Performance Arts, BA

Duration: 3 years, full-time

UCAS code: Institution C35; Course W440

Award: BA (Hons) Theatre Practice

Performance at the Immersive Festival, Stratford


For independent and collaborative creative practitioners. This course engages with processes emerging out of both theatre and studio-based visual art practices. The course is directed at aspiring practitioners wanting to develop new performance forms, rooted in a rigorous engagement with the skills, theories and histories of performance arts. By focusing on critical enquiry, students develop their own identity as performance makers and producers.

About the course

Performance Arts integrates artistic development with curatorial and producing skills, preparing you to become an independent practitioner able to work in creative, organisational and administrative positions across the arts. The course brings together the theoretical foundations of Performance and Theatre Studies and focuses on the development of skills across a range of creative and contextual disciplines of contemporary performance arts practices. You will develop your practice in key areas: text/theory, body/movement, and materials/technology, and in the final year choose an area of focus within negotiated independent projects.

Teaching includes areas as diverse as critical and creative writing, performance art, object manipulation, Butoh, performance technologies, dramaturgy and scenography. You will also be trained in the role of producer, acquiring skills in curation, programming, finance, fundraising and project management.

Course Detail

Year 1

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

Year 2

Focus is on the deconstruction, development and contextualisation of creative practice. You will undertake a creative project to engage and develop strategies for interdisciplinary work taught by internationally renowned practitioners. You will also develop skills and knowledge in producing, management and programming. You will organise a festival at a public venue in London, mentored by a range of professional curators and producers, and also complete a professional placement with a company or practitioner. Further work will include an interdisciplinary photography project and a module on violence in contemporary culture. For those with a particular interest in further developing their writing practice, you will have the opportunity to take optional units shared with the BA Drama, Applied Theatre and Education: Writing for Performance pathway.

Year 3

You will have the opportunity to refine your practice within a range of professional contexts and apply specialist skills in creative practice through two major tasks, designed with tutor guidance. You will prepare a portfolio, as well as an examination and presentation of different working processes. Through regular seminars and mentorship, you will become acquainted with the dominant problematics and discourses in performance arts, and be acquainted with relevant theoretical frameworks for their examination. You may work in a vocational setting beyond Central to personally research areas of key interest, to be assessed upon a chosen practitioner identity, and/or undertake a practice-based, written dissertation on a topic of your choice.

BA Theatre Practice Course Specification

Professional Focus

You will be involved in collaborative projects with national and international arts organisations and practitioners. In previous years these have included James Dacre, Rachel Warr, Liz McGrath, Simon Stephens, and Dr Ernst Fischer. The course has also worked with the Institute of Contemporary Arts, the Roundhouse, Battersea Arts Centre, English National Opera, ] performance s p a c e [, dreamthinkspeak, Goat & Monkey, Punchdrunk, New York University, and the Royal Albert Hall. Students have taken their work (while studying) to Los Angeles, New York, Prague, Montenegro, Slovakia, Denmark, Estonia, Brazil, Russia, Singapore, Scotland and Lithuania. 

Many students have secured scholarships and grants to develop their work, for example from the Fulbright Commission, Arts Council, and the British Council, as well as placements with Seabright Productions, BBC, Robert Wilson, the Manchester Festival, Artsadmin, Centre for Creative Collaboration, Victoria and Albert Museum and the Soho Theatre.

Recent Graduate Employment

Performer, Arcola Theatre, Battersea Arts Centre, Brighton Fringe and Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Budva Theatre Festival Montenegro, Glastonbury Festival, National Theatre Studios, The Place, The Shed (National Theatre). Company-in-Residence, Artsdepot, Shunt Vaults, Dixon Place (New York). Writer, Royal Court Theatre, SPILL Festival, Exeunt Magazine. Director, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, New York International Fringe Festival. Performer/Director, Brighton Festival. Producer/Performer, Latitude Festival. Producer, CircusFest, Roundhouse, Singapore World Expo. Presenter, BBC Radio 1Xtra, Sky Arts. Director, Finborough Theatre, National Theatre Connections. Projection Specialist, Mesmer. Stage Manager, Secret Cinema. Lecturer, Goldsmiths College, Queen Mary University of London, Swaziland University. Recent further study includes: master’s degrees, University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, CalArts; research degrees, Royal Holloway University of London, Wolverhampton University. 

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

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 Events 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.


Notable graduates of this course include:

Eva Liparova and Andrea de la Cruz Co-Founders of The Fishtank.

Amber Massie-Blomfield (2007) Head of Communications at the Albany Theatre, Deptford.


View profiles of the academic staff who teach on this course. Click on each staff member to see their CV.

Dr Dani Ploeger

Senior Lecturer and Course Leader Performance Arts

Diana Damian-Martin

Lecturer, Performance Arts

Dr. Simon Donger, BA, MA, PHD

Course Leader, MA Scenography & Lecturer, Performance Arts & Scenography

Related Courses


Ben Weatherill

Ben Weatherill

Graduated 2013, Literary Manager, The Old Red Lion Theatre, London.

The course is not prescriptive, it’s fluid. For example, during the site-specific project, I worked on the script and during the festival I programmed the majority of the new writing. It’s entirely dedicated to the kind of practitioner you want to become. Equally, it gives you the opportunity to push your boundaries. The course forces you out of your comfort zone and opens your horizons to what is possible within your work.

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