Performance Arts, BA

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Duration: 3 years full-time, October start


UCAS code: Institution code: C35; Course code: W440


Award: Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Contemporary Performance Practice

About the course

Studying on the Performance Arts course, you will: 

  • Experiment, explore and create new forms of performance  
  • Develop critical skills to investigate, theorise and make new performance  
  • Produce work in professional environments
  • Undertake projects with national and international arts organisations and practitioners 

Who is this course aimed at? 

This course fosters independent and collaborative creative practice and is aimed at aspiring practitioners who want to develop new and challenging performance forms, rooted in a rigorous engagement with the skills, theories and histories of theatre, dramaturgy, performance, and live art.

The curriculum’s integration of artistic development with producing, curatorial and administrative skills prepares you to become an independent practitioner, able to work in key artistic, and institutions positions across the arts sector.  

Your creative identity 

The course is tailored towards the development of your artistic identity through both theoretical analysis and practical experimentation. You will undertake different processes that will challenge and develop your ways of working.

The course brings together the theoretical foundations of Performance and Theatre Studies, and focuses on developing skills across creative disciplines of contemporary performance and related arts practices. These may include areas as diverse as critical and creative writing, live art and body-based work, site-specific performance and performance photography, as well as an engagement with scenography, and textual and visual dramaturgy.

Your role as a producer 

In the context of your development as a performance maker, you will be trained in the role of producer, acquiring skills in programming, marketing, finance, fundraising and administration to ensure that you are ready to create your own work and help others to produce their performances.  

Your role as a practitioner 

As a practitioner, you are encouraged to challenge assumptions about the creation, understanding and analysis of performance and to develop the future of performance, dramaturgy and curating, with an emphasis on interdisciplinarity. In this process, you will be asked to engage with work outside your immediate areas of interest in order to reassess what you expect, know and value about art and culture in general.

Interested in applying for 2020?

You can still apply for this course and be considered through UCAS despite them classing your application as 'late'. You can also register your interest in 2020 entry here and our Admissions Team will then contact you about interview options and further details. 

Course Detail

In the first two years, the programme focuses on development of your practice across three key areas: text/theory, body/ movement and materials/technology. The final year focuses on a specialised area of practice developed through research, professional mentorship and independent projects.  

YEAR 1: Developing fundamental skills

  • Building on historical, theoretical and practical foundations of theatre and performance arts and live art
  • Acquiring key skills in dramaturgy and writing for and about performance, contemporary movement practices and performance-making
  • You will produce short pieces of work across collaborative projects, involving installation, textual practices and immersive and traditional performance techniques
  • To support this you will engage with skills sessions in applying research methods, reflective practice and the processes of documentation and criticism.

YEAR 2: Continued focus on creative practice

  • In particular the deconstruction, development and contextualisation of creative practice
  • You will undertake a project to engage and develop strategies for working across artistic disciplines
  • You will develop skills and knowledge in producing, project management, curation and programming, and organise a festival at a public venue in London with professional curators and producers
  • A professional placement with a company or practitioner is offered alongside optional work, including an interdisciplinary photography project, or developing your writing practice by taking optional units shared with the BA (Hons) Drama, Applied Theatre and Education: Writing for Performance course 

YEAR 3: Refining your practice within a range of professional contexts

  • Apply specialist skills in creative practice through two major negotiated tasks, where you may work in a vocational setting beyond Central, and/or undertake a practice-based, written dissertation on a topic of your choice. 
  • Complementary sessions and workshops enable you to further articulate your practice and models of working, as well as consider appropriate contexts for your work.

Download BA Performance Arts Programme Specification 2019-2020.pdf (1.57 MB)

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

Our standard academic entry requirements range between 120 and 96 UCAS tariff points. You can see how many tariff points your qualifications would gain on the UCAS Tariff Calculator. International qualifications and others not covered within the UCAS tariff can also be accepted. Please email us if you need further clarification.

Please note that we may make lower offers (including unconditional) to exceptional candidates and those who have alternative or prior experience to offer. All candidates are invited to interview, which is a key factor in determining who is accepted on to the course.

Admission with Academic Credit

For information on alternative entry requirements please see

Application Details

See How to Apply section for Undergraduate courses.

We particularly encourage applications from groups currently under-represented in higher education, such as students with disabilities and members of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups. Find out more information on Central’s commitment to equality and diversity.


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.

Industry Placements

You will be involved in collaborative projects with national and international arts organisations and practitioners.

In previous years these have included Tim Crouch, Simon Vincenzi, Deborah Pearson and Tim Etchells.

The course has also worked with the Roundhouse, Battersea Arts Centre, ] performance s p a c e [, Goat and Monkey, the Live Art Development Agency, Punchdrunk and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

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

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

Recent Visiting Professionals

  • Dr Julia Bardsley
  • Elizabeth LeCompte
  • Dr Trish Lyons
  • Julian Maynard Smith
  • Daniel O’Neill
  • Kira O’Reilly
  • Orlan
  • Richard Schechner
  • Tim Crouch
  • Tim Etchells
  • Edward Bond
  • Marisa Carnesky
  • Karla Shacklock
  • Rajni Shah
  • Simon Vincenzi
  • Stelarc
  • Hannah Silva
  • Johanna Linsley
  • Sally Rose
  • Something Other
  • Simon Stephens
  • Manuel Vason
  • Michael Walling
  • Juschka Weigel.

Graduate Employment

Graduate employment and career pathways include:

Performer, Arcola Theatre, Battersea Arts Centre, Brighton Fringe, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Budva Theatre Festival Montenegro, Glastonbury Festival, National Theatre Studios, The Shed (National Theatre), The Place.

Company-in-Residence, Artsdepot, Shunt Vaults, Dixon Place (New York). Writer, Royal Court Theatre, Something Other, Exeunt Magazine.

Director, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, New York International Fringe Festival, Finborough Theatre, National Theatre Connections.

Performer/ Director, Brighton Festival.

Producer/ Performer, Latitude Festival.

Producer, CircusFest, Roundhouse, Singapore World Expo.

Presenter, BBC Radio 1Xtra, Sky Arts.

Projection Specialist, Mesmer.

Stage Manager, Secret Cinema.

Lecturer, Goldsmiths University of London, Queen Mary University of London, University of Swaziland.

Recent further study, master’s degrees, University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, California Institute of the Arts. PhDs at various universities.

Notable Graduates

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. Stephen Farrier, BA, MA, PhD, FHEA

Reader in Theatre and Performance

Dr. Diana Damian Martin BA, MA, PhD, AFHEA

Senior Lecturer, Performance Arts

Duška Radosavljević, BA, PhD, PGCHE, FHEA

Reader in Contemporary Theatre and Performance
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