Performing Arts BA (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years)

University Centre Peterborough



Whether you see yourself as a director, performer, designer or administrator, our Performing Arts degree 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
    This module will introduce you to effective working methodologies in both performance and production. This will be tested through the production of a studio-based collaborative live performance, which will also explore selected key moments in theatre and performance history through practice. We will begin by considering the historical context of the text chosen for performance, its genre and performance conventions. Your tutors’ expectations of professional discipline in practical work will be set in this introductory module. While they will direct performance and production work, you will be expected to develop your own independence and initiative. You will contribute creatively to performance and production work, to appreciate the importance of collaborative practice on your degree. You may take a variety of roles as a performer or choose to concentrate on the production processes that are essential to effective live performance. You may help to design lighting, sound, projection or video for the performance, working with professional technical staff. You may alternatively work on creating effective set design, choreography, or costume and make-up. One or more student stage-managers will be needed for the whole performance, working in collaboration with all other performance and production roles. You will be expected to actively participate in all the aspects of the rehearsal and production processes that are relevant to your role. You must demonstrate reliability as collaborative performers and production staff by full attendance, punctual arrival at rehearsals and high levels of concentration within sessions. These factors and your creative contribution will inform your mark for the process of rehearsals week by week. This will be 30% of the module mark. The remaining 70% of your mark will be based on the quality of the live performance, whether you appear as a performer or make your contribution in a production role.
  • 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
    This module offers you the opportunity to perform in, design and produce a large-scale public performance, created from a selected source text. While production work will be led by a tutor, students also 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. This module is designed to develop your skills in performance and production work to a high level; there will be a variety of roles on-stage and back-stage for your group to manage and deliver effectively. Collaborative production modules require professional conduct from all students; 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. You will liaise closely with professional staff at the theatre venue during intensive technical rehearsals and your own developing professionalism will be tested during this time. For assessment, 70% of the mark will be based on the quality of the live performance and 30% on a consideration of attendance, professional discipline and your creative contribution throughout the production process.
  • 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 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.
  • 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 using your written blogs and journals, essays, portfolios, practical work, presentations and live performances.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

In the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, we use our expertise and connections in Cambridge and beyond to nurture creativity through experimentation and risk-taking, and encourage critical thinking, in order to educate, entertain, inspire and understand, as well as to improve people’s lives.

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

How do I pay my fees?

You can pay your fees in the following ways.

Tuition fee loan

UK students can take out a tuition fee loan, which you won’t need to start repaying until after your graduate. Or 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

Funding for UK students

Most new UK undergraduate students can apply for government funding to support their studies and university life. This also applies to EU, EEA and Swiss nationals who have citizens' rights following Brexit.

Government funding 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 range of ARU scholarships, which can provide extra financial support while you’re at university.

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

Whether you're studying entirely online or through a blend of face-to-face and online learning in September 2021, you'll need a computer and reliable internet access to successfully engage with your course. Before starting the course, we recommend that you check our technical requirements for online learning. Our website also has general information for new students about starting university in 2021-22.

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.

Get more information

UK and EU applicants

+44 (0)1733 838210

Email University Centre Peterborough

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UK students

Clearing places available, call

01733 214466

UCAScode: 7W73

UK students

Studying a full-time course

Apply to UCP through Clearing

UK students

Apply for 2022

Apply through UCAS