Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Performance Arts


Program Description

Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Performance Arts


Develop your identity as a performance art maker and producer on a course which fosters independent and collaborative creative practice. By focusing on critical inquiry and experimentation with new methodologies, students develop new and challenging performance forms rooted in a rigorous engagement with the skills, theories, and histories of theatre and other performance arts.

About the course

This course’s integration of artistic development with performance and production skills prepares students to become independent practitioners and/or to work in key organizational, administrative and artistic positions across the arts.

In the first two years, students take part in a programme that seeks to develop their practice in three key areas: text/theory, body/movement, and materials/technology. In the final year, students choose an area of focus, which will be developed and contextualized within independent projects. The course is tailored towards the development of an individual creative identity in the context of collaborative work, where students undertake different roles and positions to challenge their own process and ways of working.

Course Detail

Year 1

Building on historical, theoretical and practical foundations of theatre and performance arts, students acquire fundamental skills in dramaturgy and writing for and about performance, contemporary movement practices, and working with materials and technologies. They will produce short pieces of work across collaborative projects, involving installation, textual practices, immersive and traditional performance techniques. This is supported by skills sessions in applying research methods, reflective practice, processes of documentation and criticism.

Year 2

The focus in this year is on the deconstruction, development, and contextualisation of creative practice. Students undertake a creative project to engage and develop strategies for interdisciplinary performance work taught by internationally renowned practitioners; develop skills and knowledge in producing, project management, curation, and programming; and organize a festival at a public venue in London, mentored by a range of professional curators and producers. A professional placement with a company or practitioner is undertaken, and optional will work include an interdisciplinary photography project and a module on violence in contemporary culture. There is the opportunity to develop writing practice by taking optional units shared with the BA Drama, Applied Theatre, and Education: Writing for Performance pathway.

Year 3

Students attend regular seminars, prepare portfolios and undertake an examination. Practice gets refined within a range of professional contexts, and specialist skills are applied in creative practice through two major tasks. Some students may be mentored or work in a vocational setting beyond Central, and/or undertake a practice-based, written dissertation on a topic of choice.


Students on this course will be involved with collaborative projects with national and international arts practitioners and organizations.

Practitioners worked with include: James Dacre, Rachel Warr, Liz McGrath, Simon Stephens, and Dr. Ernst Fischer.

Organisations worked with include: The Institute of Contemporary Arts, the Roundhouse, Battersea Arts Centre, English National Opera, ] performance s p a c e [, Dreamthinkspeak, Goat and Monkey, Punchdrunk, New York University and the Royal Albert Hall.

Students have taken their work (while studying) in Los Angeles, New York, Prague, Montenegro, Slovakia, Denmark, Estonia, Brazil, Russia, Singapore, Scotland, and Lithuania.

Placement hosts have included: Seabright Productions, BBC, Robert Wilson, the Manchester Festival, Artsadmin, Centre for Creative Collaboration, Victoria and Albert Museum and the Soho Theatre.

Many students have secured scholarships and grants to develop their work from organizations including the Fulbright Commission, Arts Council, and the British Council.

Professional Focus

Recent Visiting Staff

Dr Julia Bardsley, Felix Barrett, Anne Bogart, Elizabeth LeCompte, Rebecca Lenkiewicz, Dr Trish Lyons, Julian Maynard Smith, Simon McBurney, Felix Barrett, Katie Mitchell, Daniel O’Neill, Kira O’Reilly, Orlan, Richard Schechner, Naomi Filmer, Richard Foreman, Edward Bond, Marisa Carnesky, Won Kim, Karla Shacklock, Joel Scott, Rajni Shah, Tristan Sharp, Stelarc, Simon Stevens, Manuel Vason, Michael Walling, Juschka Weigel, Charlie Westenra, Hilary Westlake, Ita O'Brien.

Entry Requirements and Admissions

Entry to the Performance Arts strand is subject to an interview and participation in a selection day. All candidates invited to interview are asked to bring a portfolio of their work.

Minimum Entry Requirements

3 A Levels at BBC, BTEC ND: DDM.

Offers may vary from this, depending upon expected grades and performance at interview. Exceptional applicants who do not meet this requirement but demonstrate appropriate potential at interview and via their portfolio may be accepted.

Admission with Academic Credit

For information on alternative entry requirements please see our website.

Application Details

See How to Apply section for Undergraduate courses.

Interviews in London

Find out more about the interview process for this course.

International Interviews

Each year Central hosts a number of interviews outside of the UK, with a team of tutors from Central traveling to meet applicants. The international interviews are designed to replicate the London-based interview experience in every aspect (other than a tour of our site!). See our Event Finder for listings of upcoming interview locations and dates.

International Students

Visit the International Students section to view details of English language requirements for Central's courses.


Sophie Grodin

Graduated 2013, Performer and Director, London.

“I chose Performance Arts because it allowed me to experiment. I was challenged, pushed and encouraged to try out the things that might have seemed alien to me in the beginning, only to discover that those were the areas that came to mean the most for my future work. This course teaches you how to make your own work, to think for yourself, to make decisions, to take ownership and collaborate; it was like an adventure that led me down avenues I would have never found myself. I met my current collaborators at Central and that became the root of a network that keeps growing. Since graduating I have been making my own work, including a duet work with Karen Christopher and as the co-creator of the one-audience member experience ROOM, which has been shown at Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Tate Britain in 2014.”

Last updated Feb 2018

Keystone Scholarship

Discover the options our scholarship can give you

About the School

Central stands at the forefront of training and research in the Dramatic Arts. Graduate employment statistics are amongst the highest in our sector, and our research has recently been assessed as ‘Wor ... Read More

Central stands at the forefront of training and research in the Dramatic Arts. Graduate employment statistics are amongst the highest in our sector, and our research has recently been assessed as ‘World Leading’ – and is unique in the realm of drama conservatoires. The ratio of undergraduate applications to places is the highest of any UK university. Read less