale for your piece in advance of performing it, as based on ideas drawn from key contemporary physical theatre practitioners.
  • Acting Through Song
    On this module you'll focus on interdisciplinary work across drama, music/voice and movement. As part of it you'll explore, from both a theoretical and practical perspective, the works of some of the principal musical theatre practitioners of the twentieth-century, including Rodgers and Hammerstein, Sondheim, Herman, Lloyd Webber and Kander and Ebb. You'll engage in academic analysis, as well as performance, of sequences from these authors, gaining a deeper insight in their styles and peculiarities. You'll draw on and develop a wide range of principles and methodologies to create imaginative and original work while taking into consideration the musical theatre languages of the above composers. Your collaborative and performance skills will be further developed through the presentation of new practices, contexts and ideas that you adapt and respond to with flexibility and creativity. The module will strengthen your artistic development as a practitioner in the field of musical theatre, underpinned by theoretical understandings and practical performance to strengthen your awareness of the principal styles practiced in the field. A key feature of the module is the workshop-based approach, which emphasises 'learning through doing', integrating ideas with creative exploration. Alongside this, some sessions will be lecture-based, and dedicated to the theoretical exploration of the above authors and styles. You need to be disciplined and committed in your approach to participation in the workshops and discussions. Your assessment will consist of a live performance and an oral presentation.
  • Community Theatre
    This project-based module will give you direct experience of working as a performer and facilitator within the local community, developing your awareness of employability contexts, your ability to work with and for vulnerable groups, and a wide range of transferable skills. Working as an applied theatre company, you'll be set a brief to design and deliver a performance project for an outside organisation, such as a local charity, museum, Sheltered Housing Unit, school or health care provider. Practical workshops and seminar style teaching will introduce you to the given context, the ethical and practical challenges related to it, and a range of performance styles and methodologies appropriate to successfully meeting the project brief. You'll then engage in a collaborative process to devise and deliver a performance off-site. Your project will be assessed through a formative proposal outlining your performance ideas, then summatively through group performance. The module will offer you direct engagement with the local arts community, such as children’s theatre companies at Cambridge Junction theatre, primary or secondary schools, or local charities. The preparation of your project will develop your awareness of the ethical, practical and creative issues that must be considered when making performance for specific target audiences and in off-site locations. It will also enable you to form meaningful links with local arts venues, service providers and community groups, allowing you to explore the diverse career opportunities within this field while gaining real-world experience of community theatre.
  • 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 and forms of information exchange available to theatre-makers at the start of the 21st century. You'll examine the technological interventions that give rise to mediatised performance as well as the new methods of its dissemination, and explore these 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, and experimental film-making. 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.Your final assessment will be the production of a short mediatised performance piece designed for dissemination through digital technologies.
  • Performing Shakespeare
    This module will introduce you to the field of contemporary performance theory and practice in relation to Shakespeare. You'll study a range of 20th and 21st century critical and directorial interpretations of plays by Shakespeare, exploring issues like power, sexuality, gender, justice, morality, religion and war. You’ll look at how critics, directors and actors generate meanings from Shakespeare's plays, drawing on details from primary texts, secondary criticism and examples of contemporary creative responses to the plays. For your assessment, you'll select a sequence from one of Shakespeare's plays to stage as an ensemble performance, supported by practical workshops. This performance may include interdisciplinary work involving music, song and a variety of performing styles. You'll also attend seminars that will guide the development of your project proposal, and group tutorials to help you set up your group project. In preparation for the ensemble performance, you'll submit a 1,500-word analysis of how your chosen play has been interpreted in contemporary criticism, and examine a range of creative responses to it in the theatre and on film.

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.
  • Performance Showcase
    This module will offer you a creative, project-based opportunity to synthesise and develop skills and understandings acquired elsewhere on the programme. Beginning with pre-existing musical theatre productions, performances or play-texts, , you will start by adapting, reinterpreting, creatively reworking and retelling this material. Supported by a staff director in first part of the module, you'll work towards the creation of increasingly new and devised work for public performance. The first part of the course will involve workshops and exercises in which you will explore practically various methodologies of devising. You'll also be introduced to the work of various performance and theatre practitioners and companies who use devising in their creative process, to examine strategies for inventing your own original devised performance. You'll then begin the production process, developing, rehearsing, designing, marketing and realising a piece of devised performance drawn from the initial stimuli. This work will be created as a whole group to be presented to an external audience, the ensemble taking increasing control of their own creative decisions throughout the rehearsal process. At this stage, you will need to demonstrate self-discipline, professionalism and full commitment to additional rehearsal sessions as your show moves towards production. Your learning outcomes for the module will be assessed at the end of the semester through a set of public live performances in a commercial venue.

Year three, optional modules

  • Contemporary Texts
    On this module, you'll focus on contemporary drama, theatre and/or performance produced in the 21st century. You'll explore, in practice, potential new stagings of the pieces selected, while considering their original reception and production. In the absence of substantial critical evaluation of such recent performances, you'll be expected to develop and defend your own independent and evidence-based judgements concerning this work. You'll also conduct internet searches to access available review notices in newspapers or periodicals and to research any relevant recent scholarly articles or chapters. You'll encounter a range of performance pieces, such as authored play-texts, and techniques used by contemporary devising, dance theatre, music theatre and physical theatre companies, as appropriate. For your assessment, you'll produce a live performance adapting a sequence from any work studied on the module. As formative assessment prior to your performance, you’ll be asked to present a rationale of your creative ideas for this adaptation, an edited script or some work in progress for review. This work should be considered in relation to the original staging of the piece, with your rationale explaining your decisions as directors in creating a new staging and an adapted script. A good explanation of your ideas at this point will clarify your purposes in the live performance assessment, which carries 100% of your mark for this module.
  • Musical Theatre Studies
    Through a structured series of lectures, seminars and presentations, you'll engage in critical analysis of selected works of musical theatre with the aim of developing an understanding of the complex interplay of disciplines - music, text, vocalisation, scenography, dance - particular to the genre. In this respect, you'll be introduced to a range of methodologies by examining selected exemplars in detail, and applying these methodologies to them. You'll also explore the writing principles and dramaturgy of musicals to open up the possibility of creating new pieces of work. Such activities will develop your critical abilities and encourage you to question the reception and creation of musicals. The works you'll study will be drawn from various examples of the musical theatre repertoire, and wherever possible, supported by guest lectures from experts in related fields and visits to relevant concerts, theatre productions, exhibitions and talks. Your assessment will comprise two options: one a single extended essay, which will allow you to investigate a chosen area of musical theatre practice in detail; the other involves you writing a dramatic treatment for a new piece of work following the guidelines of musical theatre dramaturgy as studied in the module.
  • Directing
    Entry to this module is restricted and requires the approval of the Course Leader. You are asked to submit a portfolio outlining your ideas for a first-year production for approval in advance. Please also choose a reserve module as the number of directing positions is limited. The module will encourage you to develop key skills involved in leading and directing theatrical projects and performance. You'll engage with different directorial and creative leadership approaches through workshops, seminar discussion and practical experimentation. Skills in directing and leading will be developed with reference to different forms of text. These will be used as the basis to explore a range of directorial approaches and to demonstrate the ways in which appropriate strategies may be tailored to the demands of different rehearsal methodologies. In addition, you'll explore practically the planning and leading of workshops and rehearsals, and consider the management of production processes. As part of your directorial processes, you'll be offered the chance to collaborate with students from Level 4, who will contribute to your directorial vision and respond to your directorial instructions. Such a collaboration will be supervised by your tutor. Your assessment will consist of a live performed directed piece and a creative portfolio. For the practical part, you'll be asked to direct a short text extract from a provided list. The performance may include acting, music, voice and movement as appropriate to your directorial approach. This will be accompanied by a critical reflection, which will give an account of the directorial methodologies employed and evaluate your personal development on the module.
  • Site Specific and Immersive Theatre
    On this module you'll focus on significant developments in contemporary theatre through detailed analysis and exploration of site-specific and immersive practices. You'll be asked to consider place and space as theoretical concepts and explore the influence of performance space on audience reception and on your own creative practices. You'll engage with a range of theoretical perspectives from theatre historians, performance scholars, philosophers and cultural geographers, and with a range of performance practices such as site-specific, promenade, immersive, digital and applied theatre. You'll take part in seminar discussions and reading group sessions, and a number of practice based workshops, off-site visits and theatre trips. These activities will allow you to develop a sophisticated understanding of the contemporary theatre context that you'll be entering after graduation, and working towards the assessment will allow you to imagine your own creative input to that context. You'll be asked to develop and thoroughly research your own idea for a new site-specific or immersive theatre performance. This will be assessed through an oral presentation in which you'll ‘pitch’ your creative idea, demonstrating its originality, thoughtful relationship to place, creative use of space and practical viability. This will allow you to be ambitious and work on a larger budget/scale production than you would usually be able to at this stage in your career. It will also develop a range of highly important transferable skills, such as presenting, budgeting, researching, exploring creative partnerships and fitting your work into the contemporary scene.
  • Postmodernism
    This module will give you an interdisciplinary perspective on postmodernism, addressing twentieth century works that explore some of the fundamental concepts underpinning postmodern practices. These include, for instance, the themes of the unfinished, of the incomplete, and of openness. Instances will be drawn from both the performing and non-performing arts, highlighting conceptual and pragmatic connections in an interdisciplinary way. The delivery of this module will include both lectures and workshops. In the lectures, you will discuss the above ideas in conjunction with examples selected from theatre, music theatre, opera, literature and the visual arts. Examples might include works that develop non-linear structures, multinarrative, open forms, and incomplete and juxtaposed narratives. Examples of practitioners might include Pirandello, Beckett, Berio, Crumb, Calvino, Borges, Zizek and Eco. At the same time, you'll encounter some of the principal philosophical and interdisciplinary concepts that have informed these postmodern practices. Such reflections will inform you in creating brief devised projects as part of the practical workshops. In these, you'll interpret and elaborate the themes of unfinished-ness, incompleteness, and openness, as discussed in class. Your devised projects must demonstrate an ability to put into practice the topics explored during the module, and may incorporate movement, spoken and acted text, visual art, music and sound design. Also, you will have to take into consideration the interdisciplinary ideas explored in class. Your assessment will comprise a live performance of the above devised projects, and a 1,500-word essay contextualising the live performance within the broader postmodern discussion.
  • Provocations
    On this module you'll explore a range of contemporary performance and live art practices that are challenging, often controversial and sometimes disturbing. You'll examine how the body can be explicitly staged in performance art and the ways in which it can be a vehicle for expressing identity positions that are marginalised within dominant western culture. As such, you'll encounter contemporary performance practices that articulate racial, gender, transgender, queer, disabled and refugee identity positions. You'll consider the ethical implications of this practice, its relationship to its audience and its effectiveness as a strategy of resistance to mainstream stereotypes. Content may include the extremism of live art by Franko B, Ron Athey, Kira O’Reilly and Marina Abramovic; activist interventions by Richard Dedemonici and Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping; representations of race in Brett Bailey’s Exhibit B; queer identities in Split Britches’ Belle Reprieve; transgender performance by Heather Cassils and the representation of disability in dance works by Bill Shannon. In seminars, you'll explore the relationships between performance, the body and identity through a combination of videos, web material, reviews, interviews and critical essays from major theorists in the field. Your assessment will comprise a 3,000-word essay, with advance formative assessment by tutorial appointments to discuss your plans, arguments and case-studies. The practitioners that you'll study may deploy shock-tactics in the delivery of their work - you'll be expected to be intellectually curious, ask questions about this work and be open to new ideas, practices and processes.
  • Solo Showreel
    This module will give you the opportunity to explore the creative and technical applications of showreel-making, as you design, create and perform in film footage aimed at career promotion. The term showreel is intended here as a form and format in which you can embed your own performative and creative work on video. You can work toward, for instance, filmed monologues, a brief music video, choreographic routines, sequences of theatre or music-theatre performance, or other drama and performing arts applications to be agreed with the module tutor. As part of the module, you should consider choice of repertoire, performing for the camera, storyboard making, video-shooting techniques and locations, and video editing. Although the showreels will aim at promoting solo work, the production process leading to the final outcomes might include small group work, within which you act as a mini film crew and explore different production roles. You must demonstrate a willingness to participate in all aspects of the production and efficiently collaborate towards shared goals. As the module focuses on practical and creative work, it requires professional conduct from all students. This will be measured according to a high level of concentration within sessions, a willingness to take directions from the tutor, and an efficient and professional ethic of group working. Similarly, your engagement will be measured according to the preparation shown in class following the independent tasks the tutor will set on a weekly basis. 70% of your mark will be based on the showreels produced. These must demonstrate an understanding of the topics and practices explored during the module, an understanding of the aesthetics appropriate to showreel making, as well as a sense of creativity and professionalism. The other 30% will be a practical process mark, considering your contribution to the production processes as well as regular engagement with the material encountered both in class and during independent study. This module will support and enhance your future career, allowing you to generate tangible material for future promotion and employability.
  • Workshop Facilitation
    This module will encourage you to examine and explore teaching and leading participatory workshops in drama and the performing arts. You'll gain practical experience and skills that can be applied as a practicing professional in educational, professional and community contexts. The module will also equip you with theoretical and methodological knowledge relevant to a workshop leader and enable you to practice and develop confidence in delivering effective and well-prepared sessions. Topic areas may include philosophies of education, the sociological and psychological elements of arts pedagogy and the variety of contexts for drama and performing arts workshop education. You'll be expected to reflect on the responsibilities of leadership in creative contexts and develop enhanced skills for future employability. You'll develop skills in independent learning, research and communication of process and product throughout the module. Your assessment will comprise live workshop facilitation, in which you'll lead aspects of a prepared workshop (approximately 15 minutes) and a 1,000-word critical refection that evaluates and contextualises your workshop facilitation. As part of the module, you might be invited to identify a work placement as a workshop facilitator. This can be undertaken either in ‘sandwich’ mode during the semester or in a ‘block’ during the Easter vacation. The nature of your involvement in the placement should contribute to your ongoing reflection as well as your final, assessed workshop facilitation.

Optional modules available all years

  • Anglia Language Programme
    The Anglia Language Programme module will allow you to study a foreign language as part of your course. You may choose to take two language modules in place of options on your course from the second semester of your first year, or in the second or third year. You can choose from the following: Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Italian, Japanese, or Spanish. In order to experience the learning of a new language, you must select one that you have not learned before.


For a full breakdown of module options and credits, please view the module structure.

Modules are subject to change and availability.

You’ll show your progress on the course through essays, reports, critical reflections, studio and public performances and presentations, as well as your final-year Major Project, which may include practical work. This combination of practice and theory reflects the ways that you’ll develop your creative skills throughout the course.

Where you'll study

Your department and faculty

Using our creative expertise and industry connections in Cambridge and beyond, we create experiences that entertain, educate, inspire and improve lives.

At Cambridge School of Creative Industries, we believe in the importance of experimentation and risk-taking to create experiences that entertain, educate, inspire and improve lives.

Whether writing bestselling fiction, creating challenging documentaries or sharing a piano with people on the autism spectrum, the expertise of our staff goes far beyond teaching. Their research produces significant funding success, leading to important publications and international conferences.

Where can I study?

Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Study abroad

You can apply to study abroad for one semester, and get funding to help you cover the cost

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students starting 2019/20 or 2020/21 (per year)


International students starting 2020/21 (per year)


Fee information

For more information about tuition fees, including the UK Government's commitment to EU students, please see our UK/EU funding pages

How do I pay my fees?

Tuition fee loan

You can take out a tuition fee loan, which you won’t need to start repaying until after your graduate. Or alternatively, there's the option to pay your fees upfront.

Loans and fee payments


We offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Some of these cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Explore ARU scholarships

International students

You must pay your fees upfront, in full or in instalments. We will also ask you for a deposit or sponsorship letter. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees

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.

Funding for international students

We offer a number of scholarships, as well as an early payment discount. Explore your options:

Entry requirements

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You will be invited to perform an audition as part of the application process.

For more guidance on how to prepare for this, please visit our creative industries auditions page.

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.

Foundation year entry requirements

  • 5 GCSE passes at grade 3 or D or above and evidence of two years post-GCSE study at Level 3
  • If you have achieved at least grade E in one A level, or equivalent, you are exempt from the two year post-GCSE study requirement, but you still have to meet the GCSE requirements
  • If English is not your first language you will be expected to demonstrate a certificate level of proficiency of at least IELTS 5.5 overall including 5.5 in each band/component
International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for postgraduate courses.

Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry onto a degree course.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

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UCAScode: W491

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International students

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01245 68 68 68

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International applicants

+44 1245 68 68 68

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